In the last couple of years, coconut oil has become widely popular. Whether you're using the all-natural ingredient as a leave-in treatment to repair split ends or simply substituting it for your old cooking oil, one thing is for sure, there are countless ways to use it -- including oil pulling. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, oil pulling is a process in which one uses oils to improve oral health.
And though oil pulling has recently entered mainstream media, it is used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine.
So why would anyone want to put a spoonful of oil in their mouths, you ask? Well, oil pulling has amazing benefits such as reducing plaque, keeping gums healthy and clean, improve acne and my personal favorite, whitening teeth.
Of course, I wanted to do my own research to see if there was any scientific proof to back up these benefits. In a study published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research in 2009, researchers found that subjects who swished sesame oil in their mouth had modified gingival scores, reduced plaque and lower microorganisms in the plaque of teens with plaque-induced gingivitis. Another research conducted by the Nigerian Medical Journal further supported these findings by reporting the same results in just seven days from starting oil pulling.
Obviously, I was sold! So I embarked on a two-week journey of swishing coconut oil in my mouth for twenty minutes to put the benefits to the test. Though traditional oil pulling is done with sesame oil, coconut or sunflower oil can also be used. While researching I found it was recommended that oil pulling was best done in the morning, before eating or drinking anything. So I decided that the best time to do it was while I was showering in the morning.
My new routine consisted of getting out of bed, putting coconut oil in my mouth, and hitting the shower. After 20 minutes of swishing the oil, I would just spit it out in the bathroom trash bin. Why not in the tub or shower you may ask? Well, according to the internet, spitting coconut oil in the sink could damage and clog the pipes as the oil begins to thicken. God knows I don't need to call the plumber for some piping damage.
The first three days went pretty well, despite not seeing any significant change. By day four and five, I started noticing a difference in the way my mouth and teeth felt. Though I've always brushed my teeth at least twice a day, my teeth started feeling a lot cleaner in the first week of oil pulling.
By the second week of oil pulling, I began to notice my teeth shade getting whiter. Obviously, results weren't as significant as getting professional whitening at the dentist, but I was definitely pleased to see that an $8 jar of coconut oil was gradually whitening my teeth instead of spending hundreds on a treatment. In terms of my skin, I can't say swishing coconut oil has improved the texture of my skin because I currently have my period and broke out.
As I enter the third week of oil pulling I am excited to continue to see my mouth being cleaned thoroughly and see if there is any skin clarity in the upcoming days.
Would I recommend oil pulling? Yes! I think it's a super effective and natural way of improving one's oral health. Just remember if you want to start seeing results fast, be consistent and don't forget to spit out in the trash!