Yes, this is a ridiculously large tub of coconut oil. But I use a ton of this stuff…I’ve already told you how I blend it into my early morning coffee (read more here) and wash my face with it. I also love to slather it all over my body when I get out of a hot shower…it’s a great moisturizer. I think if I were stranded on a desert island I would be fine if I just had a giant tub of coconut oil and my Urban Decay mascara. Oh, and the new Jason Derulo CD. But there’s an unusual use for coconut oil that I’ve slacked off on lately,
and that’s oil pulling.
What is oil pulling, you ask?
Oil pulling is a practice that originated in India thousands of years ago, but didn’t become known in the US until the 1990’s. It involves putting a small amount of a high quality oil (typically coconut or sesame) in your mouth first thing in the morning, swishing it around around for 20 minutes until it becomes a more creamy consistency, and spitting it out. And while I tend to make some naughty comments from time to time, I’m going to skip it in this case.
The idea is that our mouths are full of bacteria when we first wake up. Swishing the oil around is supposed to pull toxins from our gums and cut through plaque. The health of our mouths can affect the health of our entire bodies. Many people have noticed health improvements from oil pulling, including reduced sinus pressure, better immunity, and even clearer skin.
Recently my friend Kendra asked me if I had tried oil pulling (since she knew I was already doing a lot of other crazy shit!) And I had to admit, I had fallen off the wagon.
Here’s the story…like many other things that I now do on a regular basis, oil pulling sounded insane when I first heard about it. Who wants to swish a big glob of oil around in their mouth? And where do you possibly find an extra 20 minutes to do this? But I finally convinced myself to give it a try a few years ago. The 20 minutes went by very quickly since I was doing other things at the same time. And eventually I was hooked. I can’t say that I noticed any major health improvements like some people have. Fortunately, I’m pretty healthy to begin with.
Here’s what I did notice…after a few days, my teeth felt amazing all the time. It was the same feeling you have when you leave the dentist’s office. And over time, probably a few weeks to a month, they became whiter. Without doing anything else.
I oil pulled for over a year, and my teeth looked and felt great. So why would I stop? My morning routine changed, and somehow I got out of the habit of oil pulling. I kept saying I’d get back to it, but you know how that goes.
So when Kendra asked me, I told her it was a great idea for a blog post. (Thanks Kendra!) And I got back on the wagon. I don’t always do it for a full 20 minutes. And it’s maybe 4 or 5 days a week, not 7. My teeth are feeling smoother and cleaner already. I’ll keep you posted if I notice anything else.
A few tips if you want to try it: Start off with a small amount, maybe half a teaspoon. Try it for five minutes the first day, and work your way up. Spit the oil out in the trash, not down the drain. Coconut oil becomes a solid at temperatures below 76 degrees, so it could clog your drains. Whatever you do, don’t swallow it by accident! The coconut oil is now full of the toxins you are trying to eliminate. When you are done, rinse your mouth with warm water, to remove any lingering coconut oil, and then brush your teeth the way you normally would. My preferred brand of coconut oil is Nutiva. It’s available in some grocery stores and I have it in my Amazon store.
So can oil pulling help you feel happy, healthy and hot? Sure it can! You’ll be happy knowing you are doing something good for yourself, and you’ll be healthy because you are removing toxins from your body. And a gorgeous, white smile…well, that’s pretty hot!
Have you tried oil pulling? Anything else you’ve tried that seemed a little crazy but worked? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!