I first heard about oil pulling earlier this year. Being a coconut oil freak and always looking to live as healthy as our human ancestors did, I was eager to give it a whirl. I researched and read several articles and gathered that loosely the directions were to swish 1.5-2 tbsp’s of coconut, olive or sesame seed oil in my mouth for 15-20 minutes (although one article emphasized the utmost importance of oil pulling for 20 mins!), spit (Never in the sink they all warned!) the oil out and then I’m not sure exactly what we were directed to do at that point but personally I opt to rinse my mouth out with water and/or brush my teeth. If you google search ‘oil pulling’ I’m sure you can find several articles that will tell you exactly what to do minute by minute after the spit… 🙂 So my experience started with putting 1 tbsp of hard coconut oil in my mouth to let it warm and melt before I began the swish, just like this one healthy blogger does. I gagged pretty quickly and spit it out. I immediately went to olive oil. I measured the oil, put it in a bowl and poured it in my mouth. I swished cautiously, I looked at the clock feverishly and got my 15 minutes in. I spit out in the garbage and awed at the foamy mess that I produced. I did it! I rid my mouth of bacteria and toxins and my teeth were whiter for it. The very next day I enthusiastically tried it again (couldn’t wait for even whiter teeth, and yes I would be healthier!), this time going right for the olive oil. I measured it into a cup and poured it in my mouth and swished, waaaayy too gingerly and got a harsh bit of olive oil in the back of my throat, gagged and immediately spit it in the sink. FAIL. Well since coconut oil was out for me due to the recent gag along with a bad gagging experience years ago when I tried to swallow a teaspoon of coconut oil and olive oil was out because of the recent gag experience…I gave sesame seed oil a try. I bought it at my favorite health food store that has the best gifts ever and very carefully ‘pulled’ about 1.5 tablespoons for what I deemed to be an appropriate time frame for me. The spit was very foamy/frothy. SUCCESS. I got out of the habit for a few months but I’m back on the wagon and enjoying the experience and health benefits daily by using these tips each time:
- Sesame seed oil is mild and has less of a pungent taste than olive and coconut oils – start with sesame seed oil
- Begin with 1 tablespoon and work your way up to 1.5-2
- Swish implies a vigorous or gingerly movement. Instead, slowly ‘pull’ the oil from side to side in your mouth
- Do not think about what you are doing or what the foam spit will look like to avoid a gagging episode
- Do not watch the clock, you will be able to feel when the oil is less oily and more foamy (that’s usually when the foam image appears in my mind and I start to gag and need to immediately spit)
BTW, I will work my way up to oil pulling with coconut oil, my ultimate oil love! I’m getting pretty good with the sesame seed oil, so good that I recently remembered to look at the time when I began and at the time when I spit – 18 minutes had gone by quite easily and no dry heaving from the slick feeling on my lips after the spit! I do think that I will melt the coconut oil first though and maybe years from now I will be sticking a spoonful of solid coconut oil, letting it melt in my mouth before the pulling begins!
Update: I have been successfully oil pulling with coconut oil for over 8 months now. I oil pull five times a week and I melt the coconut oil in a small bowl in a pan of water. I also have ditched toothpaste and solely use coconut oil and baking soda to brush my teeth. They look white and bright and best of all I don’t have that funny aftertaste that comes with toothpaste 🙂