Have you heard of oil pulling? It's all over the place lately. On social media, on blogs, in magazines. It's basically the art of not brushing your teeth. Not the art of not cleaning your teeth, the art of not brushing your teeth. Big difference.
See, instead of using a traditional toothbrush and toothpaste, you use oil. And it's supposed to be ah-mazing. Seriously, people won't stop ranting about oil pulling!
Okay, so the way you do it is you take a teaspoon of oil into your mouth and start swishing it around. But not just any oil. Many "experts" say sesame oil is the best to oil pull with, but coconut and sunflower oil are recommended, as well. You swish the oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes (yes, 15 to 20 minutes!), then spit it out in your trash, unless you feel like clogging your drain pipes up nice and good. Do this 4 to 5 times a week.
Now. What does it do for you? Like all things beauty and holistic, the results are subjective and ought to be taken with a grain of salt. But! Fans of oil pulling claim it whitens teeth (most are in agreement of that, actually); prevents cavities; detoxifies your body; helps with acne; helps you sleep better (hmmm ...); and helps clear sinuses. Yes, all this from swishing some oil around in your mouth.
Jezebel spoke to Dr. Sanda Moldovan, a periodontist in Beverly Hills and a certified nutritionist, who said that while oil pulling may not work in exactly the ways superfans think it will, it will thoroughly clean your mouth. And a clean mouth equals better overall health. "When we improve oral health, we improve so many other things in the body," Moldovan said. "People with bad oral hygiene have higher incidence for cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and strokes, and a higher incidence for pneumonia. Men with periodontal disease have a greater risk of erectile dysfunction. Even with diabetes, improved oral health can help control problems in diabetic patients. Also, pregnant women with gum disease have lower birth-weight babies. Yes -- everything is connected."
Interesting. And as gross as swishing sesame oil around in my mouth sounds, it actually might be worth a try. Who doesn't want super white teeth the natural way? And, oh, the health benefits sound cool, too.
Have you ever tried oil pulling?
Image via Daniel Koebe/Corbis