We are all used to the typical toothbrush, toothpaste, flossing, and mouthwash routine.
But did you know that it may not be the most effective way to take care of your teeth? According to Ayurveda medicine (that is, a form of alternative medicine with roots in the Indian subcontinent), ‘oil pulling’ (known as gandusha) is an incredibly effective oral detoxification, which pulls toxins out of your mouth, helping prevent gum disease and cleaning your mouth in the process. While any plant-based oil can be used (such as sesame or sunflower oil), coconut oil pulling has received most attention (potentially because it’s a bit better tasting)! According to a number of studies as reported by Dr. Axe, the benefits of coconut oil pulling are exhaustive, including:
- Treating tooth decay
- Killing bad breath
- Healing bleeding gums
- Preventing heart disease
- Reducing inflammation
- Whitening teeth
- Soothing throat dryness
- Preventing cavities
- Healing cracked lips
- Boosting the immune system
- Improving acne
- Strengthening gums and jaws
While the research on oil coconut pulling is still ongoing, it’s an age-old technique that has proven to be successful. With that said, here’s how to do it:
Step One: Gently swish a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes (like mouthwash). Be sure not to go too hard, as this can cause your jaws to clench and give you a headache! As your saliva gets engaged and the toxins begin coming out, the coconut oil will likely double in size, so be sure not to swallow (since you’ll be swallowing the toxins)!
Step Two: After your 20 minutes are up, spit out the oil (preferably in the bin since the oil might solidify and block your drain). Remember, timing is key! If you don’t pull for long enough (i.e. less than 15-20 minutes) you don’t give it enough of a chance to break apart plaque and bacteria. However, if you go over 20 minutes, you risk re-absorbing and swallowing the toxins!
Step Three: Rinse your mouth with warm (salt) water. This will remove any remaining oil in your mouth, and add a bit more cleanliness! Then, brush your teeth the new-age way, with a toothbrush and toothpaste. While it’s best to do this every day, even doing it 3-5 times a week is great!
Now, that does seem easy! It takes a bit of getting used to, but the benefits far outweigh any short-lived discomfort, especially since it’s believed to be more effective than our typical oral hygiene regime. That said, some dentists are sceptical of the medical evidence around oil pulling, given that there are few studies, and therefore it should not replace your everyday flossing and brushing. Nonetheless, it’s absolutely safe and can only do good!
While it may not feel all that important, oral hygiene is essential during the menopause. Depleting estrogen levels affect oral tissues, putting your gums, jaw, and teeth at risk. Additionally, hormone changes make taste buds less sensitive to sucrose, which increases the likelihood of sugar cravings. And as we’ve all known since we were kids, sugar can rot your teeth to the core, since it produces eroding acids that decay your teeth! Even if you’ve always had great teeth, the menopause can present a big challenge, so try oil-pulling as a way of maintaining good oral hygiene.