The other day, my sister-in-law shot me a link about oil pulling. This is an ancient practice wherein you swish organic coconut, sesame or sunflower oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes upon waking up in the morning. The oil “pulls” toxins from your mouth, most especially from your teeth. You can use anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon. Some people do it several times a day, every day. They switch up the oils and everything.
Gag me. Literally.
I had read about it before and I felt myself getting a little shall we say…choked up about it. It didn’t sound like fun. In fact, it sounded gross. But then I read about the health benefits which ranged from curing asthma and athlete’s foot to healing cavities and psoriasis. Most of these results present as the anecdotal variety. But…I thought, why not? I like the idea of less time under the dental hygienist’s scraper. I’d also seen a bit about it helping teeth sensitivity. My teeth get offended easily.
It’s been awhile since my last human guinea pig-type experiment. I’m giving this a week. I’m hoping for clearer skin, an inch of height and 5 lbs of weight loss. Why not?
Morning one: I had to melt the coconut oil. It melts at very low temps, and I could have let it melt in my mouth. But why tempt fate? I microwaved it for 15 seconds overall (note: microwaving can be controversial). I only did a teaspoon. It didn’t seem like much at first, but it grew in volume as it mingled with my saliva. Yay!
I set the timer on the microwave and swished away. Literally. I planned to sit and read my Bible while pushing the oil around. I found I couldn’t do that. I needed to get up and do something to distract me from the nasty consistency in my mouth. I put dishes away and cleared countertops. I lasted a total of 7 minutes.
As I rinsed my teeth with warm water, they did feel cleaner and looked a little brighter. Hmm. However, I rinsed with warm water but did not brush my teeth right away. I should have, as the entire day I felt a little queasy and like I packed extra saliva. Gnarly.
Morning two: I managed 10 minutes of swishing. I’m still only using a teaspoon. I tidied up while I did it. Not as bad today, but still strange.
Morning three: Got up to 15 minutes. I spit out the milky (ick!) oil into a baggie. Is this environmentally conscious? Probably not. My teeth, however, feel glorious and squeaky-clean. The swishing seems to work better if I make sure to floss the night before. Sensitivity in a couple spots disappeared.
Morning four: I did the full 20 minutes today. My teeth felt amazing. However, I think a swallowed a wee bit because I got queasy. Oh well. I’m still only using a teaspoon. Note to self: no swallowing.
Morning five: I let the oil melt in my mouth. Never again. Seriously. Otherwise, it went well.
Morning seven: I managed a half tablespoon, for 20 minutes. It was easy. I felt some hidden food particles shake loose from the oil. I don’t know if I could truly swish a tablespoon. I have a smallish mouth. Hey, no laughing! But, I can sit and read now. I find it kinda like a mini vow of silence. I incorporated it into my pre-breakfast routine. It helps me remember my teeth are living organisms and need care, too. I want to keep them around.
What did I glean from this? My teeth are whiter – at least a little. The swishing loosens plaque, an effort greatly enhanced if you floss the night before. My teeth don’t have as many “hot spots”. Am I taller? No. Leaner? No. My skin stayed about the same.
I want to keep doing this until I go in for my next dental visit, which is in a few weeks. I’ll have more definitive input then. I say give it a try, and let me know what you think. What have you got to lose?