Two in here, three in there, one over here…Perfect you say to yourself as you finish adorning every handbag and crevice of your apartment with breath mints. Now you can finally talk to Chad from Retro Fitness with the confidence of a healthy-toothed woman.
If this sounds like you, go buy a succulent to decorate your space with…and save your money on those breath-freshening products! We’ve got an ancient oral hygiene technique that’s going to make Chad sure to swoon over you.
How to oil pull
Although oil pulling is a modern trend, it was actually a traditional Ayurvedic medicinal technique that was discovered nearly 3,000 years ago. The “pulling” part of the term refers to pulling out unwanted bacteria from between your teeth.
To perform this technique, use one tablespoon of oil (coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil) and swish it around in your mouth for about 20 minutes. If it seems difficult not to swallow the oil, you might have too much of it in your mouth. Once your time is up, rinse your mouth with water before consuming or drinking anything.
Perform this procedure any number of times between three a day and a few per week. It might be easier, when first experimenting with this process, to start swishing for only five minutes and to then work your way up to the full 20.
Why it’s effective
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, oil pulling can help kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing about 30 systemic diseases. There are nearly 700 types of bacteria in your oral cavity, and an overabundance of certain types can lead to tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.
Halitosis, the scientific term for “bad breath,” can be caused by dental conditions such as infection, poor oral hygiene, tongue coating, and more. Because oil pulling has been proven to remove bacteria from your mouth, it can improve this condition.
In a study done on 20 adolescents to evaluate the effect that oil pulling with sesame oil would have on halitosis, the group was split up into mouthwash users and oil pullers. The result of the study was that both groups saw a significant decrease in the levels of the microorganisms responsible for the bad breath.
The review in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine says oil pulling shouldn’t replace your normal dental hygiene habits, but they “concluded that oil pulling, when performed as recommended, can be safely used as an adjunct to maintain good oral hygiene and health along with the routine tooth brushing and flossing with promising positive results.”