WTF Wellness: Oil Pulling


WHAT: “Kavala" or “Gundusha," is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. But here's the deal... as long as you aren't expecting a call or plan to read a book to your little -- you can multi-task like a boss while doing this. Swish away mid laundry, cooking, vacuuming (you get the idea!)

This action supposedly draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health. Killing two birds with one stone? I'm in! The basic idea is that oil is swished in the mouth for a short time each day and that this action helps improve oral health. The oil is able to cut through plaque and remove toxins without disturbing the teeth or gums. The benefits benefits from oil pulling, including help with skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems and more. I recommend using coconut oil. Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and has a milder taste that other oils. Seriously, how much do we love this stuff?

WHO: This unique practice started in India thousands of years ago. It was first introduced to the US in the early 90’s by Dr. F. Karach, who used it with success in his own medical practice.



1. Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil into the mouth. I prefer to use 2 teaspoons of organic coconut oil. I scoop it out as a solid and let it melt in my mouth before swishing.

2. Swish for 20 minutes. Apparently the timing is key, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy, as this is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil will get thicker and milky as it mixed with saliva during this time and it should be creamy-white when spit out.

3. Spit oil into the trash can. Don't spit into the sink or swallow the oil as it is hopefully full of bacteria, toxins and pus that are now not in the mouth. Ew.

4. Rinse well with warm water. Warm water seems to clean the mouth better. Just swish a few times with warm water to get any remaining oil.

5. Brush well after to make sure any remaining bacteria is killed. Voila!