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Oil Pulling for the Skeptics

Apr 14, 2014

If you're not a blogger then you probably haven't heard of oil pulling, because it's all the rage right now in the blogger community but none of my friends know what I'm talking about. All the blogs claim multiple studies have shown the miraculous health benefits of oil pulling, but I can't find any such studies, and as a journalist at heart, I like to see the primary information source before I state wild claims of swishing with coconut oil cleansing your blood and junk.

I tried it out because, after my dentist brought attention to a stain on my tooth and asked me if I drink a lot of tea (of course I do, I'm from Georgia) and then buffed it off with what looked like a nail file, I've been concerned that my teeth are getting dingy. Crest White Strips are so expensive that they put them behind locked glass at my CVS, so I considered Comet but settled on coconut oil, a healthier alternative. The idea behind oil pulling is that, after swishing around the oil for a while, it pulls out toxins from your mouth and supposedly makes your breath fresher and teeth whiter.

For the past two weeks, I've been oil pulling with Trader Joe's coconut oil that I keep around for cooking. Coconut oil is an excellent high-heat oil -- and olive oil is not although most of us use it that way -- plus I love the light coconut flavor that it adds to food. At $5.99 a jar, it's the least expensive coconut oil I've been able to find. A tablespoon a day is all you need.

You're going to put that tablespoon of oil in your mouth. I know how revolting that sounds. But just trust me on this, it's not that bad. The oil is pressed and in solid form, so it's going to take a few seconds for it to melt, and you might have to break up a few pieces. You're also going to panic at first that you're going to choke on oil and spew it all over your shirt, or worse, what if you have to sneeze, or something funny happens, or a freak gasoline fight ensues? A) Keep an empty water bottle handy; and/or B) You'll clean it up and just put Dawn on your shirt before you wash it and everything will be fine. Just don't try cooking with coconut oil on your gas range if you were in a gasoline fight, okay?

Say it with me now...ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCCINO! Happy Monday, y'all.

Timing is supposedly key in oil pulling, and I've read that anywhere between 10-20 minutes is good. I do 20 minutes just to make sure. The time passes way faster than you'd expect.

When you oil pull doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. I like to oil pull first thing in the morning, when my voice is too groggy to sound human anyway. You can do it in the shower or while you're doing whatever your morning routine entails. You can oil pull in the evening or whenever you want to do it, really, but it's tough to find 20 minutes in the middle of your day. Someone who oil pulls in the evening told me her breath is fresher than it's ever been when she wakes up in the morning. Noli's breath is way worse than mine, so I'm not too worried about morning breath.

Just swish it around, pull it between your teeth, gargle if you want to, I don't care. But whatever you do, don't spit it out in a sink when you're finished. By now you should know that oil in a drain is bad news, so keep an empty water bottle or jar or yogurt container or baggy around, and spit it in there then throw that out. Yes, even if you rent.

WOW! My teeth look exactly the same! To be fair, I took this photo after the first time I did it, but to be fair on the other hand, my teeth still look exactly the same two weeks later. HOWEVER. The one HUGE difference I've noticed since oil pulling is I haven't gotten a sinus infection, and believe you me, my sinuses have been trying their best to get infected since everything started blooming. After years of chronic sinus infections, especially during the winter and spring months, my ENT recently recommended I get sinus surgery. I have PTSD from last year's ankle surgery (still can't tell if I'm better or worse off) and also surgery is expensive, y'all, so I wasn't looking forward to that.

I have no idea what is happening with the oil pulling or if it's even related to the oil pulling, but as long as I stay sinus-infection-free, I'm going to continue oil pulling.

One more time...Oil pulling.


  1. I love the photos of you swishing the oil around! And you still look so damn cute. Coconut oil is awesome for moisturizing too. And don't rush into sinus surgery-I had it once and was better for a year or so and then back to square one.

  2. Totally trying this! Thanks for sharing xoxo!

  3. Sounds very interesting. It's not just mouth care but also drainage care. :D I love that part, when you must not spit it on the drain but rather spit it on a jar or something. I've also read more tips about oil pulling in this site. Try checking it out.

  4. I've been wanting to try this out and reading basically everything I can find about it... So happy you found such inexpensive coconut oil! Thank you for sharing!