Let me preface any further remarks with the fact that a low-carb diet a la Eades, Protein Power Life Plan with a dash of Paleo (no grains or dairy except butter) from Loren Cordain are the basis of any other attempts to improve my health. Low-carb is a given as far as I am concerned and anything else is extra.
So what is oil pulling? Sounds wacky, but it is actually an ancient Ayurvedic practice going back over 2000 years. You simply put 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil in your mouth (I use coconut oil, natch), swish it around for 20 minutes, then spit it out (not down the drain but into a plastic bag for disposal). Rinse your mouth out and that's it. What could be easier? The oil will mix with your saliva and the resulting solution will be milky white. If it gets to be too much, just spit some of it out and keep going or spit it all out and take a new teaspoon or so of oil. Swishing for the full 20 minutes is important.
So what's it doing? There are other websites and people promoting oil pulling with various explanations of how this can help to relieve all kinds of symptoms, but I like Fife's.
The oil acts like a cleanser. When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it “pulls” out bacteria and other debris. It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean. Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer.He explains that the reason the oil has this "pulling" effect is because the fatty membranes of the tiny organisms, bacteria and viruses, are attracted to it (oil to oil). Our mouths are full of bacteria all the time and some of it gets deeply imbedded in our teeth and gums. These are "sucked out of their hiding places and held firmly in the solution." Even antibiotics may not get at these hidden bacterias in the tubules of your teeth.
How does it help something like arthritis? "Mouth bacteria, once they get into the bloodstream, tend to collect and cause infection in the weakest areas of the body. Certain bacteria apparently have an affinity for the joints. Joints that have already been weakened by disease or trauma are primary locations for secondary infections... Mouth bacteria readily attack these locations."
The most obvious result of oil pulling which almost everyone who tries it relates is that their teeth get noticeably whiter and their breath smells fresher. Tongue and gums turn a healthy pink and incipient periodontal disease is stopped in its tracks. Many also report a tightening of loose teeth. Loose fillings can fall out, but Fife says this is a blessing in disguise because the filling probably needed to be replaced anyway. Another almost universal effect is clearing of the nose and sinuses—good news for asthma sufferers. The nose-only breathing that Buteyko recommends is a lot easier to do if your nose is clear!
I have experienced all these effects (except for losing a filling) and have even been enjoying freedom from my severe arthritis symptoms. Only time will tell if this is a premanent change or just one of those times when my arthritis isn't flaring.
I do have walking pneumonia right now which I have no idea where I got or exactly when. But I am pretty sure it started before I started the oil pulling. I have had no symptoms except for a slight cough and shortness of breath when climbing uphill. The cough I thought was do to my asthma starting up again although that should have been a warning since the only time I have a problem with asthma now is when there is an infection somewhere like bronchitis. I even went on a great vacation to Morro Bay and spent two days hiking in Montana de Oro State Park (another post) giving new meaning to the term "walking pneumonia" and felt better at the end of the week! The walking and the salt sea air seemed to do me good. Did the oil pulling keep the infection from getting worse? I think so although I was swishing only once a day in the morning. If I had known I was sick, I might have done it twice or even three times a day. I do know that the oil pulling has kept the thrush due to the antibiotic I am taking under control.
If you search the web, you can find demonstrations on how to do this technique and many sites with first-hand experiences. Your effects may be different than mine because as I stated earlier I have been a low-carber for several years. Carbs increase the bacteria in your digestive system and even the good bacteria enters the digestive system through the mouth. Not only can oil pulling help with oral hygiene, asthma, sinus problems, and arthritis but some people have found it helps with diabetes, digestion, headaches, skin problems, and sleep and energy issues. Sounds amazing doesn't it?