Valuable Lessons I Learned from Coconut Oil Pulling

There are several valuable lessons I learned from coconut oil pulling. For those who don’t know, oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic process that utilizes oil to remove toxins from your mouth and body. Oil pulling has a number of miraculous benefits, but I didn’t really give it an honest chance until I started struggling with gingivitis in my early 30’s. 

decorative bathroom display with toothbrushes and soaps with grey backdrop

Coconut Oil is the Best Mouthwash for Gingivitis

This befuddled me, because I am, quite frankly, a Nazi when it comes to oral hygiene…Heil Health!  I always used the best all natural, fluoride-free mouthwash for gingivitis, I flossed daily, and I went to the dentist religiously. I can literally count the days I’ve missed brushing on one hand.  In a nutshell: teeth are important to me. Believe it or not, one of my life-goals is to die with all my pearly whites still fully intact, which also means I have a no-tolerance policy for gingivitis.  #nodenturesplease

Juice Plus Vitamins – Best Multivitamins on the Market

Oil pulling by itself is great, but most issues are best rectified by a combination of internal AND external whole-body solutions. In fact, Juice Plus Vitamins** marked the start of my healing from gingivitis. 

Juice Plus Vitamins** marked the start of my healing from gingivitis. 

It had never occurred to me that trace vitamin and mineral deficiencies could be the source of my gum dis-ease.  However, after taking Juice Plus Vitamins for a month, the inflammation and bleeding in my gums diminished so much that I ordered another month-supply. Long story short: I’ve been a Juice Plus fan ever since — 10 years and counting!  Despite the massive improvement, however, inflamed, red gums still persisted on occasion, particularly during my menstrual cycles. 

inflamed, red gums on large ocean fish

When my dentist told me my gums were receding, the omen scared me enough to consider “drastic measures.”  Oil pulling always seemed a bit gross…and inconvenient.  Perhaps it was the thought of swishing warm, overly-digested liquid in my mouth for 20 minutes that grossed me out.  But if it worked…I was willing to try just about anything. 

So I committed to oil pulling every day…which meant I had to get up early enough to complete the task before running out the door each morning. This was a bit of a sacrifice for me.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely.  Today, I am gingivitis free.  I only visit the dentist about once every one-and-a-half years now, quite simply because I don’t need frequent cleanings anymore.  And when I do go in for a cleaning, I always get compliments from the staff about how clean and healthy my teeth and gums are.

Coconut Oil Pulling is the #1 Best Preventative Measure for Health

Oil pulling (companioned with avoiding sugar) is quite likely the #1 best preventative measure I have ever discovered for my health. As any good dentist will tell you, “Disease starts in the mouth!” I personally commit to oil pulling daily because it’s a simple thing I can do to prioritize my current and future health, vitality, and longevity.  If you are serious about trying oil pulling for yourself (which I highly recommend), you will want to read this amazing article I discovered years ago by Dr. Jon Barron, who does a thorough job of explaining the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’ of oil pulling in detail (Thank you Jon!).   After reading his article, chances are you will feel motivated to at least give coconut oil pulling a try.

How to Oil Pull for your Health

The concept of how to oil pull for your health is pretty easy, but you absolutely need to do it right, or you will essentially be wasting your time at best, or possibly doing damage at worst.  I agree with Dr. Jon’s suggested process for oil pulling, with an exception or two.  Here’s my suggested itinerary:

glass jar with lid on a countertop, full of safflower, sunflower, or coconut oil
  • Preparation creates motivation!  I keep a glass jar full of safflower, sunflower, or coconut oil in a cupboard on top of a paper towel (mitigates potential leakage or mess) so that it is readily accessible and ready-to-go!  I personally add some Dental Pro 7 or other appropriate essential oils to my oil mixture, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Oil pulling MUST be done first thing in the morning BEFORE eating or drinking anything!

