It’s fair to say that the term coconut oil pulling, isn’t exactly the most appealing terminology that could be used to describe the activity. But, despite the name, coconut oil pulling is actually one of the most beneficial things you can do to improve the health of your teeth and gums.
Oil pulling history is shrouded in mystery although thought to based out of India. The modern-day routine of brushing your teeth really only came into existence during the 1800s as the western world began relying on more processed, refined foods and suddenly began to experience major dental deterioration. This was all at the same time as we began to move away from traditional methods of maintaining oral health. Other cultures around the world continue to rely on these traditional methods such as chewing on plants and sticks that have mild medicinal properties. It used to be the case that most people lived into old age with a full set of relatively healthy chompers, which sounds pretty wild when you consider they didn’t have any of the modern-day advancements in dental hygiene. Archeologists have even discovered remnants of tooth care methods within a 3000-year-old Egyptian tomb!
We may not know when oil pulling with coconut oil began, but we do understand its benefits which cover all aspects of complete oral hygiene. Most dentists will still encourage daily brushing and flossing, but coconut oil pulling is a great addition to your daily dental care regime. It’s simple, cheap, and extremely easy to do.
Simply take one tablespoon of coconut oil (melted or unmelted as it will quickly liquify through the heat of your body), and gently swish it around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Spit out, and rinse with warm water to remove any excess film. Easy to accomplish while also multitasking on making breakfast, getting ready for work, or answering your emails.
Perhaps you don’t find the idea of holding oil in your mouth very appealing. If you prefer a good old-fashioned tooth brushing, you can use coconut oil as a base for an all-natural toothpaste recipe. Simply combine baking soda, coconut oil, a delicious essential oil (clove is a great addition), and a little sweetener like stevia. Use it as you would a traditional toothpaste!
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty though, what are the oil pulling benefits from sloshing around coconut oil in your mouth? It seems almost counter-intuitive to what a good toothbrush does, but its benefits are far-reaching!
1. Kills Bacteria
Coconut oil has known anti-bacterial fighting powers and has been proven in human trials to target Streptococcus mutans, which is the bacteria most responsible for tooth decay.
2. Fights Bad Breath
Bad breath happens to the best of us, even if we brush twice a day and rinse with mouthwash. Researchers in India have found that coconut oil is just as effective as mouthwash for preventing bad breath and killing the microorganisms that allow it to fester. Its also a great all-natural alternative to the commercial mouth washes usually found on store shelves.
3. Heals Cracked Lips
Naturally, coconut oil is a great moisturizer for your whole body, but if you are suffering cracked and dry lips, it makes a great natural lip balm. It’s easy to use just by itself or can be combined with other natural ingredients like peppermint oil and beeswax to make a delicious, hydrating lip chap.
4. Prevents Cavities
Perhaps you might wonder why coconut oil pulling requires swishing it around for 10 minutes or more? One reason is because the more time it’s allowed to permeate your mouth, the more time it has to seep into the nooks and crannies of your teeth and gums. These are places where your toothbrush might not reach, and which are extremely susceptible to cavities. Also, because of the antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties we’ve already mentioned, it not only cleans the hard to reach areas but kills the things that live there and that can lead to tooth decay.
5. Reduces Inflammation
If you currently suffer from sore and inflamed gums due to gingivitis, it’s easy to reap oil pulling benefits in order to reduce the inflammation and get your oral hygiene back on track. Coconut oil, is after all, an effective anti-inflammatory.
6. Whitens Teeth
With its strong antiviral and antibacterial properties, coconut oil targets the plaque and daily build up on your teeth that directly lead to yellowing and strains. Its able to whiten teeth without the fluoride and other harsh chemicals that are found in commercial toothpastes and teeth whitening strips. After a few weeks of use, you’ll start to see a noticeably brighter and whiter smile.
7. Absorbs for Whole Body Health
Unlike tooth paste which you are not supposed to swallow on a regular basis, coconut oil is a completely healthy and beneficial substance to ingest. Although we wouldn’t recommend swallowing your entire pulling session, a little bit that is swallowed with your saliva and absorbed through your mouth can boost your whole-body health in a number of ways. For one, coconut oil is known to boost your immunity, and increase your energy levels. It has also been found to improve digestion, and is a great way to help balance your hormone levels.