swirl of oil

Oil Swishing or Oil Pulling as it is also known, is the practice of putting a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and, well, swishing it around for 20 minutes. It sounds a bit odd but there are some interesting reasons to do it.

According to Ayurveda, the tongue is connected to all the organs in the body. Everything from your heart to your liver, lungs, kidneys, lymphatics and circulation are represented there. When you swish, you are in effect massaging the mouth and tongue with oil. It’s a bit like reflexology of the mouth!

Additionally, this oil massage helps to clean the palate of debris and microorganisms. Did you know that the inside of your mouth is home to about 500-odd species of bacteria, numbering in the region of some 20 billion? If you don’t regularly brush or rinse, this number can quickly multiply. If your oral health is compromised, this can lead to disease in other parts of your body.

Oil swishing whitens the teeth, reduces the total bacteria count, improves gum health and bad breath and has even been reported to help cure arthritis, migraines, sinusitis, diabetes, chronic fatigue and a whole host of other complaints.

How to Swish:

First thing in the morning, before you do anything else, pop a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and pull it through your teeth. Swirl it around slowly, working it back and forth, for about 20 minutes. The oil should become thin, viscous and whitish, at which point you should spit it out. DO NOT SWALLOW. Rinse your mouth with salt water and then brush your teeth.

Some people can swish for the full 20 minutes with no problems, the rest of us tend to gag and cough in the beginning. If this is your experience, don’t worry – after a few days it becomes easier.

Which Oil?

In traditional Ayurveda, Sesame Oil was used for an oil gargle, so this is recommended for Oil Pulling too. However, Sunflower Oil (cold pressed) and Macadamia Oil can also be used but my favourite is Coconut Oil.

The next blog: Infused Oils – make your own