I had heard about oil pulling (when you swish coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for twenty minutes) a while back and had been meaning to try it… when suddenly my friends’ accounts of oil pulling overtook my news feed. This post, in particular was getting shared over and over again.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental health technique. Some people use it as an actual alternative to brushing their teeth… but I personally like to oil pull and then brush + floss after. The idea behind oil pulling is that the oils pull out all of the toxins in your mouth that regular brushing won’t be able to get. There are amazing benefits — oil pulling promises to do everything from freshen breath and whiten teeth to cure hangovers and help you sleep better. It’s also supposed to help your skin – curing rashes like psoriasis and eczema and clearing up acne.
So, the next day (it’s best to do it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach) I gave it a try. I already had a tub of organic coconut oil at home (I use it to cook with and as a moisturizer) so I just used that. I use this coconut oil, in case you were curious.
How to oil pull:
- Put one teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish it around like you are using mouthwash.
- After twenty minutes, spit it out – into the trash. Do not swallow; or you’ll ingest all those toxins, germs, and bacteria you just pulled out… and do not spit it down the drain – the oil could harden and clog your pipes.
- Optional – use a tongue scraper (I have this one) to clean off your tongue.
- Do it every day, if you can!
That’s all! I will admit that it was a little bit weird. Twenty minutes is a long time. Luckily I really like the flavor of coconut, but still – a long time. I find it is easiest to do it when I’m getting ready for work. I put the oil in my mouth before my shower, and by the time I’m feeding the cat or putting on my makeup, twenty minutes has passed. My friend says she does it while she’s watching the news. You just have to find a routine that works for you… but it’s best to have a good distraction!
I’ve been doing this for about two weeks (not every day – some mornings I oversleep or forget) but my teeth are definitely considerably whiter. My gums feel healthier too. My breath is much fresher and my mouth just feels really, really clean. It’s a weird thing to say but after you try this, you’ll know what I mean. So yeah, it is definitely a little bit weird, but I am going to keep on doing it. The fresher breath and whiter teeth alone make it worth it to me.
Have you tried oil pulling yet? What do you think?
PS – For extra credit, read this book. It doesn’t talk about oil pulling but it does talk about all the amazing health benefits of coconut oil — cooking with it, eating it, curing illnesses with it, using it as a beauty treatment, etc. It’s an interesting read. I’m about halfway through and have learned a lot.
image via Henry Happened.