Oil pulling, one of the latest trends in all-natural health, is actually not all that new. This practice, with its origins in India, has been used for thousands of years to help prevent decay and bad breath by cleansing the mouth of germs. It has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine to help maintain balance of the doshas.
Traditionally done with Sesame Seed Oil, more recently it has been adapted to incorporate Coconut Oil. The process entails swishing 1-2 Tbsp. of Coconut Oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes before spitting it out into the trash and brushing teeth (spitting it in the sink can cause your pipes to clog). It’s important to not swallow any of the oil.
There’s much debate over the merits and possible safety of oil pulling, with some sources touting its benefits, while others debunk it. Since this practice is fairly new to Western medicine, little research has been done at this point, although there is much currently in the works. That being said, some doctors have found that it can help minimize the appearance of minor staining, reduce plaque and build-up, and attack bacteria that cause bad breath.
With these possible benefits in mind, it’s important to keep in mind that if you choose to try oil pulling, it’s not a replacement for brushing teeth and flossing, as they are the best way to fight bacteria and plaque.