Oil pulling is one habit that I have been doing off and on for some time now. I have blogged about oil pulling here in this article but if you don’t want to go back to that, let me just tell you that oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic or Indian practice of swishing natural, plant-based oils inside your mouth for 20 to 30 minutes. This is said to kill bad bacteria in the mouth while not harming the good bacteria. Doing so also nourishes the whole oral cavity.
As you may have probably read from health pages and sites, oral health is key to overall health. The mouth, being the portal of the digestive system which delivers nutrients and antioxidants to the whole body, must be kept healthy and clean in order for the whole tract to be in good shape.
My husband is more religious with his oil pulling regimen than I am and he says his gum and tooth issues have improved ever since he started doing oil pulling. I myself can attest that, though forgetful I am of the habit (I do oil pulling only about 3 to 4 times a week), I have noticed that my gum issues have resolved. I used to get sensitive gums and sometimes I have gum swelling as well but now no more. I give the credit to oil pulling (and my other health habits) for my improved dental status.
The oil I use is of course our very own virgin coconut oil as it is rich in lauric acid which transforms inside the body into monolaurin which is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal. Breast milk is the richest source of lauric acid and virgin coconut oil follows closely behind. This may be the reason why the lana (or coconut oil) our Filipino grandmas used as all-around salve worked so well for cuts, bruises, wounds and stings.
I had several minor issues with oil pulling though, and here they are:
It takes getting used to as oil pulling can elicit the gag reflex, especially for oil pulling newbies. My solution for that is to do oil pulling while I am busy as I find that if my mind is focused on a work — cooking, cleaning up clutter, writing — my senses get distracted from the quite-yucky sensation of foamy oil in my mouth. I can do oil pulling for the recommended 20 minutes if my mind is on something else when I’m doing it.
It can be quite messy to do oil pulling. I have to pour greasy oil from the bottle into a tablespoon which, despite my best efforts, often results in spills.
And so when I saw on wellnessmama.com a recipe for oil pulling chews, I took to it instantly. Oil pulling chews or chewables are simply bite-sized or single-serve frozen oil pieces. It is so easy I wonder why I haven’t thought of it before. Just pour oil into ice cube trays or those cutesy, multi-shaped gelatin molds and freeze them. You get single-serve frozen oil cubes that you can then store in a jar inside your ref, ready for your daily oil-pulling regimen.
Advantages of oil pulling chews:
You can add in essential oils.
A big advantage with making oil pulling chews is you can add in a few drops of essential oil for flavor and extra nourishing and protective powers. It is a good way of putting to use my recently-bought bottle of tea tree oil which, if you remember, I also used in making my homemade deodorant. Tea tree is a natural antiseptic which has been used in many mouthwashes, toothpastes and soaps.
Oil pulling chewables are flavored and thus less gagging.
Pure coconut oil is tasteless and when you swish it for that length of time needed for oil pulling (at least 20 minutes), the oil becomes frothy and foamy and if you have some dental caries, it could get… y’know, a little offensive, hence my tip on doing something distracting. However, I have found that if you put in a few drops of essential oil, the added flavor lowers the yucky level significantly.
Oil pulling chews are less messy.
I love the fact that I can simply take out from the ref my jar of oil pulling chews, take a single piece of frozen oil and pop it into my mouth for an easy oil-pulling session. No more pouring and spilling of precious oil.
Oil Pulling Chewable Recipe
*Makes 15 oil pulling chews, each about 8 to 10 ml of oil
- ½ cup of virgin coconut oil
- 15 drops of essential oil of your choice (I used tea tree oil)
- small glass bowl
- small glass jar with lid
- wooden stirrer or spoon
- gelatin mini-mold (as shown)
- Pour half a cup of VCO into a small glass mixing bowl. If you live in cold climate, VCO needs to be melted in a double boiler first.
- Squirt 15 drops of tea tree essential oil into the oil.
- Stir the mixture with spoon, preferably a wooden one.
- Spoon the mixture into a gelatin mold, preferably a silicone one. I used a banana-shaped gelatin mold as shown above.
- Freeze the mold until the oil hardens.
- Remove the individual frozen oil pieces and store in a small glass jar. Keep in the ref.
- To use, take one oil pulling chew and pop into your mouth. Do not swallow. It will melt in your mouth. Swish the oil around your mouth for at least 20 minutes. Spit out and rinse your mouth with warm water. I do this after brushing my teeth, before bedtime — that way the oil can work in my mouth the whole night.
Have you tried oil pulling before? Do share your experience, good or bad.