It has been a wellness trend for a while now, but health gurus and a variety of Hollywood stars still swear by oil pulling for a bright smile. We decided to investigate oil pulling and find out how to do it properly.
If you have ever reached for a tub of coconut oil and attempted to try out oil pulling without reading up on it properly first, you may shudder at the thought of ever trying it again. It sounds more like a form of torture than a beauty practice, but oil pulling has an army of converts, and if you’re interested in healthy gums and teeth you might like to give it a try.
What is oil pulling?
Before you grab your tub of coconut oil, here’s a little more information. The practice of oil pulling is far from new, in fact it’s an ancient Ayurvedic technique that dates back many thousands of years.
It is quite simply the process of swishing the oil around inside your mouth much as you would with mouthwash, but for a lot longer. Many see it as a form of active meditation so they sit quietly and let the oil swoosh gently around their mouths, using it as a form of quiet time in their day.
What does oil pulling do?
The old Indian remedy is said to improve oral hygiene and freshen the breath, plus there have been numerous studies to support this.
Keeping the oil in your mouth is meant to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria which can cause plaque. By reducing plaque you reduce the chances of other problems such as cavities, gingivitis, bad breath and gum disease.
The bacteria gets swished up in the oil and dissolves rather than creating a film on your teeth. Therefore, be very careful not to swallow any of the oil and use less than you think you’ll need if you’re new to the practice.
How to oil pull?
You don’t have to use coconut oil for oil pulling but it’s a popular choice. You can pretty much use any oil including olive, sesame or sunflower. A tablespoon is more than enough and once it’s in your mouth try to swish it around for 10-20 minutes. Spit it out into a tissue and put in the bin to avoid clogging up your plumbing pipes and then carefully brush your teeth as normal. Lots of people prefer to brush with warm water first before using their usual toothpaste and brushing as usual.
The celebrities who oil pull
‘Billions’ actress Malin Ackerman uses coconut oil in the morning for five to twenty minutes.
Shailene Woodley says the practice is “amazing”. The ‘Big Little Lies’ star uses sesame or coconut oil and follows it up with some of her homemade clay toothpaste.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Jenner insist it also helps to whiten their teeth, but as yet there have been no studies confirming this benefit. Miranda Kerr, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have all also spoken about their love of oil pulling.
What we thought when we tried oil pulling
One of the team at Lumity tried oil pulling for a week and reports back, “There’s certainly a knack to it. Don’t use too much coconut oil or it melts and you have too much to keep in your mouth. It’s an interesting idea, and some people online are convinced that oil pulling has healed a whole host of illnesses. It might be relaxing if you have an entire morning free to get ready. But if you’re pushed for time you’ll probably go back to your electric toothbrush and usual toothpaste within a week.”
That’s certainly our stance on the majority of wellness trends, by all means try them and enjoy them, but if in doubt about any aspect of your health then see a trained medical professional.