I’ve been coconut oil pulling for 3 years now. It’s been one of the smallest yet most significant habits I’ve added to my health routine, and one I love to share with others.
With a regular habit of coconut oil pulling, I and my husband have:
- Whitened teeth and gotten rid of stains
- Reduced sensitivity in our teeth
- Reduced plaque
- And even healed a cavity!
Whenever I blog about it, ya’ll have lots of questions, so I thought the best way to help you begin coconut oil pulling was to take you step by step with a video.
I must really love you guys. I’m about to post a video of me swishing oil in my mouth.
Here’s the run down if video isn’t your thing…
Step One: Get yourself some coconut oil.
For oil pulling, you want to use the highest quality coconut oil you can get your hands on. (Hint: it should smell like coconut oil. That means it hasn’t been over-processed.) I have found good quality coconut oil at Aldi’s, Wal-Mart, and I know Costco carries good stuff. But I also like to purchase mine online because so I get the discount of buying in bulk. I often use Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil, but also like the Carrington Farms brand. I can get both with free shipping off Amazon.
If you’re concerned about gagging over a spoonful of oil in your mouth, you definitely want to go for the purest coconut oil you can find, or consider a coconut oil that’s been flavored with essential oils. There are now some great products out there for coconut oil pulling enthusiasts who want that fresh, minty flavor as part of their oral health care routine.
I had a chance to sample the Minty Fresh Coconut Oil from Coconut Life Force. These guys have done a nice job with quality oils and great packaging. My husband and I both enjoyed the mint flavor and agree it really adds to our coconut oil pulling routine.
Step Two: Get the oil in your mouth.
The morning after you get your coconut oil, scoop out about a teaspoon of oil and put it in your mouth. We oil pull first thing in the morning because you’re supposed to do it on an empty stomach, though Dr. Mercola says you can do it anytime. My husband or I will pull out the jar of coconut oil and spoon a teaspoon into our mouths, and then leave the jar out for each other.
Coconut oil is usually hard at room temperature (it melts at 76 degrees) so we chew/mush it around in our mouths till it becomes liquid. If the very idea of chewing a semi-solid oil bothers you, then you can melt it quickly in a small pan on low heat. (I don’t recommend microwaving oil.)
Step Three: Swish…for 20 minutes.
This is the part that intimidates people, but the hardest part is just that you can’t talk while you’re doing it. It’s really actually quite entertaining. We do sign language or write notes to each other if we need to communicate while oil pulling, but since this is first thing in the morning, there’s not usually that much that we need to say, so we just go about our morning routines, swishing away while we get dressed, begin breakfast prep, make a smoothie, check email.
Yes, it takes a few days to work up the muscle tone to swish constantly for 20 minutes, but even if the oil is just in your mouth, it’s in contact with your teeth, so taking breaks between bouts of swishing is OK. You also may experience a build up of saliva when you first start coconut oil pulling–just spit excess liquid out and keep on swishing. Don’t worry, your saliva glands will get used to your new habit and will settle down after a few rounds of swishing.
Step Four: Spit and Rinse
Once you’ve swished that oil around for 20 minutes, it will have been broken down by your saliva into a thin, bubbly stream in your mouth. Spit this out in the trash so you don’t risk clogging your sink with the oil over time. Next you’ll probably want to rinse your mouth out–there’s residual oil and who-knows-what toxins it may have pulled from your teeth. I do a good swish or two with cold water, and then I’m done.
To Brush, or Not to Brush?
I don’t usually brush afterward, and actually don’t brush my teeth regularly since I began oil pulling. Not only have I come to believe that vigorous brushing and especially flossing are invasive and can be harmful to our gums, I find I don’t need to brush as often. The coconut oil pulling has reduced plaque on my teeth and leaves them feeling so smooth and clean, it’s as if food doesn’t stick to them as easily.
How Often Should You Oil Pull?
If you are addressing cavities or other oral infections with coconut oil pulling, you will want to oil pull at least once a day, if not before each meal. My husband had a huge cavity which he healed within a month with daily oil pulling and cod liver oil supplementation. But the cavity left quite the crater in his tooth, so he has to be diligent with oil pulling to keep that spot from gathering more infection.
I, on the other hand, have never had a cavity, so my oil pulling routine is a little more laid back. I think of it as maintenance mode–I oil pull 3-4 times a week, and brush gently with water or Earthpaste if I feel my teeth need it in between.
Increasing Nutrition During Oil Pulling
In order to truly heal tooth decay, it’s crucial to increase nutrition during when you are oil pulling. We enjoy a diet rich in traditional foods like bone broth, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, animal proteins, and sourdough. If you need help making the switch to more whole foods in your diet, check out my book. It can also be helpful to supplement with cod liver oil to get extra Vitamin A and D into the diet. It’s important to find to choose a product that has a 10 to 1 ratio of Vitamin A to Vitamin D. This is the ratio at which these vitamins are best absorbed and utilized. When Jeremy and I feel the need to supplement, we take two capsules daily of the Twinlab brand Norwegian Cod Liver Oil which equals 5000 IU of Vitamin A and 540 IU of Vitamin D a day.
Oil Pulling Long Term
Some people are concerned about the idea of making coc0nut oil pulling a long term habit. Our personal experience has been that oil pulling is a gentle and sustainable tooth care routine. Our teeth have been stronger and cleaner since we began, and after three years, we are not experiencing any negative side effects.
However, oil pulling should be done in conjunction with a healthy diet so that our teeth actually have the nutrients they need to remineralize and stay strong. A truly nourishing diet includes quality proteins, raw and cultured dairy, and probiotic rich foods–which you can find simple instructions for in my book, Your Real Food Journey.
So, that’s it, folks–how to start coconut oil pulling if you’ve never done it, and what our oil pulling routine looks like after nearly two years. If you want to read more about this amazing technique, visit my Guide to Oil Pulling page. If you have a question, be sure to check out those posts first. And if you have an oil pulling success story, please share it in the comments!
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