Have you ever heard of oil pulling? It has been getting a lot of press lately, so I thought I'd touch on it here and share how I have incorporated it into my daily/weekly life. Ayurvedic oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice, in which you 'swish' oil in your mouth for twenty minutes to promote oral hygiene and detox. There are many supposed benefits of oil pulling, but the ones I have been most intrigued by include: whiter teeth, improved breath, anti-plaque, cavity and gingivitis prevention and relief of skin issues. The hygiene of our mouth is incredibly important to the overall health of our bodies. While oil pulling is popularized in India as a prevenative cure-all for a variety of ailments like heart disease and joint pain, these claims don't have a lot of scientific backing. However, there is a large body of anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of this practice. Furthermore, according to research, oil pulling has been shown to be successful at pulling other oils and fat-soluable toxins like pesticides and toxins from the tissues of our bodies.
Personal experience: After trying out oil pulling for myself, and getting over the initial shock of putting oil in your mouth and swishing it around for 20 minutes, I have actually come to enjoy it. My mouth truly does feel cleaner after I do it. Additionally, while my teeth are fairly white naturally, I do think it helps polish them up. Because I take thyroid medication in the morning, I can't eat or drink for at least one hour after ingesting; this provides the perfect time to do this practice because you need to oil pull on an empty stomach. On a regular day, I wake up and take my medication with a tall glass of water. After that, I will wander downstairs and put a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth, let it melt, then will swish it around for twenty or so minutes. This has become part of my morning routine (most days.) In Ayurvedic medicine, it is recommended to use sesame seed oil. However, I am allergic to sesame seeds so I use coconut oil instead. Many oil pulling enthusiasts also use coconut oil and praise it for the same benefits as sesame seed oil.
Method: If you'd like to give it a try, then plan to do it in the morning upon waking. On an empty stomach, eyeball 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and place it in your mouth. It will take a few minutes to melt. Once it has melted, swoosh the oil in your mouth, in a similar manner to the way you would swish mouthwash. You can do this while you are doing your morning routine like feeding your animals, making breakfast for your family or showering. After twenty minutes, spit out the coconut oil. It will be a white color rather than its normal clear color. Your teeth will most likely feel very polished. Feel free to give them a brush after oil pulling, though. If you try it, I'd love to know how it worked for you!