What We Learned From a Month of Oil Pulling
Forty ounces of oil later, a month of oil pulling is over for the Boka team. For those who don’t know, oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic oral care technique in which you swish an oil in your mouth for 20 minutes each day with the goal of pulling out bad microorganisms that cause gingivitis, plaque and bad breath. It may help whiten teeth, too.
While the practice is gaining popularity today, there’s little scientific study done on it, so we gave it a try.
Oil pulling has been satisfying at times, annoying at others. But overall, we’ve learned a few things worth sharing before you may decide to try oil pulling for yourself.
What we liked
- Brighter teeth
All four of our oil-pullers reported brighter teeth from pulling. Katie had to skip a few days due to some atypical morning schedules, but she had a pleasant surprise when she got back at it. “When I picked it up again, I noticed that my teeth looked noticeably whiter after finishing,” she said.
- Mindfulness in your morning routine
Taking 20 minutes each morning to swish oil around in their mouths made our oil-pullers more aware of how they were using their time. This may seem like a small feat, but it made a difference. “I’m paying more attention to my time and routine in the morning, which makes me feel more awake, faster,” said Ashleigh. “I enjoy the ritual of warming my coconut oil each morning and preparing it with essential oils.”
- Feeling healthier overall
Aside from just whiter teeth, our oil-pullers said they just feel better while on the oil-pulling regimen. Eric’s gums now bleed less when he flosses his teeth, and his mouth feels fresher. Ashleigh, who’s prone to catching any cold that comes near her, hasn’t gotten sick. Becky said her cooking has gotten healthier because she always has coconut oil around now.
What we didn’t like
- The time commitment
One-third of an hour each day dedicated to oil pulling proved to be impossible at times for our team. Oil pulling calls for 20 minutes of swishing, which adds up to over five days each year spent swishing. Becky’s ready to call it quits on pulling each day: “I think it’s been really good for my teeth, and possibly my health, but every day becomes a grind. I will probably aim to do it once or twice a week from here on out.”
Plus, the nature of oil pulling means you’re unable to communicate while swishing, which was especially tough for Ashleigh: “It makes my fiancé feel isolated in the mornings, because the bulk of our time together is spent in silence.”
- Oil is not a convenient product
It tastes bad, it’s difficult to travel with and it can get expensive, depending on what you’re using. Simply put, oil pulling isn’t as easy as brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Here’s why:
– It took over a week for the oil-pullers to get used to their oil’s taste, and spitting into a trash can each morning wasn’t exactly desirable for anyone.
– Becky started with Cocowhite oil—arguably the easiest to use—but later switched to coconut oil partly because of the cost. A two-week course of Cocowhite runs about $40.
– Eric has traveled a lot over the past month and he found that packing his MCT oil into airport security-friendly packages wasn’t easy. “If there was an affordable oil that tasted great and came in a TSA-friendly package that you could use for 10 minutes a day I would gladly use it,” he said.
There you have it: four Boka team members’ lessons learned from oil pulling. All of our team found oil pulling to be a useful, if inconclusive, experiment, and they’ll continue doing it in some form.