It all started with a canker sore. A red, angry, painful canker sore the size of a pencil eraser, right on the tip of my tongue. Gross, I know. It made everything from talking to eating miserable, and it just wouldn’t go away.

After almost a week of compulsive brushing and rinsing my mouth with hydrogen peroxide, it just seemed to get angrier and angrier. With a weekend trip coming up, I absolutely needed this thing gone ASAP, so I turned to Pinterest, which is where I stumbled upon oil pulling.

Morgan Nielsen

In case you’re not familiar, oil pulling is essentially the act of swishing an oil (typically coconut oil because it has strong antibacterial properties) around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes to improve your overall oral hygiene.

I’d seen claims that it could whiten teeth, cure gum disease, reverse cavity damage, pull toxins out of your body via your mouth, and about a million other magical things (including heal canker sores). Desperate, I went straight to Target to buy some coconut oil and soon got to swishing.

Within two days, the hellish sore was totally gone, and I was hooked. I decided to continue every evening for a month, to see if I could experience anymore of coconut oil’s magical healing properties.

When I started, I was in relatively good dental health, minus the occasional canker sore and some mild tooth sensitivity to sweets. Other than my canker sore disappearing pretty much overnight, I didn’t note any other improvements to my oral or general health.

Ultimately, at the end of my month of oil pulling, I decided not to continue doing it regularly. It was a pretty gross feeling to have so much oil in your mouth, and it made me kind of hate the taste of coconut.

It did what I wanted it to do (and I haven’t gotten another canker sore since), but it definitely didn’t do any of the other magical things that the Internet promised it would. Go figure.