  • Oil pulling MUST be done first thing in the morning BEFORE eating or drinking anything!   Immediately upon waking, take approximately 1 Tablespoon of the oil in your mouth and start a timer for 20 minutes.  If you’re feeling up to a good mouth workout, swish the oil back and forth between all of your teeth and side to side across your gums, hitting the cheeks and soft palate.  You want to repeatedly “press” the oil into all the crevices of your mouth.  DO NOT GARGLE.  If you aren’t in the mood for a vigorous workout, at least keep the oil directed to the front of your mouth so that it can essentially soak your teeth and gums.
split coconuts and a glass jar of coconut milk on a marble grey table with a grey backdrop
  • Keep the oil in your mouth for exactly 20 minutes.  Surprisingly, oil pulling to the 20-minute mark is absolutely essential for the procedure to work.  Swish for less than 20 minutes? It just doesn’t work.  Swishing for longer than 20-23 minutes (at most) runs the risk of reabsorbing the bacteria and toxins back into your body.  Twenty minutes may seem like a long time, but while I’m waiting for those 20 minutes to pass, I don’t waste time “waiting.”  I prepare breakfast, I dress, I do laundry — you get the picture.  In other words, oil pulling doesn’t need to add any stress or inconvenience to your day.  Just make it part of your morning routine. Easy peasy. If you feel the need to swallow due to nasal drainage, etc. during your 20 minute swishing procedure, be careful NOT to swallow any oil/saliva mixture.
teal clock showing 20 minutes before four being held by a woman's hand
black and white cow in a grassy field
  • Rinse your mouth with water, gargle, and spit it out. (Into the sink is fine this time).
  • CRITICAL STEP:  Finish with a thorough teeth brushing.  Optional afterthought: Rinse with a natural mouthwash
the dental herb company tooth and gum tonic and tongue scraper
  • Stay motivated, and create a lifelong habit.  Oil pulling has produced miraculous results for me, personally.  My favorite: People often compliment me on my smile!  I NEVER bleach my teeth, and although I used to, they are whiter now than they’ve ever been.  Additionally, since implementing oil pulling into my daily schedule, I rarely get sick anymore, and I’ve noticed a consistent increase in my energy and stamina. 

An Unexpected Blessing of Oil Pulling

My reasons for swishing oil in my mouth every morning are primarily health-related.  However, a rather unexpected blessing of oil pulling resulted from me being literally silenced for twenty minutes every day. Forced-silence was teaching patience…and the value of contemplation before responding.

Forced-silence was teaching patience…and the value of contemplation before responding.

I used to panic when I couldn’t verbally-respond immediately to my children’s quarries.  With time, however, I came to an amazing discovery:  My children were learning more about responsibility, conflict management, independence, and critical thinking when I COULDN’T verbally intervene and “save the day.”  When my mouth is full of coconut oil, I’m not able to give my “two-cents” to a misbehaving child, or mitigate an issue between quarreling siblings. 

At first, I have to admit — I felt slightly deflated when I realized my children didn’t really need me as much as I thought they did.  Suddenly, for 20 minutes a day, they were forced to solve many of their own problems, mitigate treaties between one another without a mediator, and use their own words instead of mine. An added fun game: my children learned that they could get away with calling Mom something cute and witty…like “poop-nugget…” without any immediate payback. 

blonde woman with puckered lips taking a selfie from the front seat of her car

Additionally, forced silence gave me a glimpse of the potential damage I might be causing by…well…saying too much at all the wrong times.  To illustrate, let’s say you’ve just put oil in your mouth and little Suzie starts screaming at her brother.  “MMMMmmmmmmMM!!!” is your only possible response.  Alternatively, you might be tempted to spit everything out in frustration.  DON’T. DO IT!  Have discipline, man!  Trust the process; stay the course! 

shot of a water droplet splashing in beautiful lake taken from the shore with mountains in the background

Humor is the Best Medicine

Some say that humor is the best medicine, and it really is.  My own squabbling children often laugh with me when I try to “Mmmm m mmm mmmm mmm” them towards an armistice during one of my coconut-oil-pulling-sessions.  Twenty minutes is also a decent amount of time to mull over how I’m going to respond to things I would normally react (poorly) to.  What I’m trying to say is…your health is not the only benefit you have to gain from oil pulling.  I know what I’ve learned…but I’m eager to learn what you learn from being a mute for 20 minutes daily.  (Yes; please comment!)

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3 thoughts on “Valuable Lessons I Learned from Coconut Oil Pulling”

  1. Very interesting! I’ve done it once and thought it was so gross, but this makes me want to try again. Any particular brand or type of coconut oil? I wonder if this would help my 14yo with her daily headaches.

    • I use unrefined coconut oil, but any oil should work. Consistency is key. The less refined oils are generally best for the body and coconut oil has a lot of anti-microbial properties I like, but some people really like safflower oil. Oil pulling can help with headaches, but headaches are (from my observation and experience) highly linked to stress and emotions…so a multi-faceted approach might work even better (bio-feedback, emotional releasing techniques like EFT, high quality/balanced mineral water (and more of it! My favorite is water from the Nikken filters, which are very affordable), salt sole, meditation.

    • I just thought of something else I forgot to mention about headaches: daith piercings, particularly in the left ear. It’s a pressure point. I had both of mine done for medical reasons, specifically to target tension headaches, and found it to be helpful. If the “look” bothers you, keep in mind that once the original piercings heal, you can have smaller daiths put in so that they are barely visible.

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