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A new health fad trending these days is actually an age-old Indian practice called oil pulling which involves swishing oil around your mouth for 20 minutes to cleanse the mouth and body of toxins.  No, you read that right:  oil in the mouth for 20 minutes.  Perhaps not immediately appealing but certainly intriguing.

Oil pulling goes back thousands of years with its origins in Ayurvedic medicine.   The theory is that the oil is able to draw out bad bacteria from the mouth, which is expelled when the oil is spit out at the end of the 20 minutes.  Proponents claim that this daily practice improves oral hygiene, prevents cavities and gum disease, whitens and strengthens teeth and generally detoxifies the mouth.

The benefits apparently don't end there.  The connection between good oral hygiene and a healthy body is not a new idea.  We've all heard of the potential link between those with gum disease and a higher risk of heart disease.  In addition to a cleaner mouth, oil pulling also reportedly improves conditions such as  asthma, allergies, headaches, hangovers, chronic inflammation, acne, rosacea, and eczema, just to name a few.

Coconut oil seems to be the most popular choice for oil pulling nowadays.  Already a staple in our kitchen, coconut oil provides an impressive list of health benefits, including:
•Fatty acids, which help keep the skin stay healthy and repair itself
•Vitamin E, already an antioxidant superstar in creams and serums like [Link Removed]
•Lauric acid, which can destroy certain harmful bacteria when converted to a monoglyceride by the body

When used topically, coconut oil is a natural skin softener, moisturizer and lip balm.  Used for oil pulling, the jury is still out on whether it can actually address a seemingly endless list of ailments.  There simply have not been enough conclusive studies or clinical trials to prove oil pulling's claims, especially with regards to skin conditions.

Trending or not, I don't see oil pulling in my immediate future, but never say never.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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