As easy as A-B-C ......

A B C v.2 by Amy

What's the second thing we all do after waking up in the morning? Brush our teeth, duh! Not for me. Before you start saying eewww, don't get any wrong ideas. I do something else before brushing my teeth. I pop a spoonful of cold pressed sesame oil into my mouth and swish it around my mouth. Sesame oil is quite potent but I am fine with the taste. I swirl the oil around in my mouth for 10 minutes while I prepare the salt water for Jala Neti. After 10 minutes, I spit the the oil which has turned a cloudy, yellowish liquid and also doubled in volume. Then, I continue with brushing my teeth and Jala Neti. This is an ancient practise called oil pulling/oil gargling or in ayurvedic terms known as kavala graha/kavala gandoosha and I was taught this technique in my recent detox day.

Anything that goes into our body through the mouth will directly show results internally and externally. Food is the most common example that I can use to explain. In the case of fruits, even if you consume them in excess, the immediate effect is in the ease of digestion followed by the gain in energy. On the aspect of our physical, fruits can help you to get healthier skin and I can safely say they do not cause any form of allergies unless you have been tested for allergies for specific fruits. Consuming fruits can psychologically boost your confidence because you are aware that you are putting in something extremely good for your body. Now, lets look at fast food or junk food that can be more commonly found around us. From my personal experience, eating unhealthy and processed food gave me instant energy, but it did not last very long and that made me end up eating more and more. Besides that, I suffered from breakouts and mentally, I always felt guilty after eating fast food because I know I am cautiously putting something bad into my body.

Before I go on blabbering, the reason I mentioned about food is because food goes into our system and the outcome could be either good or bad based on what you choose to eat. In the case of oil pulling, the oil only stays in the mouth, yet, the benefits you gain internally and externally are remarkable. I can assure you that you can find a relieve from several medical conditions just by practising oil pulling everyday without any side effects. Did I mention that it's inexpensive too. While researching on this topic, I came across many testimonials where people experience positive changes and manage to overcome various medical issues. If you are still not convinced with that, you can merely practise oil pulling to improve your oral health and prevent plaque formation leading to gingivitis (inflamed and bleeding gums). From my personal experience, I noticed whiter teeth, healthy mucus level and improved sleep pattern. Hey, that makes me a happy child by just having a good sleep.

What REALLY happens during oil pulling?

Lets get real, even the most expensive electronic toothbrush and the most highly researched toothpaste cannot reach every nook and cranny in our mouth. If they really did work as they claimed, why do we end up buying the same toothbrush and toothpaste to treat our oral problems. If they were really that good, wouldn't the problems just disappear or at least reduce acting up every now and then. I am not against brushing, I do it too, but I am also aware that brushes are abrasive to enamel and don't we all know that toothpastes are 100% chemicals. We are in an illusion that brushing eliminates all bacteria and toxins from the mouth and results in whiter teeth and fresher breath. WRONG! Teeth only represents 10% of your mouth, so there more regions in your mouth than you can imagine for bacteria to breed and wander about.

Disease does start from the mouth. This is because most ingestion is done via the mouth. Our mouth and tongue are also the gateway to many organs, hence there are specific locations in mouth and points on the tongue directly linked and affects the health of these organs. The viscous sesame oil can reach even the tiniest space in your oral cavity and draw out anything nasty to your body. Let me be more precise, viscous oil can be said to have a 'sticky' consistency. If you swirl this oil in your mouth for 20 minutes, it can reach every little crevices between your teeth and your entire mouth surface. Plaque, food residues and harmful bacteria 'sticks' to the oil and they are 'pulled' out as you continue to swish the oil. Tooth brush cannot fight bacteria, toothpaste is not sticky enough and mouth wash is too runny to 'pull' out plaque. Simply put, imagine giving your mouth and tongue an oil massage. We all get excited about massages, right. Your body would be grateful to you if could just spare a couple of minutes giving an oil massage to your tongue. Haven't I convinced you?


It's not obligatory to use sesame oil. If you don't like the taste, you can substitute it with coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil or castor oil. It has to be a cold pressed oil which has its nutrients preserved. It's alright if you don't want to splurge on these oils, as long as you get a decent cold pressed oil, that would do the job. The real mental challenges are consciously putting the oil into the mouth and retaining it there for that period of time. I agree it does come with practise and perseverance. It takes about 3 days to overcome these challenges but keep reminding yourself of its goodness.

