STYLE
01/02/2013 08:18 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

How Coconut Oil Can Be Used As A Mouthwash (VIDEO)

It's a new year, and yes, I'm among the millions of women who are in need of a fresh start in order to live my best life. (Can't you tell I subscribe to O, The Oprah Magazine?) And because a healthier lifestyle is one of the goals I'm committing to in 2013 and beyond, I'm especially open to unconventional beauty treatments that rely on simpler ingredients.

In the video above, natural beauty expert Molly Beucher presents the surprisingly skeptic cast of "The Doctors" her coconut oil mouthwash method. With Ayurvedic origins dating back thousands of years, rinsing one's mouth with water and a tablespoon of coconut oil for 10 to 15 minutes (then spitting out into the trash as the mixture will clog sinks and toilets) helps to prevent bad breath, remove plaque and soothe inflamed gums, says Bencher. But before making a mad dash to the kitchen cabinet, I decided to do some further research on these profound claims.

In the November/December 2008 edition of Well Being Journal, nutritionist and naturopathic doctor Bruce Fife breaks down how exactly coconut oil acts as a cleanser.

When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums, it “pulls” out bacteria and other debris. It acts much like the motor oil you put in your car engine. The motor oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean. Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our mouths, our teeth and gums work better and last longer.

I can proudly report that after consuming more ounces of water in the past seven days than I have probably in my entire adult life, and having to deal with dry, stale breath, that this treatment does indeed work.

Have you ever tried coconut oil as mouthwash? What are your thoughts on this natural alternative to the popular drugstore mouthwashes? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

Meanwhile, read up on six other benefits of the super ingredient known as coconut oil.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misidentified the natural beauty expert as "Molly Bencher."

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