Originating in Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is the practice of swishing a tablespoon of sesame, olive or coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes first thing in the morning. It’s said to improve oral health, whiten teeth and remove toxins from the body. Some people say it also help to cure a host of systemic issues such as allergies, sinus infections and eczema.
Experts are divided on the potential outcomes of the practice, but agree it can’t hurt you.
Here are some benefits of oil pulling:
– Whitens teeth
– Detoxes the body
– Helps keep skin clear
– Promotes oral hygiene
Consider that the mouth is the most bacteria-laden area of the body. The friction of oil pulling gently cleanses the inside of the mouth, and if using coconut oil, which contains antimicrobial lauric acid and vitamin E, it’s like using a natural mouthwash. From a holistic perspective, improving the health of one area alleviates stress and allows the body to tend to other functions.
It’s no replacement for brushing and flossing, but if you want to give it a go, here are some tips:
– Start by swishing with 1 Tbsp of oil for 10 minutes, three times per week. Work your way up to 20 minutes, five times per week.
– Don’t eat or drink anything before you swish. Rinse with water when you’re finished.
– Be gentle. If you jaw starts to hurt, you’re swishing too hard.
– Don’t swallow the oil. It picks up germs in your mouth and could make you sick.
– Don’t spit the oil down the drain when you’re finished. It could clog your pipes, so use the garbage.