Coconut oil is one of those wonder substances that seems to have almost as many purported benefits as the natural water and air we drink and breathe each day. Whether you're using coconut oil to cook your veggies, or you're slathering it all over your legs with your favorite essential oil as a moisturizer, or you're removing your eye makeup with it, there's seemingly no end to what this stuff can do for your body. Specifically, I've always wondered if coconut oil pulling really works. So, in the name of adding even more coconut oil into my life, I went ahead and I tried the method out for a week. As it turns out, I'm very pleasantly surprised by the results — so much so, in fact, that I'm now incorporating it into my daily routine.
OK, so you might be wondering what the hell oil pulling even is, let alone how you do it and what the benefits are supposed to be. Honestly, it's very simple: You basically just swish the coconut oil around in your mouth (yes, like mouthwash), but you also "pull" it back and forth through your teeth and gums, for about five minutes each day, and then spit it out. And believe it or not, it's not just a new fad. Oil pulling is, in fact, an Ayurvedic practice that has been around for thousands of years.
No, this is not just another selfie of a kissy face. This is me, relaxing my butt off and having a quick coconut oil pull before I get ready for bed.
As a method of "pulling" germs and toxins from your mouth, the practice of daily oil pulling is considered to have multiple health benefits, but more than anything, it's a way to remove bacteria from your mouth to promote and support your oral hygiene. Some of the other potential benefits include fresh breath, disease and illness prevention, teeth-brightening, and sinus-clearing. Not bad, right?
I used a mint-infused pulling oil called Masigi, and it comes in these very convenient, little single-use packets.
According to Masigi's FAQ page, most bacteria or microorganisms in the mouth are single cells that are covered in fatty membranes. When these cells come into contact with the oil, which is also a fat, the two fats stick together. They then collect and trap all these little germs, and then you ultimately get rid of them all when you spit the oil out. As Dr. Bruce Fife told Masigi, coconut oil pulling "is like a vacuum cleaner that sucks viruses, bacteria, and fungus out of the body.” Yum?
Here I am again, about to spit the pulled coconut oil into a cup, as you aren't supposed to spit in a sink because, well, I'm not trying to clog my drain, you feel me?
As for my actual experience after a week of daily oil pulling, it felt great! My mouth felt cleaner and healthier, and I didn't experience any of that stinging sensation that can come along with using mouthwash. Oil pulling also felt like it left a "protective" covering within my mouth, without feeling at all like yucky residue.
Again, the single-use packets were very convenient for me, and I'm not sure I would have been so keen on continuing the practice if that didn't make it so easy and eliminate the potential mess that might come about from using a jar of oil and a spoon.
You also may be wondering what the oil looked like at the end of a pull. Was it green or black, or filled with gnarly, visible germs?
It actually doesn't look all that gross, but I do think there's a kind of yellow tinge to the pulled oil, don't you?
While my experiment seems to have been too short for me to see any major results, research shows that the impact oil pulling can have on the health of your mouth — and, more specifically, on diseases like gingivitis — is sometimes noticeable after only seven days.
And that, I can kind of attest to. One night during the week of my experiment, after I enjoyed a hella amount of garlic for dinner, oil pulling managed to take away both the taste and the smell after the fact. So, this stuff must be doing something right.