Oil Pulling – part 1

A couple of months ago, oil pulling was getting a whole lot of social media attention. (In case you missed it, oil pulling is the process of swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for about twenty minutes. The idea is that it draws all the toxins out of your mouth and throat and improves overall oral health.)


Oil pulling is not a new process. In fact, it’s ancient. It is a type of Aurvedic medicine, which originated in India thousands of years ago. Historically, the process was done using sesame oil (which I have been told tastes pretty bad and you would miss out on all the benefits of coconut oil).


While a lot of folks out there seem to be singing its praises lately, is oil pulling a process that you need to run out and get on board with right away? Maybe. But maybe not.


Personally, I love oil pulling. For the past couple of years (yes, years!), the boys and I have been including it in our nightly routine. The benefits have ranged from opening the sinuses, easing and eliminating tooth pain to healing that sore on the inside of your check when you bite it by accident.

We’ve actually been out of coconut oil for the past couple of weeks now and I miss it, but the boys are going to stomp their feet when it’s time to add it back to the routine… add it to my list of “Yes, you have to brush your teeth. No, you can’t skip a shower today. Yes, washing hair is a must.” Why oh why must they argue about these things?


But, just because we’re into it doesn’t mean you have to be! Before adding any new step to your routine, it’s a good idea to consider the process from all angles. Personally, I like to mix traditional knowledge with today’s science and throw in a dash of common sense. Before I jump into changing any routine, I ask myself a few important questions:

  • Really?! (“Seriously?!” is an acceptable alternative)
  • What other information/data/experiences do I have that lead me to believe this is credible?
  • Are the ingredients accessible? Or BETTER yet, are high quality ingredients accessible? (And affordable?)
  • Why does it work?
  • How does it work?
  • Will it work for everyone?


The next step is telling my husband what I want to try and why. If I can’t answer his questions, I might need to reconsider the idea. (FYI I don’t always actually share those answers with him. Sometimes the answer is simply, “Because it’s better!” When I am confident in something new, “Because it’s better!” is sometimes just an easier explanation.) But it’s always good to run things by people you know and trust. Being challenged with new or hard questions can make you consider (and reconsider) ideas from new angles. Sometimes your ego might disagree with your mind, but that’s the point.

Oil pulling passed all of the tests. I tried it, I got my family to try it, and so far (two years later), everyone seems really happy with it. It’s another tool in our toolbox to lead fun, healthy lives.


But what about you?


For those of you who were introduced to oil pulling back when it was making the rounds on social media a few months ago, did you try it? If so, how far did you get? Did you read an article or two and decide it wasn’t for you? Or did you give it a go for a week? Two weeks? Months? Of those of you who tried it, I’m curious to see how many people are still doing it. Maybe you’re not doing it every day as it’s recommended (guilty here), but what about on a regular basis or pseudo schedule?


Let me know! I’m interested to see what everyone else out there thinks about oil pulling. Also, is there any series of vigorous (or not-so-vigorous) testing that you put your new routines through before trying them out?


Next week, there’s more to come on oil pulling! We’ll have answers to some of the above questions, plus some resources. Stay tuned!