Oil Pulling – part 2

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: Yes!

Me: How?

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.

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!