This Cheap but Gross Health Trend Cleared My Acne and Whitened My Teeth
Forget betting on Melbourne Cup, here's a sure thing that you can put money on — where a new health and fitness trend emerges, I go. I've adopted (and then often ditched) everything from chlorophyll to Crossfit, and coconut water to aloe vera water. I've warily baked kale to replace potato chips, stuck to raw foods before 4:00 p.m. and battled my way (bleary eyed and in a very bad mood) through countless juice cleanses. Without a doubt, many of these are absolutely passing fads, but a few have stuck and become a normal part of my day-to-day routine. The latest daily habit I've picked up? Oil pulling.
It has been one of the grossest, hardest-to-adopt healthy habits I've tried, but the benefits have been undeniable and it's cheap. In fact a large tub of organic coconut oil will set you back about $7.00 from Woolworths and will last weeks.
Every evening for the past month I've taken a spoonful of oil and swished it around in my mouth. Then, I spit it out in the basin and clean my teeth. Easy. Soon I began to notice my teeth were whiter — within just a couple of weeks lingering stains from my days of diet coke drinking (a not-so-healthy habit I dropped a couple of years ago) were lifting. While this would be enough to keep me oil pulling daily, I was even more amazed at how quickly my skin cleared. Annoying, recurring pimples I've had on my cheeks since high school began clearing after a few weeks of daily oil pulling, with no other change to my diet or lifestyle. Go figure.
Others swear by the benefits of oil pulling, and say it freshens breath and can even cure eczema. One study suggests this is because holding the oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes (I usually stick closer to 10) literally pulls bacteria from your gums and mouth, removing toxins before they travel to other parts of the body.
While it might sound like a crazy, come-and-go fad, it's actually an ancient Ayurvedic practice that's been used for centuries. Keen to give it a try? Here are a few first-hand tips I wish I knew when I started oil pulling.