Oil Pulling and Its Benefits

Cough! Snort! Wheeze! Sneeze! Hack!

Good grief, what’s going on? Why am I hacking all of a sudden? Could it be something I ate? Maybe, I don’t know, all the cheese and sugar-laden chocolate and other goodies that lured me into submission at all those holiday parties?

Me? “The Guru of Eating Right?!”

Yeah. Me.

Guess I’m not so good at following my own advice at times, like when half of my brain says, “You can’t insult your hosts!

The other half of my brain knew that if I ate all that cheese and sugar and yummy chemicals I’d suffer consequences: massive mucus production, full body congestion, seriously icky upper-respiratory snarking and coughing, throat-closing and head-pounding blockage.

We all have weak points from earlier episodes in our lives. Mine was a life-threatening case of pneumonia in my twenties that lined my lungs with severe scar tissue. I’m not stupid—I know I can’t eat that stuff without paying the price.

And now—excuse me… Cough! Snort! Wheeze! Sneeze! Hack!

I know we’re smack in the middle of winter, but ya know what? I’m gonna do my internal spring cleaning now.

Why not? How many of your resolutions to treat yourself better this year have you already broken? I know I’m not the only one—we all do it.

If you want to feel better sooner rather than later, consider lightening your toxic load with an Immune Tune. You can flush your colon, liver, and kidneys with herbs and other cleansing foods, do a heavy metal detox with oral chelation, or even try a water fast.

Then there’s oil pulling.

Oil Pulling is an old folk remedy that’s been used in India for thousands of years. Simple enough to do – just swish a tablespoon or more of oil around in your mouth for about 20 minutes. The bacteria and plaque in your mouth and lymph system will be attracted and bound to the oil with the help of your saliva. When you spit the oil out—DO NOT SWALLOW IT!—you’ll also expel large amounts of toxic bacteria, things like Streptococcus Mutans, the main cause of cavities, gingivitis, and plaque buildup. All those nasties not only harm your teeth, but your entire digestive system.

Sounds pretty gross, doesn’t it? But it makes sense. When you change your car’s oil, cruddy dirt and grime drains out with it, helping your engine run faster and smoother, increasing the life of the engine. The same thing happens to our bodies when we expel toxic substances – we run more smoothly and we might last longer.

So Simple, Yet So Beneficial.

After a good night’s sleep all sorts of yucky bacteria have invaded your mouth. You know that lovely morning breath. That’s the best time to do your oil pulling – on an empty stomach before you even brush your teeth or take any supplements.

After 20 minutes (average recommended oil-pulling time – you can do it longer, but try not to go below 20 minutes) of swishing, swirling, pushing and pulling the oil through your teeth and around your mouth, spit it all out. DON’T swallow the now toxic oil. If you spit it out in your sink, follow with hot water to avoid clogging your drain.

The oil probably won’t be clear any more, especially if you have any congestive issues. Instead, it will be thick and whitish. The more congested you are, the gookier the oil will be.

After spitting it out, it’s recommended you rinse your mouth out with salt water to help kill any remaining bacteria that’s been loosened and brought to the surface. Then brush your teeth as you normally would.

I’ve seen pictures of before and after pulling for a period of weeks that show much whiter teeth without any harmful bleaching. Some even claim they’ve replaced brushing their teeth with oil pulling!

I’ve also read claims that oil pulling can help clear out the bloodstream, although I’m not sure how that actually happens. On the other hand, some of my clients who routinely oil pull as a detox measure report seemingly unrelated improvements in their overall health. One woman whose hands were severely painful and crippled due to arthritis oil pulled faithfully over the past two years and now claims she no longer has any pain in her hands.

My sister Beth didn’t go to the dentist when she broke a tooth and instead began oil pulling. Although she originally had a lot of pain in that tooth, she now says it’s absolutely pain free.

There are even claims that oil pulling can remineralize the teeth! Is it true? I formerly used toothpaste for sensitive teeth, but I haven’t needed it since I started oil pulling. Could my enamel be remineralizing? I don’t know, but maybe we’ll see evidence with Beth’s and my teeth in time.

If nothing else, oil pulling IS effective at helping eliminate harmful bacteria from your mouth, improving your oral and dental health, and most definitely sweetening your breath. And if you’re like me and prone to upper-respiratory congestion, especially in the throat or sinuses, oil pulling is an excellent first step toward clearing those pathways. I’d recommend it before running to the doctor for an antibiotic. Almost immediately after an oil-pulling session, I find myself blowing my nose and clearing my throat. Oil pulling is known for clearing chronic sinus congestion.

Gallup dentist Dr. Lidio Rainaldi tells his patients, “If it helps detox the body, go for it!”

What Kind of Oil Should You Use?

Sesame or sunflower oil are the traditional recommended oils for pulling, but I prefer to use organic virgin coconut oil because of its many benefits. The lauric acid (approximately half the fat in coconut oil) is a proven antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal oil—in other words, it can kill viruses, fungi and bacteria—leaving healthful probiotic strains behind. It also has many other tremendous qualities (http://gallupjourney.com/2012/05/eat-your-coconut-oil/) worth exploring.

Coconut oil will be solid if the temperature is below 76 degrees. Scoop out a tablespoon or more and let it melt in your mouth. Swish and pull it through your teeth, around your gums—everywhere and anywhere in your mouth. Just avoid letting the oil near your throat, because you absolutely, positively, without question DO NOT want to gargle or swallow it! The more you swish, the greater toxic content of the oil. You don’t want that stuff back in your system! If nothing else, it’ll make you sick to your stomach.

It Took Me a While to Get It Right…

You can pull your oil while you take your shower, but I can guarantee you cannot sing at the same time. I learned that the hard way. Because I love singing, I naturally sing in the shower. The first time I had oil in my mouth and I opened my mouth to sing, the oil dribbled all over my body. I had to wash it off quickly to avoid re-absorbing all those nasty toxins through my skin. Fortunately, I was using coconut oil, which washes away easily without leaving any residue behind.

Humming while I oil pull works much better. Keeping my mouth shut for twenty minutes every morning has actually come to be a wonderful “alone” time for me. It gives me a chance to gather my thoughts and mentally organize my day while I’m cleaning the toxins out of my mouth.

Prep Work

I’ve also found it’s wise to do a little preparation
before you start your morning routine: (1) blow your nose, (2) make sure you don’t need to cough, and (3) quickly find a wastebasket or toilet if a tingling nose indicates you’re about to sneeze. Folding laundry while oil pulling one day, a sneeze caught me before I could spit out the toxic stuff. I expelled it  all over my pajamas and down the front of my chest of drawers.

Don’t read funny emails while swishing oil around your mouth. My sister was pulling oil while checking her computer, ran across my message describing how I oiled my PJs via a sneeze, and … use your imagination.

If you live with other people, let them know when it’s time to leave you alone for the next 20 minutes. You might get caught behind a closed door, and your “mmm mmm” (“not yet”) response to your husband’s “Did you take the dogs out yet?” might be misinterpreted as “Sure did,” which means you just might step through your bathroom door into a pile of dog poop.

Spring hasn’t yet sprung, but I’m reclaiming my title: “The Guru of Eating Right,” I’ve said goodbye to the holiday junk foods, I’m starting a gentle vital-organ cleansing routine (contact me if you want to know more about how to do a detox), and am now heading over to La Montaňita Co-op in Gallup to pick up another big, honkin’ jar of virgin coconut oil for my oil- pulling routine.

Cleaning up my act is always rewarding—I love feeling good! Don’t you?