Coconut oil has proven itself to be somewhat of a beauty miracle. Aside from working as a healthy cooking oil alternative, it’s also great for moisturizing skin and hair, removing makeup and keeping your lips nice and soft. It looks like we might be overlooking one major health advantage the magical oil is capable of – oil pulling.
What Is It?
The general idea is that oil can work as a sort of natural mouthwash. We won’t say oil pulling is entirely new (the technique can be traced back to ancient India), but we will say we’ve seen a pretty dramatic resurgence in the idea since coconut oil recently rose to beauty superstardom. The practice isn’t officially backed by any major medical organizations — however, it is said to leave you with fresher breath and whiter teeth, all while fighting oral bacteria, plaque buildup and cavities. (Photo via @emjahn67)
Who Loves It
A couple of our favorite celebs to get granola with, Shailene Woodley and Gwyneth Paltrow both swear by oil pulling. Shailene tells Into the Gloss, “It really makes your teeth whiter, because the plaque on your teeth is not water soluble, it’s fat-soluble. So the lipids have to dissolve in fats, which is why oil works in your mouth. I prefer sesame oil, but they’re both good.” However, she also goes on to express her love for eating clay, which has been somewhat aggressively debated on the web, so maybe take that rave review with a grain of salt.
Lauren Conrad’s team also put the practice to the test, swishing for a whopping 20 minutes a day. They reported fresh breath, slightly whiter teeth and even a decrease in breakouts around the chin and jawline. (Photos via Jason Merritt/Getty)
How To Try It
1. The DIY Way: All you really need is a spoon and your oil of choice (coconut, sesame and sunflower are the most popular). It works best if you do it first thing in the morning after you’ve had a glass of water. Swish it around in your mouth for 5-20 minutes and then spit it out in the trash can (it will clog up your drain). Do your best not to swallow any, considering the oil is meant to be full of toxins and you don’t want that going back into your system. Rinse your mouth with salt water and then brush and floss like normal. (Photo via I Run on Nutrition)
2. Cocowhite ($20): If you’re up for something a little fancier, try these fun, flavored coconut oil sachets. While Cocowhite claims to give you all the benefits of oil pulling, their main focus is the idea that this is a natural way to whiten teeth. For $20 you’ll get a 14-day supply in the flavor of your choosing. It might seem a little steep for about a few tablespoons of oil, but if this is meant to be a competitor for big whitening products like Crest White Strips, the price is actually fairly comparable.
Have you ever tried oil pulling? What did you think? Share with us in the comments below.