The phrase "oil pulling" has exploded all over the internet in the past few days as the hot, new beauty craze. It's not a new concept, though; in fact, it's ancient. It comes from a traditional, alternative system of medicine called, Ayurveda. As a beauty blogger, I'm not afraid of many homeopathic, holistic treatments. In fact, if it's natural and I can get the ingredients from my local supermarket, I'm more inclined to try it than some $60 face treatment that contains chemicals I can't even pronounce.
But what exactly is oil pulling? Though it does sound like a painful, medieval operation, the technique involves swishing a small amount of raw, also known as cold-pressed, oil around your mouth. The name comes from the oil's ability to "pull" bacteria and their toxins from your saliva and from around your teeth and gums. Not only is it said to cleanse and freshen the mouth, but it's been known to also detox the body.
The most common type of oil used is coconut oil, which can be found unrefined at places like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Coconut oil is a great oil because it has the good fatty acids that our body needs, Vitamin E, which has moisturizing properties that give us soft hair and skin, and has antioxidant and anti-aging properties among a long list of other great qualities. You can also use sesame or sunflower oil depending on your taste preferences.
Though the practice lacks in-depth scientific research, beauty and health fanatics have raved about the different benefits of oil pulling. Most commonly, people who pull oil report that it has improved mouth and gum health by eliminating bad breath and gingivitis. Users have also noticed that oil pulling has whitened their teeth, improved skin health, and cleared up acne.
If you're interested in trying oil pulling, here are some steps to help you start out:
Use anywhere from a teaspoon or a tablespoon of unrefined, raw oil. You can scoop it out as a solid and let it melt in your mouth or gently warm the oil into a liquid form. Swish in your mouth once a day for 15 to 20 minutes. If that sounds too long for you, just remember that you have to give the oil enough time to properly break down the bacteria in your mouth. Speaking of, the best time to oil pull is in the morning when your mouth is said to have the most bacteria.
Spit out the oil. It is important not to swallow the oil, as you're looking to get the toxins out of your body. It's best to spit the oil into a plastic bag and throw it away because it may cause your drain to clog.
Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth. Clean your mouth as normal with warm water to remove any oil or bacteria or oil that might have remained behind. You can repeat the process once a day.
Have you tried oil pulling and experienced any of the benefits listed or not mentioned? Leave a comment below on your opinion or experience with the practice!