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Oil Pulling


I’m going to let you in on a little health secret of mine…my morning routine!

When I tell you what I do, you may think it’s interesting (and you may want to do it too!)…or you may think it’s totally weird and borderline whacky. Could go either way! But regardless of opinions, I’m going to share my routine with you, because it’s something that has proven to work great for me and I find myself craving this process every single day.

My morning routine consists of two things:

  1. Drinking water
  2. Oil pulling

I’m going to go deeper into these two categories, but they’re pretty simple in it of themselves. They are also not costly at all, which is a WONDERFUL thing since healthy shouldn’t be seen as a synonym of expensive. One tablespoon of oil and thirty-two ounces of filtered water is ALL you need for this health ritual. Isn’t that cool?

Now that you know the two basics of my morning routine, let’s go a bit deeper into what these consist of.

Here is how my morning typically goes:

As soon as I wake up, I go to the kitchen and fill up my Nalgene bottle with thirty-two ounces of room temperature filtered water. Room temperature water is ideal, because one, its super easy to chug, and two, your body doesn’t have to work extra hard to match the liquid you are ingesting to your body’s natural temperature.

I’ll drink that Nalgene bottle as quickly as I can; it usually takes me about five minutes to do this, so it’s not like I’m dying trying to get it all down in seconds. It’s important to go at your own pace, giving your body grace, but it really shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes to finish all the water. Something that I like to do in order to take my mind off of drinking all that water, is to do some simple work around the house. I’ll go to the kitchen and unload the dishwasher, or I’ll get the ingredients and tools ready that I’ll need for my husband’s breakfast, etc. You could do whatever your household calls for at the moment…perhaps you can pick up your kid’s toys, or fold some laundry, or feed the dogs. Simple stuff, which can be done mindlessly.

Drinking water on an empty stomach immediately after waking up is good; it helps fire up your metabolism, it helps with hydration, it helps flush out toxins and it can give you great energy. I absolutely adore drinking all that water in the AM! I am parched when I wake up, and sometimes, thirty-two ounces of water don’t even do the trick. So I’ll just listen to my body, and if I need more water after finishing up my thirty-two ounces, I’ll just have a little more. Make sure you give your body enough water in the morning, because after sleeping for eight+ hours straight, your body is more likely to be dehydrated from all the perspiring you do while you sleep.

If you’re not used to drinking this much water on an empty stomach when waking up, thirty-two ounces might seem like a lot. But it truly isn’t that much, so keep in mind that your body will fight against what it’s not used to. Also, you may end up going to the bathroom more than you’re used to in the morning, but that is to be expected. I’ll typically go to the restroom three times after drinking all that water, but I know that my body is releasing toxins this way, so I just go with it and feel thankful for it.

Once I am done with my water, I’ll immediately go to my pantry and get my oil out. I have tried both coconut oil and sesame seed oil for oil pulling, so whatever oil I am using at the time, I take out and bring to the kitchen. I grab a tablespoon, fill it up with oil, put it in my mouth, set a timer on my phone for twenty minutes, and get my oil pulling on.

Twenty minutes is a long time, so I definitely like to keep myself entertained and busy for this part of the process as well. Just like I distract my mind while drinking twenty-two ounces of water, I also like to distract my mind while oil pulling. What I like to do while oil pulling is prepare breakfast for my husband. He loves egg white omelets, gluten free oats with honey and cinnamon, and large cups of honey lattes made with almond milk. So I prepare his little morning feast, feed him, wash the dishes, and by the time I am done putting stuff away, my timer goes off.

It works out perfect! I’ll spit out every last drop of the oil in the trash can (NEVER EVER swallow the oil, as the oil contains your mouth’s bacteria and you don’t want to ingest that; also, NEVER EVER spit it down your sink, as it might clog your pipes), I rinse my mouth well, and then go to the restroom to brush my teeth. Once I’m done brushing my teeth, I go back to the kitchen and get started with my own breakfast. And guess what? After all that, my mouth feels magically fresh! It’s so worth it.

Apart from making my mouth feel amazing, this process helps me stay hydrated, helps me get rid of toxins, helps me maintain good oral hygiene, keeps me keep my teeth white, helps me keep my gums healthy, and helps me prevent any bacteria buildup in my mouth. I absolutely LOVE this ritual. I do it even when I travel, as it’s something I don’t want to live without.

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Drinking water is something we all do every day, so it’s a pretty straightforward thing. However, not everyone knows what oil pulling is all about, as it’s not so common, so lets go a little deeper into that part of the process!

Oil Pulling

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for about twenty minutes. Swishing oil in between your teeth for that amount of time, will help pull out toxins and bacteria found in the mouth that can help improve not only with oral health, but overall health by helping reduce inflammation in the body.

