The usefulness of coconut oil is no secret, it is a great moisturizer, helps sooth sunburn, can be used in cooking, and making home made beauty products; but did you know it’s also an incredibly effective way to keep your mouth clean? Cleaning your teeth with oil probably sounds crazy, but if you’ve heard of oil pulling you know what I’m talking about.
Oil pulling has been around for centuries, how do you think our ancestors cleaned their teeth before toothbrushes were invented in the 1930s? There was better oral health since the food was of better quality and people weren’t eating processed sugars and grains filled with phytic acid, which weakens tooth enamel. Chew sticks were rubbed against teeth to keep them clean dating as far back as 3000 B.C. and depending on the culture, some also practiced oil pulling.
Sesame or sunflower oil has been known to be used but I prefer coconut oil. It tastes better in my opinion and the fatty acids in coconut oil have been proven to be antimicrobial, so it can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. There are thousands of different bacteria in your mouth, and the oil pulling method helps remove a large amount of both bacteria and plaque.
So, here’s how it works. When swishing the oil around in your mouth, the toxins are literally sucked out of your gums and from between your teeth and trapped within the oil. This creates a clean antiseptic environment needed to help prevent cavities and disease. Make sure you are using unrefined, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil. Like this one, or I get mine at Aldi.
Here are the steps and tips on how to start your oil pulling journey.
- The right time. Make sure you oil pull first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything. I don’t know the science behind it but oil pulling after eating can cause nausea. So just don’t risk it.
- The perfect amount. Take about 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth. You don’t want too much or you won’t be able to swish well, and too little won’t get the job done. Swish around for 15-20 minutes. Yes, it’s a long time to keep oil in your mouth. Do it while your in the shower or preferably before your kids wake up! Try explaining to a 3 year old why you can’t talk with a mouth full of oil, it’s not pretty.
- Caution! Be extra careful not to swallow any of the oil! It’s full of all the bacteria it has just cleaned out of your mouth. I mean, it won’t kill you, but it’s pretty disgusting and can give you an upset stomach. DO NOT spit it out in the sink or down any drain, coconut oil solidifies and can clog your drains, so spit it in the trash can.
- After oil pulling. Rinse with water, or salt water for a cleaner mouth. I like to wait a few minutes after this, then go ahead and brush your teeth like normal.
Some benefits know to come from oil pulling are:
- Treat tooth decay
- Kill bad breath
- Heal bleeding gums
- Prevent heart disease
- Reduce inflammation
- Whiten teeth
- Soothe throat dryness
- Prevent cavities
- Heal cracked lips
- Boost immune system
- Improve acne
- Strengthen gums and jaw
The benefits I have from my own experience is less cold sensitivity, my teeth feel stronger, visibly whiter, and a cleaner feeling in my mouth than I’ve ever had from regular brushing which also seems to last longer. It’s almost like the coconut oil forms a protective coating over your teeth, so when your eating, less plaque and film is building up.
I’d love to hear how oil pulling has helped you, or what you think of your first time trying it!
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