Whether you’re new to oil pulling or you’ve been practicing this Ayurvedic method for years, there are five common mistakes many people unknowingly make.
From using low-quality oils to swishing for too long, commit any one of these and you won’t reap the maximum health benefits that come with this ancient technique. To help you steer clear of these problems, I’ll go over each one in detail in today’s guide and explain what you should be doing instead.
1. Not Using the Right Oil
The most common mistake people make when oil pulling for the first time is using any ol’ oil they have in the house.
While certain oils are good for your health and great options to mix into your cooking routine, they may not be right for pulling toxins out of your body.
I previously wrote a post about some of the oils that lack the “magnetic” properties needed to attract and pull out harmful toxins from your mouth, teeth, and gums. Even if you follow our guide and choose one of our recommended oils for oil pulling, you will still want to swap out and even combine a few different types to see what may work best for you.
For example, rather than only using coconut oil, a blend of pulling oils that also includes sesame oil, sunflower oil and peppermint essential work really well. I like to think of these as a trifecta for oral health because you can maximize the effectiveness of each one while helping to balance your natural energy.
When oil pulling, I really like the peppermint essential oil in the mixture, because it leaves you with a clean, minty feeling after.
Make sure the oil you choose never contains any of the following:
- Artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Ingredients that haven’t been verified or tested by third parties
Keep in mind that, even with organic oil pulling oils that are safe for consumption, the goal is to always spit out the mixture when you are done.
2. Ingesting the Mixture
Under normal circumstances, eating coconut, sesame, and sunflower oil can be a good thing. After all, these oils are packed with health benefits anyone can easily take advantage of in the kitchen.
But this same advice is not true when it comes to swallowing the oils after you’ve oil pulled with them.
In fact, it has just the opposite effect on your body.
See, one of the main jobs of this ancient technique is to help pull out toxins. Once you pull them out of your body, they are still swishing around in the oil mixture, and the idea it to get rid of them once and for all.
The only way to do that is to spit out the mixture to physically remove them from your mouth. Otherwise, you’ll only be adding those same toxins you just removed, back into your body.
3. Not Disposing of the Oil Properly
This one is pretty straightforward but often overlooked - especially by those who like to oil pull during their morning shower.
Where do you spit your oil mixture after you are done?
Spitting the mixture out into the sink may seem like common sense since that’s what you typically do with mouthwash. But this is not what you should do when it comes to oil pulling.
This is simply because oil tends to solidify at different temperatures. So, if you live in a cooler climate or have an unexpectedly chilly night pop up, the oils can wreak havoc on your plumbing.
To prevent a clogged sink or toilet, you should always dispose of your oil in a trash can or jar, rinse your mouth, and then brush your teeth as normal.
So, now that you have the basics covered, another question that you may be asking yourself right now is if you can swish longer to pull out more toxins.
While I wish that was the case, that’s not exactly how it works.
4. Swishing Too Long (or Not Long Enough)
This is an area where many people who are new to oil pulling tend to make errors. This is because repeat oil pullers often see the benefits of oil pulling and want to maximize its benefits.
So, it’s only logical to just swish longer.
However, you can overdo it and swish for too long. Doing this will not only irritate your gums and mouth, but it may also cause your jaw to become tense and lock up.
On the other end of the spectrum, others aren’t swishing for long enough. This is often because, at first, oil pulling will feel a bit different than you’re used to, especially if commercial mouthwashes are all you know.
Many people have to acclimate to the texture and experience of oil pulling. I recommend that you gradually increase your time each day - or every other day - so you can hit the sweet spot that can give you the most benefits.
So, enough talk, what is the magic amount of time for swishing?
When you’re just starting out, 2-3 minutes is all it takes for you to snag all the health perks of oil pulling. Seriously!
You can keep working up in 2-minute intervals from there, but after 15 minutes or so, you’re not increasing these benefits anymore. It’s best to spit out the mixture and revisit the practice later that day or the next day.
But what about cleaning your mouth of the residue and possible toxins that are still in your mouth?
Another common issue we hear people say is that they’re left with an oily feeling in their mouth and on the surface of their teeth once they’re done oil pulling. Here’s why...
5. Not Rinsing Afterwards
You may not be used to rinsing after using mouthwash, but when it comes to oil pulling, you must always rinse afterward.
Not only will this help remove the light oily feeling left behind, it also ensures that you’ve completely removed any food particles or leftover debris (aka toxins) from your mouth.
Some people find that rinsing with salt water helps to eliminate the oil mixture from the surface of teeth and may enhance that clean feeling you probably already feel.
Once you’ve rinsed out your mouth with either with warm water or salt water, you can spit this mixture into your sink. The amount of oil is small, so it won’t have the same possible effects on your drains.
Now that you are armed with how to overcome these common mistakes, you can start oil pulling with confidence. I’m sure you’ll start to see some of the numerous benefits of this amazing practice in no time!
And, as a quick recap, here are the quick tips we mentioned above:
- Choose a high-quality oil pulling blend specifically designed for oil pulling
- Never swallow the mixture
- Swish between 2-15 minutes
- Rinse with warm, filtered water or salt water
- Never dispose of your oil in the sink or toilet