An Experiment in Oil Pulling, Pt. II

Today marks a full week of my experiment in oil pulling. My reaction at this point? Mostly positive. (If you're thinking it seems like I just started on Monday, well, that's when I published the post about it, but I had already been at it for a few days. I'm tricky like that.)

The first few days were the hardest / weirdest, but I have now successfully worked it into my morning routine. I start right when I wake up, and then go about my morning activities like feeding the cat, making coffee (so it's ready the minute I finish oil pulling), taking a shower and getting ready. The first time I got in the shower while oil pulling was a huge shock. You see, I didn't realize that I'm a mouth breather in the shower (maybe we all are?), but after a few seconds of choking and gagging, all was well.

A friend of mine had a similar gagging reaction: "I gagged so much in the first 30 seconds. I couldn't do it." It's definitely a foreign feeling to have the oil in your mouth in its solid state, but once it melts into a liquid, I promise it gets easier. You can also try melting it first if that helps. The same friend said, "I think a tablespoon was too much to start with. I think tomorrow I'll try with a teaspoon and see how that goes..." I think the lesson we can take from this is to start small, people. You can always work your way up.

Now let's talk results. After one week, I've noticed a few things ... both good and bad.
Let's start with the good, shall we?

My teeth are whiter. 
Or at least I think they are. The husband says he can't confirm this as he didn't really pay attention to how white my teeth were before. Can you believe that?! Anyways, the husband is pulling with me, and I've noticed that his teeth are whiter. That must mean that mine are too, right?

My mouth feels healthier. 
Both the husband and I have noticed that our teeth feel cleaner, our breath feels fresher, and our gums feel healthier. I realize that these are all feelings and not necessarily things that we can prove, so we'll just have to wait until the next trip to the dentist for proof. The other night, however, I burnt my mouth pretty badly while eating dinner, and after oil pulling the next day, it felt absolutely fine.

My headaches have improved.
While I have still had one medicine-requiring migraine this week, I must say that I've seen an overall improvement in my headaches. Last Saturday, for instance, I had a glass of wine and two beers. In the morning, after oil pulling, I didn't have the dull headache that I usually do after three drinks. In fact, I haven't had any dull headaches this week, and I usually have at least one or two. I'll be very interested to see if this trend continues, and whether there is any more improvement.

My complexion is worse.
I was really hoping that I would have beautiful skin after a few days of oil pulling, but this hasn't happened yet. In fact, I've actually broken out in a few places. Not quite the results I was looking for, but we're still early on in the experiment.

I still have migraines.
While this isn't a bad reaction, it's not an improvement either. As I said before, I had a migraine this week. My two main triggers (dark beer and a change in hormone levels) were at play during the onset of this migraine, but it is clear that one week of oil pulling isn't enough to offset these triggers. This second factor could also be affecting my complexion.

May be harmful to cavity fillings.
This is not my experience (I'm 29 and I've never had a cavity, thankyouverymuch), but one of my readers reported that oil pulling was harmful to her existing fillings. I did some research on the good old interwebs, but couldn't find anything to support this. Because I don't want to recommend anything that could cause an increase in your dental bills, I have asked a few dental hygienists whether they can confirm this. I'll get back to you as soon as I know more details.

So there you have my first reactions to oil pulling. But it's not all about me, right? After receiving quite a few replies to my previous post, I decided to gather some outside opinions. Two of my friends, Stephen and Bethany, have also recently started their own experiments in oil pulling, and this is what they have to say.

Stephen, age 28, is an acupuncturist living in Washington. Stephen plans to oil pull every day for one month, with his main motivation being that he is considering recommending oil pulling to his patients. He is also doing it for general detox, to clear persistent sinus congestion, and to whiten his teeth. He fits oil pulling into his morning routine, and does it while making breakfast, checking emails, or taking a shower. After four days, he has been told by his girlfriend that his teeth are whiter. Other benefits are unclear, but he hopes to see more progress with time.

Bethany, age 29, is a stay-at-home mom and nanny living in Minnesota. After Bethany's first experience with oil pulling, she exclaimed "I love how my mouth felt afterwards!" Her main motivation for oil pulling is to improve her overall well-being. As much as she tries to eat nutritious, whole foods, she knows that there are always toxins to flush out, and hopes to do so through oil pulling. Bethany also pulls in the morning while making breakfast, folding laundry, and tidying up. She finds that it's much easier to pull for the full 20 minutes while keeping busy. After three days, she hasn't noticed any drastic changes, though the sore on the inside of her cheek that had been bothering her for the past week is now healed. "Coincidence, maybe," she noted, "but I really think the oil helped."

Well, that's it for Part II of my experiment. Stay tuned for the next update, and happy pulling!

Previous installment:
Part I

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