For many people, coconut oil swishing or pulling is a chance to ditch the ghastly supermarket mouth wash for something much less complex and potentially far more effective. Oil Pulling.
Oil pulling therapy isn't particularly new as Indians (in India), have been using the technique to clean their mouths for many years, using sesame or sunflower oil.
It's a simple process - first thing in the morning when you get out of bed, swish in your mouth a dessert spoon of cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil for up to 20 minutes.
It may taste a little strange at first, but you will stop noticing after awhile, especially if you are actively going about your morning routine. And you will most likely find yourself addicted to it anyway.
When you’re done, spit out the oil as it will be filled with the bacteria and other particles. Rinse your mouth with warm water (with added salt if you want extra antimicrobial action). Then clean your teeth thoroughly in the normal way.
You might want to plan this activity around reading emails, news or rummaging on the net - doing something where you don't have to talk to anyone. And don't stress if you can't do 20 minutes - even a few minutes is better than nothing at all.
In the colder months, the coconut oil will solidify, so you can either 'eat' the coconut oil and hold it in your mouth until it melts or put the oil in a small container in some hot water until it turns liquid. Your decision really depends on your taste and texture reflexes.
There are plenty of oil pulling disciples (and the odd study) around who are living proof that the technique will produce a cleansing, healing, and detoxifying effect on your mouth. And of course, coconut oil is renowned for it's antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.
Oil pulling helps clear your mouth of common bacteria such as streptococcus mutans (the key to plaque and tooth decay) and thereby gingivitis (which is the gum inflammation caused when your immune system begins to attack the bacteria in plaque).
Oil pulling will also help freshen breath because a fair percentage of halitosis is caused by the chemicals produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
While there is very little 'controlled' scientific proof of oil pulling, there was a study by Meenakshi Ammal Dental College in Chennai (2011) with adolescents using sesame oil which validated the strategy to be at least an 'effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health' and 'equally effective as products like 'chlorhexidine against halitosis and organisms which are associated with halitosis.'
One of the things I originally liked about this tip is that it's not expensive, does not do any harm and is pretty simple. That's what sold me initially anyway and 5 years later, I am still doing it and wouldn't give it up.
Just like the Indians, you can of course use sesame or sunflower oil instead of coconut oil. For other uses for coconut oil see: 4 Best Uses of Coconut Oil.