Alarm goes off. I get out of bed. I reach for the bottle of Naturali VCO on the pantry shelf. I pour some of the contents in a shot glass sitting just beside it. With steady hands, I slowly empty all of that oily liquid into my mouth. I then swish the VCO as if it’s a mouthwash.
That my friends, is oil pulling.
What is it, really?
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice which dates back centuries ago. It is a gargling technique where you take a tablespoon of oil and swish it about in your mouth for 10-15 minutes before you go about your day. It’s best to do it on an empty stomach before having breakfast.
You can use any plant-based oil but VCO has been a crowd favorite because of its more pleasant taste. Once you’re done, you have to spit the oil (which has now become milky white and thinner in texture) inside the bin and not in the sink where it wouldn’t cause any clogging. Don’t swallow the oil which after the exercise as it is already teeming with toxins and bacteria. Don’t forget to brush your teeth afterwards.
If you feel like your jaw is starting to ache from all the swishing, you can shorten the time to 5 minutes.
What do you get from it?
Oil is believed to “pull out” the toxins from your mouth when you do the swishing action. Since toxins are mostly made up of fatty membrane, these can adhere easily to the oil. And the results? According to the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, oil pulling activates the salivary enzymes which absorb toxins from the blood. These toxins are then removed from the body through the tongue. Moreover, “oil pulling when practiced regularly is believed to freshen and stimulate the mind and strengthen the senses.”
In Ayurvedic medicine, the detoxifying exercise is meant to improve your oral health, eliminates bad breath, prevents cavities, whitens teeth and heal cracked lips. Oil pulling claims to do more than improve one’s oral health. Since oral hygiene is linked to the other parts of the body like the kidney, lungs, heart, etc., it is believed that the benefits of oil pulling go beyond the mouth.
My personal experience
Gargling with oil takes some getting used to especially for someone who is not used to ingesting VCO. I would usually add a few drops of tea tree or peppermint essential oil to make the taste more appealing. While doing the oil pulling, I can still do my other morning routines like putting the kettle to boil, answering emails, showering etc.
You need to also be consistent to be able to see the benefits. Try doing it daily for at least 2 weeks. While I find oil pulling a good, complementary habit to improve my oral health, it is not meant to replace brushing my teeth and flossing.
And with all the benefits I can get from this easy-to-do morning routine, I can say that it is really worth the oily mess.