1. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy that involves swishing a spoonful of oil (traditionally sesame, but coconut and sunflower oils are also used) for 15-20 minutes upon waking up — before eating or drinking. The oil “pulls out” toxins and other bacteria found in the mouth. Therefore, be careful not to swallow! It is recommended that you spit out the oil outside or into the trash as it can cause issues with plumbing. Rinse out your mouth with warm water then brush as you would normally.
Of course, Western scientists are sleeping on this folk remedy; there is little research as to its effectiveness. However, in a 2008 study, oil pulling with sesame oil reduced the count of Streptococcus mutans in the mouth of participants. A quick Google search, however, will bring up numerous testimonials from people who attribute oil pulling to improving acne, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, oral infections, and even whitening teeth.
In closing, I’ll add my own testimonial to the mix. I started oil pulling with sesame oil approximately three months ago. After four years orthodontic treatment, I was looking for a way to improve my oral health and whiten my teeth. At the time, I did not floss consistently and so my gums were very swollen and bled whenever I did floss. I decided to commit to a one month trial of oil pulling. A few weeks in, the swelling in my gums was WAY down and they no longer bled while flossing. My family kept remarking on my skin saying that it appeared much brighter (“radiant”) and was more clear. Also, this may sound strange, but I felt that oil pulling removed congestion that I wasn’t even aware I had in my throat. I felt as though I was able to breathe more freely and easily. And as more conclusive “proof” as to this practice’s effectiveness, I recently got my teeth cleaned for the first time in more than two years (oh the life of the uninsured). Analysis of bacteria present in the mouth was included with the cleaning. The Dental Hygienist asked me if I used mouthwash. I told her no and asked why. Despite having gone two plus years without a teeth cleaning, my mouth contained very little bacteria. I told her I oil pulled and she agreed that must be the reason that my mouth was so healthy. That, folks, sealed the deal.