If you want great dental health, there’s no substitute for frequent and thorough brushing and flossing. But that’s not the end of the story.
An ancient Ayurvedic tradition known as oil pulling has long been used to improve oral health, and science is increasingly showing that the old beliefs are well founded.
Today, the oil pulling technique is best carried out using ordinary coconut oil, easily available online or in your local health and beauty store. Here are five ways it could help your regular oral health routine.
1) Lessens Tooth Decay
Although an ordinary fluoride toothpaste is the best defense against tooth decay, coconut oil pulling adds another layer of protection. The lauric acid found in coconut oil attacks the bacteria in your mouth, reducing the buildup of plaque and so reducing the chances of decay.
One study found that plaque levels usually began to fall within seven days of first using coconut oil.
2) Reduces Gum Inflammation and Disease
The lowering of bacteria and plaque also reduces irritation and inflammation of your gums. This is a major factor in preventing gum disease, both the early form of gingivitis and the more serious periodontitis.
3) Helps Bad Breath
Oral bacteria are also the main cause of bad breath. Oil pulling with coconut oil can reduce this problem quickly and discreetly, when used in addition to toothpaste and mouthwash.
4) A Gentle, Natural Whitener
When you rinse your mouth with coconut oil, the lauric acid and other antibacterial agents reach into every tiny gap between your teeth.
Not only that, they can penetrate the microscopic abrasions in the dental enamel. As they do this, they absorb and remove the toxins and staining agents which can leave your teeth yellow and discolored.
Coconut oil isn’t going to replace bleach as a powerful whitening method, but it’s much safer. Used regularly, it will gently whiten your smile while preventing further stains from building up.
5) Soothes Cracked Lips
Lastly, coconut oil is also an excellent treatment for cracked and chapped lips. It’s one of nature’s most powerful moisturizers, sealing in oils and water to start the healing process. Added to that, it also contains mild topical analgesic properties which reduce irritation and remove the temptation to chew your itchy lips.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Oil Pulling
Enjoying the oral health benefits of coconut oil couldn’t be easier. Simply place a teaspoonful of organic coconut oil solids in your mouth, and wait for it to melt.
Swirl the liquid around like a mouthwash, using your tongue to rub a little onto your lips if they’re chapped.
Continue this for between ten minutes and a quarter of an hour, before spitting, brushing, and rinsing with mouthwash to clear any left-behind debris.
While coconut oil is perfectly safe to consume, try not to swallow the oil you’ve used for pulling. By now it’ll be filled with bacteria, and it’s better sent down the drain or into the garbage.
Traditionally, oil pulling was done every day as part of a lengthy morning ritual. However, in busy modern life you may not have time to do it quite so frequently. Nonetheless, doing it even occasionally can have welcome benefits for your oral health, so it’s worth doing as often as you can.
But always remember, coconut oil is a great addition to your regular dental health regimen, and not a replacement for it.