It’s 2017, in Chinese New year that indicates the year of the rooster. But, in the world of health and beauty, coconut oil has been our rising star. People have been cooking with it, using it as a natural deodorant, a makeup remover, a moisturizer, a lip balm, a deep conditioner -- the list goes on. Chances are that you have at least tried some of these methods and that you have coconut oil laying around your house. But recently, a new use for coconut oil and oil in general, has taken the internet by storm.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Shailene Woodley, Kylie Jenner and even our Founder, Sherelle Reed all swear by it, so it’s no wonder that oil pulling has gained such popularity. By simply swishing oil around your mouth for 20 minutes a day, there are claims that you can whiten your teeth, rid your body of toxins, and achieve the type of skin you see only in Hollywood.
So, what exactly is oil pulling? Oil pulling is not new, it has roots in India and is an ancient Ayurvedic method for detox and rejuvenation. Traditionally, sesame or sunflower oil is used but coconut oil has recently been the number one choice for practitioners. It is also suggested to oil pull in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink, but you can do it whenever it’s convenient.
Similar to the way you would use mouthwash, oil pulling is simply swishing one teaspoon to one tablespoon of your choice of unrefined, high quality oil in your mouth then follow up with a brushing. The only difference? This should be done 20 minutes, daily. If you think this an incredibly long time, you are not alone! However, the longer you swish the oil through your mouth, the more microbes are being pulled from your teeth and gums. The oil needs to be swished around your mouth long enough for it turn to a white milky substance, indicating that bacteria has been “pulled” out of the crevices of your mouth. If you pull longer, then the bacteria, viruses, and other organisms can potentially be reabsorbed. Many suggest to oil pull in the shower so you aren’t counting the minutes as they pass by. Instead, simply spit out the oil once your shower is over. In order to save your pipes, spit the oil out in the trash, not the into the toilet or down the drain! Oil is not water soluble so it will cling to your pipes and eventually clog them.
People swear that oil pulling can whiten teeth, freshen breath, fix acne, brighten complexions, and absorb harmful bacteria. Since it is fairly new to the Western world, there have only been small studies conducted on the actual health benefits but they did confirm that it can help improve oral health. Plaque is made up of colonized bacteria, which is surrounded by a fatty membrane. Similar to using oils to cleanse your face, practitioners suggest oil pulling because oily compounds attract similar oily compound thus extracting them from the desired area. Using coconut (or the oil of your choice) will loosen the plaque from the surface of the tooth as you swish, leading to a healthier, whiter smile.
Some of our team members at White and Elm swear by this practice but have reduced their ritual to only three times a week as it is more convenient to their lifestyle. Have you tried oil pulling? Will you give it a try? Let us know in the comment section below! If you have any questions, we will also be happy to answer you to the best of our ability. Although benefits of oil pulling aren’t thoroughly documented, there are no downsides! The worst part? Building your jaws endurance to swish oil for a long period of time.