Sitting here writing this article, I have a mouthful of liquid coconut oil, swishing it around and pulling it through my teeth. I’m sure life used to be “normal”. Ha ha!!
I have been proactive in my general health for many years now, and a while back, I decided that I would extend the courtesy to my teeth!! I found that the “eat, brush, floss and dental check-ups” protocol wasn’t fully working for me, and I felt the need for a little extra help.
Ta da!! Enter wondrous Coconut Oil, which I now use for both oil pulling and teeth brushing.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic method which has been used for many years for oral health, including the strengthening of teeth, gums and jaws, and to prevent decay. It has also proved effective in a host of other health conditions, including sinus problems, migraine headaches and skin conditions.
It is simple to do. Using an unrefined oil (traditionally, sesame seed oil was used), swish it around your mouth and pull between your teeth for about 20 minutes. It is recommended to do this first thing in the morning before drinking or eating, but it’s not always easy to carve another 20 minutes out of a day, especially in the morning. From a practical point of view, doing it anytime will provide some benefit. If you are good at multi-tasking, it’s worth juggling a spot of oil-pulling with catching up with emails (just don’t try answering the phone!), reading, taking a shower or bath. See how it fits into your day.
Using coconut oil (which tends to be solid during most of the year), I usually place a tablespoon of it in my mouth and wait for it to soften and melt. Then I start the process. Once finished, spit it out, but it’s best not to spit down your sink, unless you want clogged up plumbing!! After this, rinse your mouth out (swish and pull again) with some warm water and, if desired, gently brush the teeth.
I find that my teeth feel so much cleaner after a pull, and I also notice that it helps to dislodge any stubborn debris that has lodged between teeth. I have a gap between two of my back teeth that feels as wide as the Grand Canyon and which is a favourite place for food to congregate. I feel that oil pulling clears the gunk and disinfects the area too!!!
Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, and has been specifically found to inhibit the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which is a major cause of tooth decay. It is also anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, so you can see why it would benefit the health of teeth and gums.
When there is infection in the mouth (teeth / gums), bacteria can more easily enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation elsewhere. By reducing the toxic load in your mouth, you are therefore helping to reduce systemic inflammation and hence why oil pulling can benefit not just your mouth, but overall health too.
Coconut oil toothpaste
Normal toothpaste tends to contain a whole host of toxic chemicals, such as SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and fluoride!! Where possible it’s always good to make something yourself as you then know EXACTLY what is in it !!!
There are lots of recipes for homemade toothpaste on the internet. I simply combine the following ……
- Organic coconut oil (approx. 2 – 4 tablespoons)
- Ground whole salt (Himalayan or sea) (approx. 0.25 teaspoon)
- Baking soda (approx. 1 tablespoon)
- Optional: Essential oils such as peppermint (approx. 5 – 10 drops)
Mash the coconut oil until soft and work in the other ingredients until you have a smooth paste. Preserve in a glass jar.
The Baking soda helps to whiten teeth, salt is a great anti-bacterial, and essential oil, such as peppermint, adds not just flavour but its own health benefits too.
All amounts are approximate. As with most recipes I use, I experiment with what suits me, so I suggest you have a play around with ingredients to see what you like.
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