So, if you’ve not been hiding under a rock lately [translation you have been lurking about on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest], you’ve most likely heard about oil pulling. If you’re a quasi-hippy, like me, then you were intrigued by this sorcery and wanted to know more. Anything that mentions coconut oil, frankly, has me at hello, so I proceeded to do some research using what else, but Google, the company that now owns all our thoughts. I found these instructions:
So, it’s basically three steps: 1. choose 2. swish 3. spit
Choose an oil that is organic, coconut is nice because it melts slowly in your mouth and has a pleasant smell and taste, but you can also use sunflower or sesame. Take about one tablespoon [I used more like a teaspoon and a half] into your mouth and then just let it sit there or swoosh it around for about 20 minutes [that feels a bit excessive, more on that later]. Then, after it has had a chance to pull all of the toxins out of your mouth [they are like little hidden terrorists], you just spit. Yes, spit that stuff out- it’s full of terrorists. Don’t spit into the sink because it will clog your pipes up– of course, if you swallow, it might open your pipes up [giggle].
Like other folk remedies that have stood the test of time [this is ancient Ayurvedic], oil pulling is supposed to ameliorate a wide range of ailments. I will only list a few that stood out for me: clearing up the skin, Gingivitis, whitening the teeth, reduction of systemic inflammation so it could help with RA, relief from sinus congestion, better quality sleep, improving the immune system, balancing the bacteria in the mouth, and on and on.
Huffington Post even weighed in with an article, and of course, Snopes debunked the majority of the benefits [but they cannot debunk the ones associated with the mouth and dental health benefits]! It doesn’t matter when you do it, but some sites claim that on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is best, so you can do it while in the shower. Afterward, you do your normal tooth brushing, flossing, pik routine and, voila[!], your teeth feel super smooth and they are whiter to boot!
So, I have done this like 3 times and here is my personal review. I used coconut oil and I don’t mind the solid to liquid thing like some, but I felt that a little over a tsp. was a plenty and 20 minutes seemed like an eternity. I could only make it like maybe 5 minutes before spitting. Some people have said it was sort of comforting and nice to hold the oil in your mouth while lying in bed or doing your morning business. I did not find that to be the case. It was, well, a neutral experience for the most part. I did not find it particularly pleasant or noxious, although I did have some problems holding it in my mouth. It was either dripping out the side onto the screen of my cell phone while I playing Candy Crush in the bathroom whiling away my 5 minutes, or I was tempted to swallow it because it tasted kind of good and it felt like it was growing in volume, the way your spit seems to flood in when you’re at the dentist and you cannot yet spit. After brushing and flossing, I did notice that my teeth were whiter, and not just from the regular brushing. They are noticeably whiter and they stay that way all day. It’s like they are coated with that oil for a while, so your coffee wants to stain your teeth, but it can’t get a grip on the enamel because it’s all slick from oil. Fabulous!
I am not sure about the congestion thing, but this morning after oil pulling, I did cough a lot and now I do feel like my lungs and nasal congestion is clearer. That could totally be a placebo effect, but I’ll take it. If you have pulled oil and would like to weigh in, leave a comment about what you thought of it or what it did for you. I keep the coconut oil around for my skin and cooking anyhow, so why not? I love the whiter teeth and the way my mouth feels after.