When it comes to trendy health practices, I’ll basically try anything. I subscribe to the superfood fads of the year, put kale in my smoothies, and eat chia seed gel as a regular part of my day: if it’s proven to provide health benefits, I’m in.
So when a friend suggested oil pulling to me, I was intrigued and ready to give it a try. Oil pulling is using coconut oil to get rid of bacteria on your teeth and gums by using it as a type of mouthwash.
A healthy mouth has been linked to good health in general throughout the body, so it makes sense that this process not only clears out the toxins in your mouth but leads to an overall healthier you. Some of the known benefits of oil pulling include whiter teeth, less risk of infection, healthier skin, and fewer headaches.
Though I haven’t been oil pulling for very long, I have already noticed a drastic change in my oral health and have been feeling more energized in the morning, which are two signs of positive change as a result of this new routine. If you’re interested in adding oil pulling to your daily regimen, follow these five simple steps:
1. Swish 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth.
Oil pulling is usually done in the morning, when you still have an empty stomach or have only had some water to drink. I usually begin my oil pulling by drinking one glass of water. Then, I put a liberal amount of organic coconut oil on a tablespoon and begin swishing.
2. Keep the oil in your mouth for (up to) 20 minutes.
You have to keep the coconut oil in your mouth for an extended period of time in order for the bacteria and plaque to breakdown in your mouth. If twenty minutes seems too long at first, try starting with five minutes and adding time to the routine every day. Just know that full health benefits will not start to present until you reach a full twenty minute daily routine.
3. Remove the oil from your mouth and spit it into the trash.
The oil should look creamy and white when you spit it into the trashcan–indicating that bacteria has bonded with the oil. Make sure you don’t spit it into your sink or garbage disposal because it will clog your pipes.
4. Rinse out your mouth.
Use warm water to rinse your mouth out and get rid of any remaining oil.
5. Don’t forget to brush your teeth afterwards.
Oil pulling is good for oral health but it is not a replacement for regular brushing. Use toothpaste to remove any excess oil and to give yourself a fresh feeling at the end of the routine.