iStock_coconutoilThe wonders of coconut oil are many. It’s a frizz-reducer, coffee creamer, tanning oil, and roughly 98 more things according to Pinterest. It’s also being used and showcased for a new trend—oil pulling.

Oil pulling is an age-old practice that involves swishing a vegetable-based oil (sesame and olive oil can be used as well) around in your mouth for natural teeth whitening and improvement of overall oral health. Oil pulling is based on the premise that, as you move it around in your mouth, the oil pulls toxins. Several research articles like “Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis” have been written in support of its benefits. Oil pulling has been attributed to helping with allergies, bad breath, migraines, digestive health, and more.

One especially good thing about oil pulling as opposed to other, less-natural detox or whitening processes is that it can be tried without any potentially harmful side-effects (just try using whitening strips on sensitive teeth…OUCH!) If you’re interested in seeing what oil pulling can do for you here’s five easy steps to get you started:

  1. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of coconut oil. It’s best to oil pull first thing in the morning before you’ve brushed your teeth or had anything to eat or drink. The idea is that you’re getting the most bacteria and yuck. Place the oil in your mouth and either chew it into a liquid or let it melt in your mouth for a bit until it’s a consistency you can move around.
  2. Swish the oil around your mouth for twenty minutes. Yep, twenty minutes. This is supposedly the best amount of time for the oil to have the greatest affect. Make sure you’re not letting the oil hit the back of your throat—the goal is to keep it on your teeth and gums and not send any of the toxins it is pulling into your digestive tract.
  3. Spit it in the trash can. Do not, DO NOT, spit it into the sink or toilet. The oil can solidify and clog your pipes or septic system.
  4. Rinse with warm water. Cold water feels a bit harsh and warm water really seems to get the last bits of the oil out. Do a rinse or two before the next step.
  5. Brush. You’ll probably notice your teeth feel smoother before you even brush, but this will get any leftover plaque off and polish your teeth up.

You should be enjoying a happier, shinier mouth soon! — Amanda Oliver.

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