Jaws often drop when I tell people I do this every single morning! This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice to detoxify the body. This involves taking 1-2 tablespoons of oil (I personally use coconut oil which melts as soon as you put it in your warm mouth, but olive, almond, macadamia or other natural oils are fine) into the mouth first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and swishing/rinsing it around, without swallowing, for approximately 20 minutes. This is done gently, not gargling vigorously! The oil is then spat out and the teeth brushed and flossed as per your normal routine.
Sounds weird huh? And you’re probably wondering if you have to do it for a whole 20 minutes? Yes, you must aim for the full time as research shows it is a ‘drawing out’ detoxifying process. If the time is too short, the toxins will be on their way out into the oil but may not make it and then retreat back into the gums, or worse the bloodstream. I keep a jar of coconut oil in my ensuite and head there as soon as I wake to start the pulling process. I swish and swish while I use the bathroom and get ready for my day. The only tricky part is if someone asks you a question or wants to have a conversation... I’ve become really good at improvising with facial expressions, charades and one word answers!
The process draws our toxins and bacteria from the mouth, between the teeth and from gums and tissues. These toxins often cause gum disease, tooth decay and there is a now evidence of a connection between poor oral health and heart disease. Bleeding in the mouth creates an opportunity for bacteria to travel into the bloodstream. Normally this bacteria is eliminated from the blood stream promptly by the white blood cells but when the system is under chronic stress, there can be a predisposition for the bacteria to cause serious infection and inflammation. Oil pulling each day draws out and removes these impurities much like putting oil into the engine of your car to restore normal balance and clean out the system. The result is a more sparkling smile, whiter teeth, healthier gums, plaque reduction, fewer cavities, improved breath and healthier mouth in general. Other reported benefits come from the overall reduction in inflammation in the body caused by poor oral health , which include but are not limited to improved energy, reduced stiffness and aches in joints, relief from nasal congestion and sinusitis, fewer migraine attacks, improved breathing and reduction in asthma symptoms, better hormones and menstrual regulation, clearer skin, the list goes on.
The benefit of using coconut oil for your daily oil pulling comes from the amazing healing qualities of the oil. Coconut oil is around 92% saturated fat made up of special medium chain triglycerides. Around 50% of these unique fatty acids are lauric acid and apart from coconut oil, the only other source of lauric acid in such high concentration is in human breast milk! That’s how super special coconut oil is! These medium chain triglycerides are amazing for our immune system because they are toxic to the cell membranes of many microorganisms that our body fights off daily. Coconut oil has anitibacetrial, antiviral, antifungal and antiparasitic properties. This means that any microorganism that your body needs to deal with is a prime target and what’s great is that, unlike many common medications which have numerous harmful side-effects, coconut oil’s lauric acid is completely non-toxic!
And while we are talking coconut oils... always chose an extra virgin, or virgin certified organic oil. I look for sustainable, fairtrade where possible, family farms. They all taste a little different so it comes down to your personal preference at the end of the day!
So there you have it! Oil pulling, a cheap and easy way to detoxify your body on a daily process. No crazy concoctions, no pills, potions or strict diets, just natural old coconut oil! (Always choose an organic, virgin coconut oil)
Can I guess what you might try tomorrow morning?
Reference: Oil Pulling Therapy: detoxifying the body through oral cleansing, by Dr Bruce Fife, published by Piccadilly Books Ltd, 2008
Blog post written by Dr Nat for www.welladjustedbabies.com