Pulling Coconut Oil For A Healthy Mouth And Teeth
When I first heard about pulling coconut oil several years ago, I have to admit that I thought it sounded a little crazy. But once I heard that my sister had gotten on board with oil pulling too, I figured I should at least do some research on the topic before making further judgments about it.
I was surprised to learn not only that there are several dental health benefits associated with pulling coconut oil, but that it’s easy to do and even fairly inexpensive. In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about oil pulling to decide whether you’d like to incorporate it into your own oral hygiene routine.
A Complete Guide To Oil Pulling
What Is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil in your mouth for a short time each day to benefit your oral health. (It’s similar to using mouthwash, except it’s best to do it before brushing your teeth.) The logic behind oil pulling is much the same as oil cleansing for your face — like dissolves like, so swishing oil around your teeth should help to break down oily plaque without harming your teeth or gums.
Oil pulling may also help to whiten teeth like baking soda and promote healthy gums. It might sound like a strange thing to do, but oil pulling has been an aspect of Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine of India, for thousands of years.
Does It Work? Benefits Of Oil Pulling
While research on oil pulling is fairly limited, one study found the practice contributed to a reduction of plaque and fewer microorganisms in the plaque. Another study showed that oil pulling can improve halitosis, which is a definite plus!
How To Do Oil Pulling
- Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil (or a flavored oil pulling tablet) in your mouth. If it’s cold, allow the oil to melt.
- Swish the oil around your mouth, including pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth, for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Spit the oil out, ideally into a garbage can to avoid any problems with clogged drains. (And always spit the oil out — never swallow it!)
- Rinse your mouth out with water, then brush your teeth as usual.
The best time of day to do oil pulling is in the morning before breakfast, but you can do it anytime.
What Oil Is Best For Oil Pulling?
Some advocates of oil pulling suggest using safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil, but I rarely use anything other than coconut oil. Its antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties make organic, extra virgin coconut oil a perfect fit for oil pulling (and it tastes nice, too!)
Most of the time, I use 2 teaspoons of organic, extra virgin coconut oil with a drop or two of Defend essential oil blend added to it.
Essential Oils For Oil Pulling
Incorporating essential oils into your oil pulling can have additional benefits for your teeth, gums, and mouth. Defend Essential Oil Blend contains a number of oils that make it a great addition to the practice of pulling coconut oil:
- Cinnamon, which has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties
- Lemon, which may be useful in preventing tooth decay
- Clove bud, which contains eugenol, an ingredient shown to have pain-relieving and wound healing properties
- Eucalyptus, which has ant-inflammatory and antibacterial properties
- Peppermint, which has an antiseptic effect against oral pathogens
I add a drop or two of Defend to coconut oil when I do oil pulling. If you want to try it for yourself, just click here to shop.
My Experience With Pulling Coconut Oil
My daughter Britta started pulling coconut oil several years ago, and her experience with it inspired me to give it a try for myself! She was particularly enthusiastic about how clean her teeth and mouth felt after oil pulling, and she also had back-to-back dental check-ups with no new cavities.
I will admit that I was a bit unnerved the first time I put a spoonful of solid coconut oil in my mouth. But it only took a few seconds for the oil to melt, and then it was more or less like swishing mouthwash, but for longer. (My face and cheeks actually felt a bit sore afterward, but it got easier after a while!)
One more thing: I saw a lot of wild claims about oil pulling online while doing research for this post, many of which suggested it can “pull” toxins out of your bloodstream and cure everything from arthritis to heart disease. I suggest taking such claims with a massive grain of salt, and consider oil pulling as just one more helpful tool you can add to your oral and dental health toolbox.
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Have you tried oil pulling?