This week there was an interesting reaction to an article on Oil Pulling in Mamamia. The author had been asked to road test this health technique (which she was reluctant to do) and asked for everyone’s opinions. Reader comments were divisive.
For those who don’t know, pulling is a process where you place about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 5 – 20 minutes. It works by the bacteria sticking to the oil as you swish, and then they are dissolved in the oil. The result is that you remove bacteria from the mouth each time this is done. Coconut oil is meant to be a particularly good oil to use because it has Lauric Acid which has been found to be antimicrobial – (kills bacteria, viruses and fungi). Pulling is reputed to have many health benefits, the key ones focused on improved oral health plus some other slightly ‘wilder’ claims (diabetes, arthritis and asthma).
I found the Mamamia article interesting because I had started experimenting with the process myself a week earlier. Every morning I get up and place a reasonable sized lump of coconut oil in my mouth and swish it around while I shower. After trialling it for two weeks I believe coconut oil has improved my oral health because of its anti-microbial properties. Personally, I think the appearance of my teeth has improved (slight decrease in tartar) and there are less episodes of halitosis (bad breath). As someone who is not very good at going to the dentist on a regular basis this technique suits me. However, I’m not convinced rinsing my mouth with coconut oil will cure arthritis or diabetes and I would need to be convinced with some strong evidence based research.
If you are curious and would like to try oil pulling I’ve provided some tips below.
I have a lot of respect for coconut oil. It has fast made it to the top of my toiletries and hygiene products list. And over the next month I’ll share with you some other things I’m using coconut oil for with great results.
Feeling brave and want to try oil pulling?
Buy yourself organic coconut oil from a health food shop.
The best time to do it is first thing in the morning.
20 minutes of swishing is recommended. (I average 10-15 mins)
DO NOT swallow any of the oil – it has bacteria in it, the last thing you want to do is bring it right into your body
DO NOT spit the oil down the sink or toilet when you are done. Coconut oil solidifies when it cools down so throw it into a rubbish bin.