The oral health business is a big one. There are hundreds of products and plenty of propaganda out there. But just because something claims to be good for your health doesn’t make it actually good for your health.
For this reason, any time I discover a natural oral health remedy with easy access and no money trail, I have to try it.
And recently, I found a GOOD one.
If you want to whiten your teeth, freshen your breath and improve your oral health, head to your pantry and get out your coconut oil!
Maybe you’ve read about it online. Maybe you have a friend who swears by it. Or maybe you haven’t gotten wind yet...
Oil pulling is definitely a growing trend, but it’s not new.
Oil pulling is a type of Ayurvedic medicine (a traditional Indian system) that dates back 3,000 years. It involves swishing 1 tablespoon of oil - typically coconut - in your mouth for about 20 minutes, then spitting it out.
I know what you’re thinking - It sounds kinda gimmicky. I thought it too.
But unlike other home remedies, oil pulling isn’t a practice that’s based on pseudo-science. There are real results.
Which is good because let’s not pretend swishing coconut oil for 20 minutes sounds easy. This better be worth it.
How? Most of the bacteria (microorganisms) in our mouths consist of a single cell, covered with a lipid, or fatty membrane. When these cells come into contact with oil, a fat, they naturally adhere to each other.
So as you’re swishing, that oil is pulling out bacteria and once you spit it all out - you’re left with whiter teeth, fresher breath, and a healthier mouth!
How to do it
The goal is to swish a tablespoon of coconut oil for 20 minutes at a time, but this sounds like an endurance exercise to me so let’s start with baby steps - say, 5 minutes and add a couple of minutes every day.
*Also note, if you can’t stand coconut oil, sesame or sunflower oils are also commonly used and work just as well.
Since an empty stomach is recommended, it’s best to do your swishing first thing in the morning.
Swish gently, there’s no need to use a lot of force. If the process is causing pain in your facial muscles, maybe spit it out and try a smaller amount. Then just settle in and relax a bit - you’ll be here for a while ?
The amount of liquid in your mouth will continue to build as you swish, so by the time you’re done you’ll spit out twice the amount you started with.
Once you’re finished, brush and floss your teeth like you normally would and wallah! You’ve successfully rid yourself of a ton of bacteria!
What can you expect?
The research makes it clear that you can expect better breath and lower instances of gingivitis, but will anything else magical happen?
According to people who have done it? Yes.
According to science? No. At least not yet.
However, regular practitioners swear that it’s a hangover cure, an energy booster and a general provider of bodily well being - all because it removes bacteria from the mouth!
Sound far fetched? It may be more likely than you think...
Bacteria and your health
Our oral health and overall health are unbelievably connected.
Dr. Vladimir Bashinsky from The Holistic Dental Center of New Jersey says that,
“Gum disease plays a role in many systemic diseases such as increased risk of heart attack and stroke, Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Pancreatic Cancer, and pre-term birth and low birth weight babies.”
Because of this, he believes a higher standard needs to be set for teeth cleanings and maintaining a bacteria-free mouth.
He uses oils as part of his patients’ teeth cleaning process, as well as other body-healthy products like pure, unfluoridated water and metal-free instruments - all to provide care that’s good for the body as well as the teeth and gums.
So if you really want to see the whole-body benefits of cleaning out oral bacteria, the very best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with one of our holistic dentists to get a full cleaning.
But until then, try swishing some coconut oil…
You could be dealing with a tooth whitener and a hangover cure! ???