Bad breath, yellow teeth, and cavities … just the thought is pretty revolting. Americans spend millions every year on toothpastes, rinses, whitening strips … and more! … to improve oral health. While dentists stress that brushing and flossing are key to a healthy mouth, another great answer to dental woes is the age-old practice of oil pulling. And make sure it’s coconut!
What’s oil pulling? It’s an odd term, but all it actually is, is the act of rinsing the mouth with oil in order to strengthen teeth and improve oral health. While traditional oil pulling involved the use of sesame oil, modern health experts recommend the use of coconut oil due to its lauric acid, a proven antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial compound. Rinse your mouth (don’t forget to spit!) with one tablespoon of coconut oil for 15-20 minutes a day to reveal stronger, whiter teeth.
To improve your oral health, check out these benefits of oil pulling.
Reduce tooth decay. Your mouth may feel clean, but it is full of thousands of bacteria. Gross, right? While some of these bacteria are beneficial, others are a gateway to some pretty nasty stuff. Plaque buildup, tooth decay, and another big germ … streptococcus. A tablespoon of coconut oil significantly reduces the amount of streptococcus mutans on teeth. See ya, strep!
Gingivitis: treat and prevent. Gingivitis is a common gum disease caused by an accumulation of plague hiding in the teeny gaps between teeth and gums. Over time, gingivitis can lead to an even more serious condition, periodontis. Prescription mouthwashes are typically prescribed for treatment, but research has shown that coconut oil is just as effective. Coconut oil also reduces gingivitis up to 60 percent, while brushing and flossing alone is only 13 percent effective.
Freshen breath. No one wants to be caught with bad breath. Gums and mints only temporarily mask bad breath because they don’t treat the underlying issue. Oil pulling is a great and effective treatment for a cleaner, fresher mouth.
Want to try it? Follow these steps:
- Oil pulling should be done on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning.
- Use one tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil. Use ½ tablespoon at first if that is all you can handle.
- Swish oil around in mouth slowly, making sure oil reaches all parts of the mouth. Do NOT swallow.
- Swish for five to ten minutes. Work up to twenty minutes if you can.
- Spit out all oil when done. Rinse mouth with water.
- Brush teeth with a natural toothpaste afterwards.