Oil Pulling: Worth the Faff?

Tuuli has shown up numerous times on Modeltypeface. She’s the lady who got me the interview on the BBC news a couple of years ago, we’ve modelling for Manuka together and even showed off our catwalk at a Beyonce dance class!

When we were on the recent shoot for Manuka, I was so impressed with how calm and collected Tuuli is. She’s very much into yoga (teaches at Fierce Grace) and Ayurveda, and to paraphrase Sophia Lauren, everything you see she owes to sesame oil.

Tuuli is really into oil pulling – have you heard of it? It’s basically swilling oil for as long as you can, preferably for 20 minutes as soon as you wake up and spitting it out. The notion behind it is that you wake up with a mouth full of nasty stuff, and if you swallow that down it affects overall health and digestion. By oil pulling, you’re drawing out these toxins from your mouth, teeth and stomach so your body doesn’t have to deal with them and can carry on it’s normal functions without impediment.

I’ve tried it before, but never stuck to it. I did it for a few days when I was 25, but accidentally used toasted sesame oil and spent the minutes trying not to retch. I then started and stopped last year, even though people were saying that my teeth were way whiter (it’s not really a tooth whitener, but I’d imagine it lifts superficial stains if I’m swilling for a long time). But after spending a day with calm, collected and porcelain-skinned Tuuli, I decided to take it up. And I’ve kept to it.


£5.99 from Holland and Barrett (you can also buy way cheaper ones that aren’t organic)

After two months of oil pulling with sesame oil (I prefer coconut oil, but you can’t spit it down the sink as it can solidify and block your pipes. You can also use sunflower oil, but it’s rank), the main thing I’ve noticed is that my gums are way healthier. I’m prone to receding gums that bleed like the lady in the Corsodyl ad and this is the reason some dentists are behind oil pulling: they do say it helps. They’re perfect now. That’s my own personal experience but I wouldn’t advise cutting out your usual brushing and flossing, and seek advice from your own dentist. Others say it has helped with acne, fatigue, IBS – I suppose it’s totally individual. Now I’ve started I just find it a bit addictive because my mouth feels less manky after. Not a very scientific conclusion I’ll warrant, but it really does make me feel better in the morning.

If I’m working from home I can do the full twenty minutes as I wake up – I just check my emails or have a shower while I do it. I haven’t found that it’s faff at all as I’m not waking up earlier for it (I would never do this I love sleep too much) and it’s just integrated into my morning now. I swill about 2/3 of a dessert spoon – you don’t want too much as it multiplies with all the saliva (mmm!). Make sure you clean the sink properly after spitting it down the plug hole cos it’s full of gross stuff, which is also why you really mustn’t swallow it! If I’m on a job where I have to wake up mega early, then I just do a couple of minutes – it’s better than nothing.

I totally understand why most people would be suspicious of this, which is why the only way to see if you reap the benefits is to give it a go for a couple of weeks. The internet is full of cynics who are now converts (myself included), but I think you should get swilling and see for yourself.



One Comment

  1. […] I know it seems weird but once again I’m copying Tuuli here, mistress of glowing Ayurveda. She told me to put oil on before showering, to keep it from […]

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