Oil pulling: Put down that toothbrush?

Over the past couple of months I have been asked multiple times about oil pulling: placing a small amount of oil in your mouth and swishing with it for approximately 20 minutes. Having a degree is Sustainable Community Health I love learning and being able to teach about alternative ways to care for our bodies. However, oil pulling was not something I had encountered. How had I not heard about this simple dental care technique before? The more I read the more I found that oil pulling was indeed becoming a popular fad all over America. There were so many claims:

-whiter teeth
-less bacteria, toxins and plaque in your mouth 
-healthier gums
-better skin
-oral disease prevention
-relief of congestion in sinuses and throat
-strengthening of gums and teeth

If it was true that this ancient Ayurvedic exercise really worked then I would definitely have to try it before I could recommend it to anyone. Sooooo… on the 15th of March I began my oil pulling adventure. Now as far as I have researched there are a few types of organic oils that can be used: sesame, sunflower, coconut, and olive oil. I chose coconut because I always have it around the house and it has great antibacterial/antimicrobial properties. Not to mention it contains vit. E, antioxidants, and is great for your overall health. I began my routine in the morning. It is advised to do it on an empty stomach so I simply swished while making the kids breakfast and packing lunch for my oldest. The hardest part for me at first was getting the coconut oil to melt in my mouth before I gagged on the tablespoon of semi-hard material. I found that chewing it into little bits made it melt a lot faster. After that it was a cinch. I had to move the oil around in my mouth for 20 mintues. Twenty minutes may seem like a long time but when you’re busy doing things it actually passes pretty quickly. (I recently read in the book Holistic Dental Care by Nadine Artemis that swishing for 10 minutes is sufficient enough). It is said that you shouldn’t pull for longer than 20 minutes because your body will start reabsorbing the bad bacteria. I would set a timer on my phone and at the sound of the alarm I would spit all the liquid into the garbage. Note: do not spit the oil into the sink because coconut oil hardens when it gets cold and could clog the drain. By the time I was finished swishing the oil was milky and supposedly laden with bad bacteria. For this reason you must try your hardest to not swallow any of the oil. Don’t freak out if you do but know that if you swallow the oil you are just putting bacteria deeper into your body. Now some people recommend rinsing with water after the 20 minutes but I never rinsed because it seemed to me as though my teeth felt even cleaner then when brushing regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste. I have been oil pulling at least 5 times a week for over a month now and this is what I have found: 

-My teeth do seem to look whiter. Natural whitening happens from the inside out so if we’re feeding our bodies the right nutrients, including the wonderful goodness of coconut oil, our detine (the protective mineralized layer of living tissue that supports the enamel) shows this.
-My gums look great. They were never really bad before but they do seem to look healthy and happy. 
-My skin looks better. I noticed after about 2 weeks that my face seemed to have a glow to it and looked nourished.

I asked my husband to try oil pulling but he stopped after a week. Even after a week there was a noticeable healthy change in his gums. I would love to get feedback if any of you are currently oil pulling or would like to challenge yourselves to try it for a month, a week or even a few days. If for no other reason than absorbing the wonderful nutritional aspects of coconut oil I will continue to oil pull in replacement of tooth brushing in the mornings. How about you?