The oil pulling post a couple weeks ago got me wondering. Since I’ve been curious about what other people think of oil pulling, I decided to talk to a couple people who I know have been using the process faithfully for the past year or so: My kids. A perfect idea, I thought, since the boys have been oil pulling for more than a year now and are pretty much certified experts. Plus, I thought, it’s always fun to get a kid’s perspective. I thought.
Here’s how it went:
Me: What do you think about oil pulling?
Kid: What is oil pulling?
Me: It’s swishing with coconut oil. What do you think about swishing with coconut oil?
Kid: I don’t get the question.
Me: What would you tell someone about swishing with coconut oil?
Kid: You take coconut oil and you swish it.
Me: How often do you do it?
Kid: Ummm, I think every night, right?
Me: Do you like it?
Kid: Aaahhh… Kinda.
Me: Does it help you? Seriously, now.
Kid: When my tooth hurt, it helped. Or that time my ear hurt, you told me to do it. You have me do it when my nose won’t stop running from allergies too.
Ah-ha! When my tooth hurt, it helped. Alert the media, we got some feedback! It helped! Chalk one up for oil pulling.
So, in the end, things I learned:
Don’t ask kids anything. Kidding, of course. Actually, I was shocked to hear that my kids (by not have tons to say about it) thought it was a non-issue. To me, this was great. This means that oil pulling can be worked into a nightly routine that even 4-7 year-olds (their ages when we started) can adapt to.
I was really expecting a strong (and strongly negative) reaction from them. (This is based of course on the complaints, whining and avoidance of the topic in my household.) It was actually refreshing to hear them seem so completely unfazed. It looks like oil pulling will be staying in our nightly routine, which I’m happy about. I’m also happy to know that despite the tantrums (ok, maybe that is too strong for some of the expected whining) that would suggest otherwise, oil pulling isn’t actually causing my kids physical or emotional agony.
So, if you find yourself intimidated by the process, don’t be! If my kids are doing it and not even realizing it, you can do it, too. If you’re interested in trying it, see below for some tips to help ease you (and maybe your kids!) into the process:
Tips for adding oil pulling to your routine:
Use a small amount. Just ½ tsp of coconut oil will do the trick. (Warning: Don’t overdo it with a mouthful–you will gag and never do it again!)
Swish gently. Swish the oil around your mouth, like you are squeezing it through your teeth. (If your jaw gets sore, relax and take a break, you are being a bit too forceful.)
Get the timing right. Swish during a quiet time like during your morning or nighttime routine when no one is talking to you. Or maybe try it when you’re distracted by something else, like during a favorite TV show.
Start small and grow big. Start out swishing for maybe five minutes, then gradually increase the amount of time spent swishing to around 20 minutes.
Don’t swallow coconut oil. It’s now filled with bacteria from your mouth – gross. After 5-20 minutes, spit the oil out (preferably in the trash, not down the drain). Rinse with water a time or two, then drink a glass of water.
Tips for making it fun for kids:
Create a new language. Try to talk with a mouth full of spit and coconut oil… See what you get!
Keep it short. Get your kids started with just one minute of swishing, then gradually build up to five minutes (or 10 minutes for older children).
- Capitalize on the quiet time. While everybody’s swishing, take the time to watch a few minutes of a favorite TV show together, or maybe hang out in the living room and read together.