We Tried Oil Pulling For (Almost) A Week

By Sophie Colvin
24th Aug 2016

we tried oil pulling

To bring you up to speed, oil pulling is a health craze that’s been floating around for a while now. Basically, you’re supposed to casually pop a tablespoon or so of some kind of vegetable oil (coconut seems to be the oil of choice for most) in your mouth, swill it around for roughly 15 mins without necking yourself, then spit it out. Not in the sink, if you don’t want to have to get a plumber.

The list of benefits that it claims to have is as a long as my arm. The vaguely believable ones include, in no particular order: a reduction in gum disease, whiter teeth, improved breath and an overall increase in oral hygiene. Some of the reported benefits that cynical me has a little more trouble believing are: alleviation of headaches, hangovers and skin issues, improved gut health and stronger teeth.

Day 1

Just so we’re clear, I’m super dubious about this little experiment. I mean, oil? Really?? I kick things off with one of Keeko’s ‘Morning Mint’ flavour, convinced that this will be most reminiscent of toothpaste. It’s not. I empty the sachet into my mouth and instantly want to gag. I don’t know what I thought putting a tablespoon of coconut oil in my mouth, straight after breakfast would be like, but it was worse than I imagined.

3 minutes in and the need to swallow is overpowering, I stifle it, struggle through to the recommended 10-minute mark and make a dash for the bin.

Day 2

I feel a little more prepared this time around. I swallow vigorously before I pop that little sachet of oil in my mouth, but 5 minutes later, I’m forced to question my life choices again.

I do some Googling while I swill and stumble across a quote from a dentist in the US who basically says that if she had to choose between regular teeth brushing and oil pulling, she’d choose the latter. I presume she’s on crack, but whatever.

Day 3

I hadn’t quite warmed the oil enough, so it’s all clumpy. Gross. People in the office are getting used to me looking like a total noob while I do this, which is resulting in 15 minutes of peace. I can now smugly make it to the 15-minute mark with ease and my mouth does feel squeaky clean afterwards.

Day 4

I wake up with less-than-fresh breath and curse. Why am I not a sleek, fresh goddess with a Colgate smile yet?!

I mix things up and try the Berry Fresh flavour. To my surprise, it’s a mile better than the mint. I’ve mastered the nose breathing thing and overall, the whole experience is getting better.

Day 5

Everyone says your jaw will get sore from the swilling. I don’t really get this, but maybe I’m not doing it right?! I get side tracked, forget to swill and realise minutes later there’s a rank pool of un-swilled oil sitting in the bottom of my mouth.

My housemate comments that my teeth are looking nice, I haven’t told her I am being a weirdo doing this experiment, so I want to kiss her. Maybe it’s been worth it after all?!

Day 6

Did some more research while I was swilling and saw something that mentioned that it’s supposed to be done on an empty stomach. Whoops! Either way, I’m feeling smug that I’ve even got this far, and I’m still in love with the feeling of uber fresh teeth after I’m done.

Time for the verdict. This is a tricky one. I didn’t have headaches, gum disease, skin conditions, sinus problems or sleep apnoea before I started; so the measuring stick isn’t great. I think my teeth are a little whiter, but I’ve still got horrible breath in the morning (Cady Herron and I have that in common). But I DO think that overall everything feels fresher… Will I continue? Probably not. Do I recommend you give it a go? Absolutely. 

Image credit: Keeko via Instagram 

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