Coconut oil is tropical oil that is well known for having several health benefits. It can decrease cholesterol, improve your immune system, and even aid in weight loss in some ways. But another benefit and use for coconut oil is for oral health, through oil pulling.
What is oil pulling?
It’s essentially using oil (in this case coconut oil) as a mouthwash of sorts. It has been around for thousands of years, but has recently made a big resurgence as more and more people are looking for all natural solutions for oral health care.
How it’s done is by swishing around a tablespoon of the coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Your mouth contains a lot of bacteria, some of which are harmful such as Streptococcus mutans. Streptococcus mutans cause gingivitis, cavities, and plaque buildup. It’s normal to have some plaque on the teeth, but problems start to arise when there is too much of it and it starts to get into your gums and even penetrate your enamel.
Oil pulling helps remove the plaque by “pulling” the bacteria off your teeth, and dissolving it inside the oil. As you swish the oil around in your mouth, more and more of the bad bacteria is removed.
Why coconut oil?
You can do oil pulling with other types of oil as well. Traditionally, this technique was done with sesame or sunflower oil by Indians. However, coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is able to kill viruses, fungi, and bacteria. It’s also a great choice for people who enjoy the taste of coconut oil, which is much better than other oils in my opinion.
Oil Pulling fights plaque buildup and gingivitis
When your immune system starts to attack the plaque, it causes inflammation of your gums and gingivitis. One triple blind study showed that oil pulling can fight gingivitis and plaque buildup. With gingivitis, your immune system starts to fight the bacteria in the plaque. Oil pulling can help because it is removing this bacteria from your teeth.
Oil Pulling fights bad breath (halitosis)
In most cases, bad breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria releases chemicals and gases that have a foul odor. By killing this bacteria with oil pulling, you are helping get rid of bad breath as well.
One study of 20 people showed that oil pulling is an effective treatment for halitosis.
How to do Oil Pulling
It’s actually very simple to oil pull. It’s just like using a regular mouthwash except you have to use it a little longer. Just put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish/rinse it around in your mouth for about 15 minutes. Spit it out and brush your teeth like normal.
Since it takes a good amount of time, you can try doing it as you shower in the morning. It’s best to do it before brushing your teeth so that you can get rid of the germs and bacteria first. It’s also recommended that you do it on an empty stomach (but don’t drink the oil!)
When you’re swishing the oil around in your teeth, try to push it all around, in between your teeth, on the sides of your mouth, and basically all through your entire mouth. After you spit out the oil, you can rinse out your mouth really quickly with water before you brush your teeth. There’s no need to use another mouthwash on top of the oil either.
Oil pulling is a proven method for getting healthy teeth. It’s an all natural solution, affordable, and most importantly it works. Try it out for a week or so to see what it’s like. My dentist swears by it, and I’ve gotten some very good results with it. If you don’t like it or prefer another method, you can still use the leftover oil to cook with!