If the idea of swilling oil around your mouth each morning for 20 mins, before you’ve even had a chance to devour your cherished morning coffee, makes you want to keep scrolling, hear me out! Don’t get me wrong, it does take a bit of getting used to but this is one morning practice that definitely outweighs the doubts for those of you who are still a little hesitant - think softer lips, whiter teeth, fresher breath … shall I go on?
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique and a great natural alternative to synthetic mouthwash. When swilled around the mouth, the antibacterial properties of the oil draw out toxins, bacteria and fungus which has been shown to alleviate inflammation and congestion from the entire body, not just the mouth.
The amazing benefits of oil pulling include (but are not limited to):
- Fresher breath
- Whiter/ cleaner teeth
- Improved oral hygiene and less plaque build up
- Less tooth sensitivity
- Softer lips and moisturised throat (Big win!! Especially at this time of year when a lip balm can never be far away)
- Prevention of cavities
- Reduced inflammation of gums (gingivitis)
- Easing symptoms of sinisitis
- Clearer, shinier skin - due to the removal of toxins
- Soothing a sore, dry throat
- Reduced joint pain
How to Oil Pull?
First you will need a good quality oil. Ideally organic, extra virgin, cold pressed coconut/ sesame/ olive oil. For first timer's, I would recommend coconut - it is my oil of choice as it is a great all rounder with strong antibacterial properties and is the most palatable (once you’re used to letting it melt in your mouth!)
- Place a tbsp of your chosen oil in your mouth (start with a tsp first if that is too much), ideally first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, before you have brushed your teeth.
- Swill the oil around you mouth for 15-20 mins being careful not to swallow any, as the oil will contain the bacteria and toxins which you don’t want to put back into your body. (If 20 mins feels too long at first, start small and build up to this - it does take a while to become comfortable with it but a little bit is better than none).
- Spit the oil out into the bin not into the sink as the oil can solidify and block your pipes.
- Lastly rinse your mouth with some warm water to remove any remaining oil and brush you teeth. Your teeth and mouth will feel sparkling clean.
This is one of the best, inexpensive self care practices. I try to do this regularly and follow it with a cup of hot water and lemon (sometimes with a tsp of apple cider vinegar) to really cleanse and kick start my digestive system. I have noticed a remarkable improvement in the sensitivity of my teeth, something I’ve always struggled with and they really feel so much cleaner.
Plus it's like a mini workout for your face and jaw to kickstart your day.
My biggest tip:
Some people really struggle to squeeze this in first thing in the morning and let's be honest, another thing to think about early in the morning can be a challenge; but I find that keeping a jar in the bathroom and popping a spoonful in just before I jump in the shower and carry on getting ready for the day is the best way to fit it in.
Why not give it a try for a week and let me know how you get on!