For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing something a little strange every morning when I wake up… After drinking a full glass of water, I take a tablespoon of coconut oil (you remember my obsession, right?) and swish it around in my mouth like mouthwash for about 20 minutes. This might sound a little nuts to some of you, but others reading this may already know about the currently trending health craze called oil pulling. When I read about all the benefits of oil pulling (we’ll get to those in a minute), I decided to try it for two weeks so I could write a detailed review.

The Benefits

Oil pulling is an ancient Indian folk remedy used for detoxification. While the research is mixed regarding widespread health benefits, I do believe oil pulling helps draw out that pesky oral bacteria that leads to plaque buildup, gingivitis and bad breath. Oil pulling has also shown to strengthen your teeth, whiten your teeth, and prevent cavities. And, although it’s not yet scientifically proven, it has been known to help alleviate hangovers, reduce headaches, and support general detoxification of the entire body.

How To Do It

Basically, oil pulling works as an all-natural mouthwash. Right when you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of big water. Then, put a spoonful of coconut oil or sesame oil in your mouth and swish it around for 5 to 20 minutes (20 is recommended, but I usually do about 15). Don’t eat anything before—you want the oil to literally pull the toxins from your body before you’ve put anything else in your mouth. While swishing, aim to have the oil hit every area of your mouth evenly. Try not to swallow the oil while swishing because then the toxins will just go right back into your system. I like to jump in the shower while oil pulling or respond to my morning emails so that I’m distracted by another task and doing two things at once. After the time is up, spit the oil out in a trashcan. Be careful not to spit it in the sink as it will clog up your drain. Swish with salt water afterwards, then brush and floss as you normally would. Supposedly, if the oil turns yellow, you’re pulling out a good amount of toxins and doing it right!

My Thoughts

I chose to use coconut oil because of it’s strong antibacterial properties and because, well, I’m just obsessed with the stuff to begin with. After using it for two weeks, I have definitely noticed that my breath is fresher, my teeth are a bit whiter (my friend actually noticed that she broke out less around her chin and jawline). The sensation of swishing an oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes felt very strange at first, but after a couple days I got used to it and actually looked forward to detoxifying being a party of my morning routine. I also did my oil pulling one morning after having a few too many drinks the night before, and (whether it was a placebo effect or not) it did help with my headache. I have yet to see the oil turn yellow after spitting it out, but my mouth did feel very clean afterward. Overall, I would recommend using the method of oil pulling as a natural mouthwash since the benefits of it’s detoxifying properties are still being researched. Go ahead and try it—you might love it or hate it, but I thought it was worth seeing for myself!

Will you try oil pulling?

Also, do you have a crazy morning ritual you do every day?