What’s the go with oil pulling?

What’s the go with oil pulling?

Ever heard of oil pulling? No, it’s not a trendy new workout or a bizarre art form. It's actually an ancient Ayurvedic dental practice that's making a modern comeback. If you’re wondering why people are swishing coconut oil around in their mouths like it's the latest mouthwash craze, you’re not alone. I thought I would dive into the slippery world of oil pulling and see what the fuss is all about.

So, What Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (usually coconut, sesame, or sunflower) in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes. Yes, you read that right. Twenty minutes of swishing. It’s like mouthwash on steroids, minus the minty freshness and with a bit more… well, oiliness. I went for coconut oil as I always have a jar of it in the pantry and for me it seemed easier to put on a spoon than the others (at that time in the morning, before coffee, decisions can be made on the most random factors.) 

The Ancient Origins

This practice dates back thousands of years to Ayurvedic medicine, where it was believed to draw out toxins from the body. Think of it as an ancient detox, but for your mouth. Ayurvedic practitioners claimed it could cure everything from bad breath to more serious ailments like migraines and asthma. Sounds magical, right?

Modern Benefits

Fast forward to today, and oil pulling has gained popularity thanks to claims of improved oral health, whiter teeth, and fresher breath. Some enthusiasts even believe it helps with headaches and hangovers. Imagine swishing away your Sunday morning regret. Pure magic... although saying that, if you're already feeling rough a mouthful of oil could definitely send you racing to the bathroom.

The How-To of oil pulling

Here’s how you do it: take a tablespoon of your chosen oil, pop it in your mouth, and start swishing. Try not to gag, especially if you're new to the texture. Keep it going for 15-20 minutes (perfect time to catch up on your Instagram feed), then spit it out in the trash. Do not spit in the sink unless you want to explain to your plumber why your pipes are clogged with coconut oil.

The Verdict

So, what’s the go with oil pulling? While some swear by its benefits, others see it as just another wellness fad. The science is still out on many of the broader health claims, but if you’re looking for a natural way to potentially improve oral hygiene, it might be worth a try. I however am not a fan. I am sticking with my biological dentist for my oral hygiene needs. However, it does give you a great excuse to avoid talking for 20 minutes. Now that’s a benefit we can all get behind.



Photo: Susan Wilkinson

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