I'm the one my friends like to refer to as "the weird hippie chick." Yeah, I brew my own kombucha in my kitchen and make my own shampoo and toothpaste. So when I heard one of my friends talking about the ancient Ayurvedic practice called oil pulling and how it's helped her, I was immediately intrigued about the practice. Oil pulling is designed to clean teeth and flush toxins out of one’s body. The theory is that by swishing a spoonful of oil in your mouth for 20 minutes each day, you enable your body to pull out toxins via the mouth. This helps teeth and gum health but also is supposed to energize and detoxify your body. Coconut, sesame, and sunflower oil are all popular choices for oil-pulling, but most people go with coconut oil because of its lauric acid, which acts as an anti-microbial. Plus, it smells and tastes nice! Other benefits of oil pulling include better sleep, better smelling breath and smoother skin. I figured that, with all the other granola-esque, hippie-dippie routines I've picked up throughout the years, why not try this one?

Day 1:

Lauren Hughes

My first day oil pulling I rolled out of bed, not super stoked to have to dedicate 20 minutes of my morning to swishing some oil around in my mouth. I put a spoonful of hardened coconut oil in my mouth and rolled it around my tongue until it became a liquid consistency. Though it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, it was still really weird. Oil of any sort is a strange thing to keep in your mouth for an extended period of time, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to get the slimy texture off my tongue and gums.

The taste wasn’t too bad, as coconut oil has a pretty mild flavor. But, I could see it getting old real fast, and I probably would pass on coconut-flavored anything this week. Luckily, the process went pretty smoothly, and even with a bunch of oil in my mouth I was still able to make my bed, pack a lunch, and make some tea. I spat out the oil (in the trash — the oil can clog your sink!) after 20 minutes, rinsed with water, and brushed my teeth. No super noticeable effects right away, though my teeth definitely felt more "slick.". According to my research you should drink two glasses of water after oil pulling, and brushing your teeth right after isn't super important, but I definitely did so that I could get the funky feeling out of my mouth.

Day 2:

So the oil pulling hasn’t done much for my energy levels just yet… Was tough getting out of bed this morning, but I did it and went straight to the bathroom. Had my spoonful of oil (the coconut oil has actually a surprisingly pleasant taste this morning) and went about getting ready for the day. The one thing I'd mention is to make sure your roommates or family know what you're doing. I ran into my mother in the hall and she was trying to ask me something, but due to the oil, I was unable to give her a satisfactory answer other than a muffled, "Mhhhrmmm." Whatever, I'll let her know what's up after I'm done pulling. Spat it out, brushed, and rinsed. Maybe it’s just me, but I do feel like my teeth are a bit brighter this morning. And after the slimy oil is rinsed out, they do feel substantially more squeaky-clean!

Day 3:

I was a little more excited this time around when it came to my morning of oil pulling. I had it down to a science just about —I’d swish some oil in my mouth while going about my morning duties. That is until I had to sneeze! Even my best efforts to keep the oil from spraying out of my mouth didn’t work. I still got in about ten minutes of swishing before sneezing the oil all over my bathroom sink, and I was pretty done with oil pulling after that. Maybe tomorrow would be better.

Day 4:

cream, chocolate
Lauren Hughes

Woke up today, and maybe it was just “the placebo effect” but hey, I felt much more energized. Then again, it might just be because we’ve been on break, and I am totally digging the ability to sleep in a bit. I do have to say though, I’m getting a little sick of the coconut oil taste by now. I had to spit it out a little earlier this morning (about ten minutes in) because of it.

Day 5:

Is it the lighting in the bathroom, or are my teeth actually looking a little whiter? I haven’t had any breakouts this week, which is quite amazing considering how testy my skin can be at times. I am a little tired of swishing oil in my mouth for twenty minutes each morning, so I am a little glad to be done with the experiment at this point.


Lauren Hughes

My teeth are feeling cleaner after these five days, and I don’t see as much “gunk” between my teeth when I floss every night. Not entirely convinced that oil pulling will be giving me more energy, since I’m always pretty sleepy, but my skin not acting up is pretty cool. This could be linked to oil pulling’s claim of detoxification, but I think to really pin my skin’s clarity on oil pulling I’d need to do it for a longer duration of time. From additional research, it says there hasn’t been a whole lot of Western study on the ancient practice, but the idea of rinsing your mouth out for an extended amount of time each morning definitely won’t hurt it. Though oil pulling claims to increase your energy levels, I’m not sure I noticed this effect on myself. Maybe if I had done it for longer I would’ve noticed a stronger change. Secondly, I didn’t have a strict sleeping schedule due to being on break this week, so maybe if I had controlled that variable I’d have noticed increased energy levels. I’m not sure if I’ll keep up with this regime every day, but on days where I have some extra time in the morning, why not?