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 (one of my favorite websites) – on Facebook and here on PCOS Diva. 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 alleviating 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 my 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 is 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 offers iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B, and E.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I had struggled with gum issues even though I had 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.