Today, I’m talking health…and teeth!
I am slightly obsessed with my teeth. I blame my Mom. She always stressed how important it was to take care of them + has essentially brain washed our family when it comes to all things dental. I’m totally okay with it though, there’s nothing like a healthy pair of pearly whites. Not to mention it took nearly one third of my life to get my teeth into the shape they are today [8+ years of orthodontia anyone?!]
Like most people, I try to keep my teeth as healthy + as white as possible. In college, I was a devout Crest Whitestrips user until my dentist told me to knock it off since my enamel was on it’s way out. SCARY. I stopped immediately and have never gone back. Since then, I’ve used whitening toothpastes, as well as some other natural options. Baking soda has been a recent favorite, but there’s one interesting technique that not only whitens your smile, but can improve your overall health!
What the heck is that you ask? Well, in a nutshell…on an empty stomach, you place a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth, swish it around, push/pull it through your teeth + then spit it out. It claims to help strengthen + whiten teeth, prevent cavities + gingivitis, help with bad breath, strengthen gums, reduce jaw pain, help with sleep or sinus issues, and reduce headaches + skin problems. Um, sold.
I have tried pulling a few times in the past, but recently had a conversation with my brothers wonderfully brilliant girlfriend Kathryn, who’s studying to become a dentist [she just interviewed at NYU for their DDS program!] + asked her to spill all the deets with me! 🙂
Here’s what you need to know:
What is Oil Pulling? What does it do? So it’s called oil pulling because it’s supposed to pull the toxins from your blood stream. The MCT which is the medium chain triglycerides (chemistry nerd term) is the antibacterial/anti fungal part of the coconut oil which helps kill the bacteria in your mouth. Coconut oil is also good for absorption which makes it a good oil to pull with.
How long do I need to “pull” for? You do it for 15-20 minutes. As the blood circulates the body, you get a lot of the toxins through the mouth.
How often do you pull + do you have any tips for lasting 20 minutes? I try to do it 5 times a week while I’m showering in the morning!
How long before you noticed a difference? I definitely noticed whiter teeth without any sensitivity you get with whiteners. Also, I haven’t been breaking out on my chin nearly as much.
THANK YOU for sharing, Kathryn! I enjoyed picking your brain on this one! 🙂
Oil pulling is definitely a little bit tricky for me, but I have a couple of personal tips that help!
- I melt the oil first! The texture of the solid oil bugs me out! It’s similar to that of vaseline. You can’t really begin pulling until it melts anyways, so I just bypass that whole melt-in-your-mouth part by popping into the microwave for a few seconds.
- Be prepared to fill your time! I love Kathryn’s suggestion of pulling in the shower…I’m going to have to try that! But usually, I’ll dedicate the block of time to answering e-mails, catching up on some blogs, or editing pictures/posts!
- Don’t use too much! Only take what you can handle. Your mouth will gradually fill with additional saliva + you don’t want to find yourself trying to work with too much liquid.
One last note…be sure to spit the oil into the trash or outside afterwards. This is important, because it will clog your sink.
And there you have it, oil pulling 101. Are you down to try it!?
What are your thoughts on oil pulling? Have you ever done it before?
Omg I jumped on the oil pulling train a while back with sunflower oil! I’ve been wanting to try with coconut oil but I keep forgetting! Need to give it a try soon.
Ahh no way! How do you like using sunflower oil??
It was not bad! It was definitely hard for me to keep it in for 15 minutes though..whoops! I think coconut might be better though because it actually has a taste.
Hahah! Give it a try!! It’s definitely a little bit of a challenge, but I think it gets easier 🙂
This sounds really cool, but 20 mins seems like such a long time! I’d have to mentally prepare myself first haha
I’ll admit, lasting 2o minutes is definitely the hardest part for me. If you have plenty of things lined up to keep you occupied, it really does help! 🙂
I have been wanting to try this for so long and your tutorial is the first I’ve found that actually helps me understand, so thank you! Since you do this on an empty stomach, do you typically pull in the morning?
Aw, I’m really so glad to hear that! It can definitely be a confusing/strange thing to understand, but Kathryn helped to break it down easily for me! And yes! If I do pull, I’ll do it in the morning before I brush my teeth. 🙂
For sure – her answers were helpful! I’ll have to add it to my morning routine. Thanks again!
Of course! Let me know how it goes for ya! 🙂
I use coconut oil in almost all of my cooking. When I was in my Paleo phase I did give oil pulling a try. The initial part didn’t bother me, but around the 5 minute mark it was so gross that it made me want to gag, and I wasn’t about to swallow it. (Seriously though, who can waste good coconut oil?!) Now putting it in my coffee, I’m totally down with that! 🙂
Hahaha I know! It really is hard to last that long!! Ok, coconut oil in coffee? Trying that! And I haven’t done much cooking with it, but I loooove making sweet potato chips with coconut oil + cinnamon! 🙂
It is good stuff. 😉 Yep, 1 T of hard coconut oil in your coffee and it melts and makes it so creamy. 🙂
I’ve never tried it, but I hear so much about it. My teeth are really sensitive so most whitening things like the Crest White Strips are too much for me. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try it though!
