As a vegan, I like to fit my stereotype as much as possible. I do yoga, I like crystals, I drink kombucha, and I even buy organic deodorant. I’m slowly turning into a white suburban mom who doesn’t believe in microwaves, and I’m having a lot of fun so far. My affinity for natural wellbeing has landed me at oil pulling, an ancient method of improving oral (and overall) health. Supposedly, oil pulling removes toxins from the mouth, breaks down plaque, whitens teeth, freshens breath, and a whole litany of other things. I’m skeptical of anything that claims to remove “toxins” from the body – isn’t that my liver’s job? – but I thought oil pulling was worth a shot. I’ll do anything for white teeth, and oil pulling seems pretty benign overall.
Here’s the plan: first thing in the morning, before brushing your teeth or eating/drinking anything, swish a spoonful of coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes (!). Spit it out in the trash, rinse, and brush as normal.
I put the coconut oil into my mouth solid instead of melting it first and immediately regretted every decision I’ve ever made. It didn’t melt that quickly, so I had to chew it up, which was one of the worst sensations I’ve ever experienced. After conquering that hurdle, everything was fine.
About 10 minutes into my oil pull of the day, I realized that I had mistakenly put way too much oil in my mouth. The combination of 10 minutes’ worth of spit and a full tablespoon of oil was almost unbearable, but easily remedied.
Wait, are my teeth whiter? Am I seeing things? If nothing else, oil pulling is definitely getting easier and less daunting.
Don’t try to talk with this stuff in your mouth. No matter how far you tip your head back and try not to spill, you will lose.
While not as bad as using too much oil, using too little is also annoying. Eventually, I felt like I was just swishing around my own spit for 20 minutes.
One thing I noticed is that even though I’m super thirsty when I wake up, I don’t feel as parched after swishing with oil. Not sure if it’s the oil, my spit, or both that’s fixing it, but it’s definitely a thing.
Overall, my experience with oil pulling was very fine. Not sure if my teeth are whiter, but they did feel a lot cleaner every morning. I have my doubts about its holistic health benefits, but in general, oil pulling seems to be a safe way to change up your routine and try something new. I’ll probably keep giving it a chance to see if it actually whites my teeth or makes any other changes.