If you haven’t seen the whole oil pulling phenomenon going around on the internet, here’s your chance to catch up. According to Wikipedia, oil pulling is “a traditional folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth.” The idea is that you swish around one tablespoon of your oil of choice (sesame, coconut, olive, sunflower, etc.) for 20 minutes, and it will miraculously remove toxins, kill bad breath, whiten teeth, get rid of headaches, clear up skin and so on. And since i’m obsessed with all things related to detoxing, I decided to give it a whirl.
I only had olive oil sitting around, so decided to start out with what was in my kitchen cabinet. I poured one tablespoon in my mouth, and began the swishing process. And let me tell you, it was not pleasant. If you aren’t used to the texture or taste, be prepared to gag. About 10 minutes in, it turned into an opaque, thin texture, which grossed me out even more so. The time did go by fairly quickly though, which was good (cleaning and cooking are good things to occupy yourself with). When it was time to spit it out (in your trashcan so you don’t clog the sink), I started dry heaving because of the thick coating of olive oil left around the inside of my mouth. Sick.
The next two days I opted for coconut oil, as it just sounds more appealing. Same ordeal. The texture and taste just threw me off. Aside from not being a fan of those two factors, I have to say that not much else happened. My teeth and gums feel a bit cleaner overall, but I have to say I’d rather swish with mouth wash for 2 minutes or something. It tastes wayyyyy better–and is also more cost effective.
End verdict? I think I’ll try it out consistently for a while to see if anything else happens over a longer period of time, but given that there’s no scientific evidence that it has any systematic and/or health benefits, I’m not going to hold my breath. Dr. Jessica Emery, DMD of Sugar Fix Dental Loft Chicago, relayed that there’s “no solid proof that it works but it certainly makes people feel better. Your cheeks may get tired but I say ‘swish away.”
I guess if it makes you feel that much better, there’s no harm in oil pulling, right?