"Why oil?" you may ask me. Other than the reasons I mentioned above, oil also stimulates the production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva stimulation in return helps to maintain a healthy salivary gland and also better digestion, if you don't already know, digestions begins at the mouth.

Who should do it?

ANYONE! There is no age limit. Kids can start at the age of 5 and go up to 60, 70, 80 years old ........and beyond. There will not be any side effects if you choose to start or stop at any time. It's safe regardless of your state of health or what medications you are on. Oil pulling can also be done when are having fever, flu or even if women are on their menstrual cycle. Pregnant women and nursing mothers can also try oil pulling but I would recommend for you to approach an experienced yoga instructor or ayurvedic practitioner for advise if you intend to begin. If you are wearing braces or dentures, no worries because you can also practise but make sure to remove you dentures when oil pulling.

When to do it?

I start my morning with oil pulling because this is the time that my stomach is empty, the most amount of bacteria is present in the mouth after a long night of sleep and the only time I don't have to talk to anyone or even try to do something important. But you can always do a second a round at night before bed to prevent bacteria from having  jolly good time in your mouth through out the night. If you forget to do it one day, you can pick it back up the next day or simple, just do it before bed. Make sure to do it when your stomach is empty or you will constantly feel vomiting sensation.

How to do it?

  • Take one tablespoon of the oil of your choice before brushing your teeth.
  • Using your tongue, swish, pull and push the oil around in your mouth and through your teeth, allowing it to line your gums.
  • You can do this anywhere from 5 minutes up to 20 minutes. "Why 20 minutes?" The longer you pull and push the oil in your mouth, the more bacteria and microbes are drawn out. I am aware that 20 minutes is a long time but try to find something to do while the oil is still in your mouth. I go to the kitchen and prepare warm saline water for Jala Neti but you may read the newspaper/book, make up your bed, turn on the television/computer or whatever you can think of accomplishing in 20 minutes. 
  • When the oil is in your mouth, be very cautious not to swallow even a tiny bit of it. The final oil and saliva mixture is full of toxins and quite harmful to the body if swallowed. 
  • Times up and when you are ready spit the oil in a small plastic bag, tie it up and throw it into the trash can. Try your best not to spit into the sink or the toilet, we don't want to mess up the pipes. So ensure proper method of disposal. The oil and saliva mixture will be a milky,yellowish liquid when you spit it out.
  • Rinse your mouth with water and you can continue with brushing your teeth.


To further convince you to try out oil pulling, here's a list of ailments/medical conditions that can be treated. I have gathered this list from the book Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing written by Dr. Bruce Fife.
  1. Acne
  2. Allergies
  3. Arthritis
  4. Asthma
  5. Back and Neck Pain
  6. Bad Breath
  7. Bronchitis
  8. Chronic Fatigue
  9. Colitis
  10. Chron's Disease
  11. Constipation
  12. Dark under-eye circles
  13. Dental Cavities
  14. Dermatitis
  15. Diabetes
  16. Eczema
  17. Hemorrhoids
  18. Hypertension
  19. Insomnia
  20. Irregular sleep patterns
  21. Migraine Headaches
  22. Mucous Congestion 
  23. Peptic Ulcers
  24. PMS and irregular menstrual cycle
  25. Periodontal Disease 
  26. Sinusitis
  27. Tooth Abscess
I think its a wrap for this post. I have tried my best to gather as much information as I can on oil pulling. Come to think about it, you get to overcome so many life bugging medical disorders just by swooshing oil in your mouth. Are you thinking of giving it a try? Or have you been practising prior to reading this post? Share below your routine and what difference it has made to your health and overall wellness. Lets share the joy of Oil Pulling!


*Disclaimer: I am merely a home practitioner and all the information shared above are mostly from my personal experience. If you are having second thoughts on anything at all, I will try my best to clarify your doubts. If you are thinking to try oil pulling but still unsure, feel free to do your own research, approach a professional doctor, an experienced yoga instructor or an ayurvedic consultants for further information.

Popular posts from this blog

Shakthi Bandha Asanas (Energy Block Postures)

Day 5: Pawanmuktasana Series. A yogi's warm up.

Sheetali & Sheetkari Pranayama.