Why It’s Beneficial

The reasons to do it are tenfold. Here is a list of what it can do for you:

  • Stronger teeth
  • Whiter teeth
  • Stronger gums
  • Stronger jaws
  • Alleviates TMJ pain
  • Cavity prevention
  • Gingivitis prevention
  • Better breath
  • Clears skin
  • Clears sinuses
  • Detoxifies the body 

What Oil To Use

 Ayurvedic practices recommend sesame seed oil, as this oil helps reduce dryness and inflammation of the mouth. However, various experts also recommend the use of coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, olive oil and other vegetable based oils.

Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling

Steps of Oil Pulling

  1. Select oil
  2. Place a tablespoon of oil in your mouth
  3. Set a timer for 20 minutes and swish oil around your mouth, making sure you allow the oil to pull through your teeth (be careful not to swallow any oil, as it will contain bacteria and toxins pulled from your mouth)
  4. After twenty minutes of swishing, spit oil in trashcan (do not spit oil in sink or toilet, as it can clog your drain)
  5. Rinse your mouth well with warm water
  6. Brush your teeth

My Personal Experience with Oil Pulling

When I first heard of oil pulling, I could not believe someone could hold oil in his or her mouth for that long. Twenty minutes? I thought it was impossible for me to personally do that.

I kept hearing testimonials on oil pulling and how beneficial it has been for so many people, and I REALLY wanted those health benefits too. I was super interested to see if oil pulling would be good for me, so I decided to give it a go.

One morning, after drinking my thirty-two ounces of water, I told myself “what the heck”, and proceeded by placing one tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth. It was literally one of the weirdest feelings I have ever experienced, as coconut oil is not liquid, but solid and dense. Yuk, right? My immediate reaction was to want to spit it out, as I felt like there was an intruder in my mouth that was taking over. I just kept telling myself that everyone probably feels the same oddness when they first try coconut oil pulling, so that I better just stick with it and power through it.

If you do coconut oil pulling, expect a very weird sensation when you first put the oil in your mouth. Coconut oil does have a low melting point, so the density you’ll fill during the first few seconds does go away once it melts completely. Just be calm while it melts. It took me about a week to get used to the sensation, but after that week, I was good to go and felt comfortable having oil in my mouth for that long.

Something positive that I noticed right away on my first week, was that my mouth felt extremely fresh and clean after the process was done (after brushing my teeth). And this right here, was enough of a benefit for me to want to keep doing it every day; so I stuck with oil pulling from that week on.

Now, after a year of oil pulling, I can say that my mouth continues to feel super clean, that my gums look healthier and feel stronger, that my teeth look whiter, and that my immune system has gotten stronger (I honestly haven’t been sick for a year, and believe me, all sort of viruses are going around, but somehow I’ve managed to stay healthy. It’s definitely a blessing.)

My Oil Preference 

It wasn’t until a month ago that I tried sesame seed oil for oil pulling. Up until then, I was using coconut oil for this practice; I love coconut oil in general (I use it every day for various things; cooking, baking, greasing, moisturizing, etc.) because of its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties and because of its taste. Coconut oil can be a little odd when it first goes in your mouth since it’s not liquid, so what I like to do to avoid this texture-weirdness is put a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth and keep my mouth closed and immobile for a few seconds to let it melt; once melted, I start swishing.

I really enjoyed oil pulling with coconut oil and was very happy with the results.

However, the more I read about Ayurvedic practices, the more I saw sesame seed oil come up for mouth hygiene, so I had to give this oil a try. I went online and purchased a great quality sesame seed oil (the same brand I use for my coconut oil — I LOVE this brand)Sesame seed oil was definitely a different experience that coconut oil, as this oil is already liquid, so you don’t have to wait for it to melt in your mouth at the beginning; you can go straight into swishing, which is very convenient.

My mouth feels a bit cleaner after using coconut oil, so I do prefer oil pulling with coconut oil. It could be because of its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory properties, or because it’s thicker and I feel like it helps pull more bacteria and toxins out. However, sesame seed oil or any other vegetable oil will do the job as well. The oil choosing part is up to you, so try a few options before you make up your mind!

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I highly encourage you to try my morning routine. Give your body a week to get used to it, and about twenty-one days for it to become a habit. You’ll be partaking in practices that will only offer your body benefits, so why not give them a go? Your health is worth it!

I would love to hear about your personal experience with oil pulling, so if you have tried it, or if you try it after reading this post, be sure to share your thoughts on it with me on the comments below!

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Oil Pulling


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Mariel Lewis
I'm an avid Paleo blogger passionate about health and fitness! I love cooking with natural ingredients. This passion drives me to dream up fun culinary creations that not only nourish the body but taste great! Eating healthy doesn't have to be a drag, try some of my Paleo recipes and let me know what you think!

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