Typically I'm pretty skeptical of certain home remedies, especially if it seems a little hokey or "out there." Oil pulling, while I knew practically nothing about it, seemed to be pretty nutty.
"So I'm gonna swish oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes a day, and it's gonna absorb toxins from my body, and cure everything from canker sores to asthma?"
Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But, like kombucha, there are dozens of health claims made for oil pulling. A virtual cure-all. Of course I'm going to be skeptical. Truthfully, I probably never would have tried it on my own accord, but after noticing some damage to my gums from my labret (wear the shortest post possible, by the way) I freaked out a little. Most of the internet said that this damage will be permanent. I refuse to accept that, so I went looking for answers.
A poster on the MDA forum suggested I tried oil pulling, to which at first I kind of rolled my eyes. The least I could do is look into it though, right? I did, and here's what I found...
First, there's a site called oilpulling.com. I guess there's a website for everything. According to this site, "Oilpulling heals totally “head-aches,
bronchitis, tooth pain, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of
stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and women’s
diseases. It heals diseases of nerves, paralysis, and encephalitis. It
prevents the growth of malignant tumors, cuts and heals them. Chronic
sleeplessness is cured.” It also says that doing it before a meal ramps up your metabolism... yada, yada.
The seemingly less hokey oilpulling.org suggests that oil pulling can cure "Common diseases like allergies, common cold and cough, dental caries,
gum diseases, infections in the mouth, ear, nose, throat, eyes, and
pains like headache, migraine, tooth pain, neck pain, back pain etc,
allergic sneezing, lip cracking, fevers, irritability etc cured. 758
cases cured. All felt energetic, active and well."
I don't know about all that. Some of it makes sense... toothache, and lip cracking perhaps, but still... back pain?
But then, good old Wikipedia to the rescue! "Oil pulling or oil swishing is a traditional Indian folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita,
where it is called Kavala Gandoosha or Kavala Graha. Ayurvedic
literature describes oil pulling as capable of both improving oral
health and treating systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or asthma.
While scientific evidence is lacking to support any systemic benefits
of oil pulling, some studies have suggested that it may reduce oral
plaque, halitosis, and gingivitis."
Finally a little sense here. I'm not looking to cure diabetes or paralysis, just heal my damaged gums. It seems there are indeed studies on the benefits of oil pulling for dental health. That I can wrap my brain around.
I'm satisfied that oil pulling could possibly help my dental situation. Not that I don't have 5 gallons of coconut oil in my house right now. Might as well put it to good use. The process seems simple enough- swish it around like mouthwash for about 20 minutes, then spit.
For extra measure I opted to add a few drops of tea tree oil to my tablespoon of oil. It may taste wretched, but it's good for killing germs.
Over all, the process isn't bad. I don't typically eat breakfast, so as I head out the door for work I take the coconut/tea tree oil combo, and swish it around on my 20-minute drive to work. When I get to work I spit it out. I have to be mindful not to swallow at any point, and goodness knows if I have an accident, I'm gonna have a mess on my face. However... so far so good.
I haven't noticed much by way of my gums improving, but I did notice a tiny bump on the back side of my gums at the bottom, right in the middle. I have no idea if this is from the oil pulling or if it's just a fluke. Some of the oil pulling advocates would probably tell me that it's the toxins coming out. I have no idea. Maybe, maybe not.
I'm curious what experiences you may have had with oil pulling. Did it help a condition? Was it a waste of your time?