Oil Pulling Review
I first read about oil pulling a couple years ago. It was on this 'live from the earth' type blog, so I shrugged it off as something people who make their own toothpaste kind of thing. I have no beef with Crest and didn't give it a second thought until this viral blog post from fashionlush in February.
Just by checking out her blog, I figured this oil pulling idea was a little more mainstream than I originally thought. At the time, I had a lingering cold that I couldn't shake and her post said it relieved sinus issues and removed bacteria and toxins from your body. Well, seemed like coconut oil was performing miracles, not harm in trying it.
So I have been swishing about a tablespoon of coconut oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes every morning since then (well, until a week ago when I ran out and decided to give it a break). It is a little weird. Coconut oil is a solid until it warms up in your mouth. I was expecting to hate it because the only coconut I like is in pina coladas, but it really doesn't taste like coconut. And the whole 20 minutes thing seems like a long time and a big deal, but you just save a minute or two by not brushing your teeth and you're free to move about your morning routine... swish in the shower, pull while getting dressed, push in the kitchen making coffee... you're done before you know it!
So here are the miracles that oil pulling promises and whether I noticed a difference after two months (and a dentist appointment)...
* whitens teeth - maybe half a shade?
* clears sinuses - nope, not really
* healthier gums and teeth - I could get behind healthier gums, it definitely doesn't reverse cavities :(
* draws out bacteria/toxins from your body - it definitely removes bacteria from your mouth
* cures bad breath - with less bacteria, yes, but it doesn't quite have the same minty freshness as toothpaste
* cures headaches - not that I'm aware of
* clears skin - inconclusive evidence
* strengthens mouth - for sure, 20 minutes of swishing uses muscles
* moisturizes lips, gums, and skin - yep, totally checks out
Final result? Tried something new, didn't hate it. It definitely has some perks and drawbacks, just like anything would. And I'm not sure if this was related or just coincidental timing... but after having a cold off and on for two month, it went away (and stayed away) after I started pulling. However, I do love the minty fresh feeling from toothpaste, so I started adding a drop of peppermint extract to each tablespoon and that seemed to help.
I would definitely do it again, maybe two jars a year? It gives my gums and enamel a break from my strong-handed brushing and is kind of meditative in the mornings. But I also can't give up my toothpaste cold turkey. So in a few months, I'll buy another jar and see what happens!
If you want to try it out for yourself, get a jar of organic, unrefined coconut oil from pretty much any grocery store. It will set you back about $8-10. Start off with about a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth (you can upgrade to a tablespoon when you feel good). Let it warm up on your tongue or begin swishing right away. Keep on swishing. Push and pull the oil through your teeth to get the effect of flossing. Keep swishing. After about 20 minutes, spit out the oil into a trashcan (it will turn back to a solid in you drain if you spit it in the sink). Rinse some water around in your mouth and then go about your day. Remember to do this first thing in the morning to get the most out of it! Yum