You should try!! Crest White strips whitened, but ruined my teeth. They stripped so much enamel off…although I’m pretty sure I was over-using them lol. This is a kind of strange method, but I’ve heard so many amazing things from devout pullers! I’m also a huge fan of brushing my teeth with baking soda [before toothpaste] – it’s definitely gentle and has helped to remove stains/whiten for me too 🙂
I have done the baking soda before but it’s been a while. I had my teeth professionally whitened at the dentist office. Not only was it expensive, but it was so painful. It made my teeth so sensitive and they hurt so bad. NEVER AGAIN. Getting my wisdom teeth out was less painful than that. I will stick to home remedies from now on!
Oh my gosh!!! I’ve always wanted to get them professionally whitened, but you’re not the first person to tell me they had a less than stellar experience. I definitely want to get better about more natural, regular treatments – if done consistently, I think they really do work just as well! 🙂
I’ve definitely tried this because of all the kick ass benefits but I cannot get over the texture. I can hold it in my mouth for maybe 30 seconds before I need to spit it out. I wish I could keep it up!
Hahahahaha! I totally understand! The first couple times I tried it, I could notttt stomach that texture. It got easier though! I used less at a time + tried not to let it get too close to the back of my throat. TMI, I know, but it’d definitely trigger a gag reflex. I’m on a mission to try + do it more regularly, the benefits really are so incredible!
You’ve inspired me to try again!
Yay!! Good luck, let me know if you end up giving it another try! 🙂
I’m so glad you posted this! I have been seeing this trend everywhereee recently and didn’t know what it was all about. I love my Plus White 5 minute whitening system, but I think I’m gonna have to try this since it’s natural and has all of those extra benefits. Does it leave an oily residue in your mouth afterwards? And if so, do you have any recommendations to get rid of it?
Aw yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed!! Definitely give it a try! Afterwards, just rinse your mouth out really well with water — salt water works great too! I’m excited to see your coconut oil post tomorrow!! 😉
Definitely going to try this! Sounds healthy and helpful in so many ways. Thanks for sharing!
You’re very welcome!! Let me know if you give it a try!! 🙂 XOXO
Thank you for sharing! I love oil pulling as well.
Aw yay!! I’m trying to learn to love it, I love the idea of it + the benefits, but I don’t necessarily enjoyyyy doing it haha.
Oh man! I just bought teeth whitening gel yesterday. If this post was just a day earlier. However, I don’t know if I could hold coconut oil in my mouth for a whole 15 – 20 minutes, I’d probably gag. It’s worth a try though. Thanks for the tip hon. Xoxo
LOL!! Go figure!! It’s a good back up trick! 😉
Why have I not heard of this yet?!?!?… Lol – I am a Crest Whitestrips whore so I might have to “close my mouth” and rid of them and move on to bigger and better things!!! Totally trying this… thanks for sharing girl 🙂
It’s one of those things I was shocked I had never heard of either, but once I did, felt like I saw it everywhere! It does take some getting used to + patience [currently “pulling” as I’m answering comments…and staring at the clock…7 minutes in LOL] But it’s worth a try!! 🙂 Let me know if you go for it!!
I tried Oil Pulling before and noticed a difference- need to start it again. As a dental hygienist, PLEASE do not replace it for your brushing and flossing :-p
Oh gosh no!!! Definitely is not a replacement for your regular dental routine…just an addition! 😉 hahah
I’ve heard of this before, but I’ve never been brave enough to try it! I actually just bought some coconut oil, so maybe I should just nut up and try it!! Lol.
Yay!! Go for it girl! It’s definitely different…takes a little getting used to, but every time I do it, my entire mouth/body just feels better! I’m *trying* to get better about doing it more regularly. But let me know if you give it a shot!! XO 🙂
Oh I will!! How much do you use? Like a tablespoon?
I’d say a melted tablespoon is about right! But if it feels like too much, you work with less! I find it’s easier if your mouth isn’t very full lol.
Hey! What other stories have you heard about oil pulling?
Among the (very) few things in my cupboard right now are a sweet potato, cinnamon and coconut oil. Perfect. Thanks for that.
Before reading this I thought it was just the gunk under the gums you pull out. I’m sure it gives me more energy so if you say the whole blood, I hear you.
I change the oil every five minutes. Sometimes I just do it for five minutes a few times spread through the day. Still seems to work.
Have a fun day!
It’s a really great habit to adapt! I’m trying to get better about doing it regularly. 20 minutes is certainly a long time, but I think doing it for 5 minutes is better than none! 🙂 Thanks for reading, love! XO
I use coconut oil for my hair and skin, have never heard of trying it on my teeth! Great idea, i will try it! 🙂 Thanks for sharing it with us 😉
You’re welcome!! Let me know if you give it a try! 🙂 XOXO