Oil pulling has changed my life. Or at least, it’s made my teeth whiter and helped me kick my coffee addiction. It all started when I was complaining about my allergies to my friend and coworker, Brittany.
“My mom would tell you to oil pull!” she said.
I asked her what on earth that meant.
Brittany explained that her mom takes a tablespoon of melted coconut oil and swishes it around in her mouth for 30 minutes every morning. Her mom claims the practice helps alleviate allergies, fatigue, and colds. And she swears it whitens her teeth.
This sounded too good (and weird) to be true. Brittany had never actually tried oil pulling herself, so after some mild sweet-talking, I convinced her to try it if I did. I went to Whole Foods and got virgin coconut oil that very night.
Step 1: Warm-Up
First thing the next morning, on a totally empty stomach, I ran the entire jar under really hot water (lid closed, of course). Eventually, there was enough melted oil for me to measure out a tablespoon of it. After a quick pep talk, where I told myself that it couldn’t be worse than Mountain Dew, I dumped it in my mouth.
Step 2: Pulling
The initial feeling was watery and warm, not nearly as bad as I expected. So I started “pulling,” which essentially means rinsing, like you would do with mouthwash. I moved the oil all over my mouth, and pulled it through my teeth. As I went, I was careful not to swallow any of the oil.
Step 3: Spitting
On my first day, I pulled for six minutes before I ran out of steam and spit the oil out in the garbage can. (When you’re spitting, go for the trash or the toilet—the oil can clog the sink.) When I put the oil in my mouth, it was clear like water, but when I spit it out, it looked like milk! Maybe that’s TMI, but I’m just trying to say, don’t freak out about the color change.
Afterward, I immediately rinsed my mouth with warm water and brushed my teeth, to make sure all the oil was gone. I have never had more fun using a toothbrush! My teeth felt like I had just left the dentist, and when I finished, they were absolutely sparkling. I also had more energy than usual that morning—I didn’t need my coffee that day.
Step 4: Enjoy Your New Life
It’s been three months since my first oil pull, and these days I do it at least three mornings a week, for the real recommended 30 minutes. My teeth are noticeably whiter, and I’ve quit coffee completely—not only because oil pulling is energizing, I also just don’t want to stain my newly whitened teeth.
If you try oil pulling, let me know what you think! And if you ever get advice from Brittany’s mom, take it!
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