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Dunkin’ Donuts, Honey Dew, or Krispy Kreme? Brace yourself folks! This may sound like blasphemy coming from a native New Englander. Dunkin’ Donuts are my least favorite. I am more partial to Honey Dew and those damn Krispy Kreme’s. I’ll confess that when I worked those 24 hr shifts at New England Organ Bank I may have intended to bring my family a sweet treat home, but inevitably I caved and my boys were left with crumbs.

So how are donuts related to the silky smooth thing I pop into my mouth almost every morning? It comes down to 1 single ingredient – oil. Almost every morning I spoon a hefty dollop of coconut oil into my mouth. Yes I am an oil puller. Now some of you might be thinking – ew gross. And yes, in the beginning it was a bit gross. But did you know oil pulling has been around for thousands of years? It is a practice of Ayurvedic medicine which is a healing system that treats the whole person; body, mind, and spirit; rather than simply treating individual symptoms.

Top 3 benefits in my book:

  • Whitens your teeth
  • Increases oral health by reducing plaque and acting as an anti-bacterial agent
  • Fresher breath

There are numerous testimonials that oil pulling can help other conditions such as asthma, headaches, arthritis, hormone imbalances, skin conditions, liver problems, etc. I can testify that oil pulling has helped make my skin clear. So how do you oil pull?

  1. Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and put it in your mouth. You can also use sesame oil.
  2. Since the oil is solid at first it will take a minute or two to melt but just start swishing it around
  3. Swish and “pull” the oil through your teeth for 15-20 min. Do not swallow it
  4. Spit the oil into your trash
  5. Rinse your mouth with warm water, brush & floss.
  6. Voila! You will feel the difference. A cleaner mouth. A happier body.

Pearls of wisdom:

  • Do not read about oil pulling while you are actually doing it. I made this mistake the first day and all I could focus on was the oily bacteria laden liquid floating around in my mouth
  • Do educate yourself. Do some research to make an informed decision on whether this practice is for you.
  • Work your way up to 20 min. In the beginning I set my phone alarm for 10 min and after a few days swishing for 20 min was no big deal
  • While you are oil pulling set your timer and see what you can accomplish in 20 min. I was amazed to see how much I was able to do (empty the dishwasher, make the coffee, & do laundry)
  • Try it for 21 days…that’s how long it takes to develop a habit. Jot down notes on your experience
  • Oil pulling is a great way to have some peace and quiet! My kids and husband know that when mommy is “doing her oil” she can’t talk 🙂

Here are some studies on oil pulling:

S Asokan, J Rathan, MS Muthu, PV Rathna, P Emmadi, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry. 26(1):12-7, 2008 Mar

TD Anand, C Pothiraj, RM Gopinath, et al. Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria (PDF). African Journal of Microbiology Research, Vol 2:3 pp 63-66, MAR 2008. (PDF Link)

HV Amith, Anil V Ankola, L Nagesh. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and GingivitisJournal of Oral Health & Community Dentistry: 2007; 1(1):Pages 12-18

S Thaweboon, J Nakaparksin, B Thaweboon. Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm ModelsAsia Journal of Public Health: 2011 May-Aug. (PDF)


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