ASK Amy: What are the Benefits of Oil Pulling?

ASK Amy: I remember you posting something about oil pulling on Facebook. Can you explain in more detail what this is and how it has helped you?  Jennifer T. , San Diego CA

Amy says: I have often mentioned Earthclinic.com (one of my favorite websites) -  on Facebook and here on pcosdiva.com.  It is a repository of  folk remedies, contributed and tested by readers all over the world.  While spending many hours on this site, I found lots of references to oil pulling.  I was very intrigued with the results that people were reporting; from helping with gum disease, migraines, blood sugar, yeast infections to alleivating hormonal issues, fatigue, chronic infections, diabetes and more.  During this time I was dealing with the beginning stages of gum disease due to the chronic inflammation caused by uncontrolled PCOS.  Since the remedy seemed to help many people with gum disease,  I thought I would give it a go. It was a no brainer – if the simple act of swishing oil could help me in any way I would give it a go.

Oil pulling is now part of my daily self-care regimen. Before I shower in the morning, I take a tablespoon of cold-pressed organic sesame oil in my mouth and start swishing (do not gargle) At first, I thought it would make me gag, but it isn’t bad at all.  I swish for about 15 minutes, pulling it through my teeth, back and forth and around all surfaces of your mouth.  When I am done, I spit the oil in the toilet. Don’t be surprised if the oil  changes color as it will mix with your saliva, becoming thin and white. It`s said that when it becomes white, this is an indicator that it has “pulled” toxins. Rinse and then brush with a natural toothpaste.  Then drink a big glass of water.  That is all there is to it!

Oil pulling is an Ayurveda technique  first described  5000 years ago in ancient texts. Deepak Chopra, MD discusses oil pulling in his book Perfect Health. Chopra notes that oil pulling is one of many Ayurvedic techniques valuable for purifying and strengthening the body. According to Ayurveda, organ meridians are present in the tongue just as they are in key points such as the hands, feet and ears. That makes the tongue integral for diagnosis, and care of the tongue important in preventing and treating illness.

I have only been able to find one scientific study on oil pulling. The study was designed to evaluate the effect of oil pulling on bacteria (Streptococcus mutans) in plaque and saliva of children, and to compare its antiseptic power with that of using a conventional mouthwash containing chlorhexidine. The researchers found a reduction in the bacteria count in the plaque and saliva samples in both the study and the control groups and concluded that oil pulling can help maintain oral health. The study was published in an Indian dental journal. Sesame oil, the oil that I use and is traditionally recommended for this practice, has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.  It is rich in omega -3 fatty acids and it offers iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and vitamins A, B and E.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I had struggled with gum issues even though I had a very good dental hygiene.  After 6 months of oil pulling, my gums had greatly improved and am now happy to report that I have no gum inflammation and my dentist gave me a clean bill of health during my last check-up in October.  I think that oil-pulling also keeps me healthy in the winter and free from sinus issues.  Look into oil pulling for yourself.  Perhaps you will decide to give it a swish.  If you do, please report back and share your experiences.

Happy Swishing!



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  • http://www.shininghealth.com Csilla

    Oil pulling is great. I have been doing it on and off for a while. There is one thing that I think is worth mentioning and I was not aware of this for a long time myself. It is said oil pulling might loosen your crowns or fillings. This is very rare, but possible.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Thanks for pointing that out Csilla!

  • Alyssa Fritts

    I read a lot on the website. Did you have many symptoms at first? I was going to start this morning but decided that I would wait for a few days I have nothing planned. I have coconut oil and olive oil ( a good organic, extra virgin) and figured if it goes well I’ll pick up good unroasted sesame oil.

  • Maricar

    I have been oil pulling for a week now and I’m using organic coconut oil and my gum problem seems to be resolving :)I have not experience any symptoms or negative effect so far. Try it!

  • http://adietitiangonepaleo.wordpress.com Aglaee

    Hi, thanks for reminding of this technique! You mention that it help hormonal issues, but do you have any references to support this? I would love to read more about this! :)

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I think I mentioned in the post that it is anecdotal info from earth clinic.com that it balances hormones. Because there is no money to be made in natural remedies like this no one will pay for studies to be done. The only medical study I found was the oral health study.

  • Cat

    Great article? Can this be done with olive oil as well?
    FYI- in the Mediterranean, actually drinking half a cup of olive oil when feeling any type of ailment was beneficial in treating it. This is what my grandmother used and made it through 2 wars. It is high in antioxidants and can be used from head to toe.

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      Cat – you can try it with olive oil but I find it doesn’t work as well. I think sesame, sunflower and coconut oil are the best. Natural remedies are the best!

  • Gail

    Could you do it at night? I already get up very early without an extra 15 minutes. I am very interested in trying it in the evening. Does the time matter?

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I don’t think it matters what time of day.

  • Mariannag7282

    Have you read any solid research indicating that ‘evening primrose oil’ or GLA helps people with PCOS who are experiencing fertility issues?

  • Amaris Moss

    I love oil pulling. A friend of mine put me on to it. I learned that it’s best to use UNREFINED oils. With me, it totally cleared out any grogginess in the morning, better than any coffee! One thing I like doing after I brush my teeth after the oil pulling is add a couple of drops of therapeutic-grade essential oils, like peppermint, to a liter bottle of water and drinking it down. After this routine, I feel great & alert all day!

    Thanks so much for your work on PCOS, Amy! Just found you today!

  • http://amy-marlatt.healthcoach1.integrativenutrition.com/ AmyL

    What I read when researching oil pulling is that it is best done first thing in the morning on a totally empty stomach and before drinking any liquids, even water.

  • faith

    hi.

    what is the best oil to use for this?? (the best out of sesame, coconut and
    sunflower)

    i have pcos, endometriosis, asthma and i always get oral thrush. so, oil pulling sounds great for me.

    thanks for all your great info.
    xx

    • http://pcos.designbyansley.com Amy

      I think sesame is best followed by sunflower.

  • Denise

    How do you use coconut oil? The only way I can find coconut oil is in a solid form…is there a liquid form? or are you heating it?

    thanks!!

    • Danielle

      Coconut oil is liquid at body temperature. I just let it melt in my mouth and then start swishing.

  • Francesca

    hello,
    i have been diagnosed with periodontal disease and have already a mild bone deterioration, in spite of a good mouth hygiene. i will have a small bone graft. i feel so sad and depressed.. i want to cry. damn PCOS. i will try this.

    • http://pcosdiva.com Amy

      I think oil pulling will really help. Also eating an anti-inflammatory diet like my Meal Plans will help too!

  • Lee

    This is very encouraging for me. I started struggling with gum disease now (gingival recession) even though I take great care of my teeth and gums. Perhaps I should give this a try,

    • http://joyfulchallenge.com Heather Blair

      Love this! I’ve seen so many articles this week about oil pulling but loved the connection to gum inflammation and PCOS. I could never understand why my gums were so sensitive and why my dentist “fussed” at me after every cleaning to try and do more when I was doing everything I knew to do yet still had irritation. This clicked! I’m going to start trying this and hope for improvement. :)

  • Tricia

    I have never heard of oil pulling until this week and how I’m seeing it everywhere! Do you know if it’s safe to do while nursing?

    • http://pcosdiva.com Amy

      I haven’t looked into oil pulling while nursing. I am not sure.

  • http://www.skinnydecaflatte.com Lezlie

    This is great! I have been using coconut oil with a drop of lemon do terra oil when I oil pull. But most of the articles that I have read on oil pulling mention sesame oil, I think coconut oil must be a new thing? I have to remember to be consistent with this because I want to see if it helps with things like plaque as well as my gums.