OP Day Two (Oil Pulling, that is)


I have no correlation to speak of, but the day I turned 61 I decided to change up how I care for my teeth. Like I said, if there’s a connection I’m unaware! It is day two of a strange practice called oil pulling; swishing around coconut oil in my mouth to rid it of toxins.

My first day (see post for my introduction to oil pulling) wasn’t very successful. I op’d for about a minute!

Swishing  a  teaspoon of coconut oil around in one’s mouth, pulling mucous and saliva out from the gums, tongue, roof, teeth, and sides of the mouth into the oil, is just plain gross.  Supposedly, I am drawing out toxins, providing a cleaner mouth, preventing gum disease and other issues, and perhaps whitening my teeth.

Notes on oil pulling for day two: melted the coconut oil first for less grossness, swished for about five minutes, and couldn’t take it anymore.

Portrait of a Lady Oil Pulling

I thought I might get some inspiration and motivation from my OP friends so I asked for a little commentary on their experience. My good friend, Sheila, is super conscientious about what she puts in her body. Unfortunately, a diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease has pushed her to change up some of her daily practices in hopes of lessening her symptoms. But Sheila refuses to back away from the challenge and presses on to the best possible holistic regime she can find.  Sheila also presses into prayer to sustain her in times of Lyme’s discouragement. A retired nurse, spiritual guide, and current doTerra consultant, Sheila dedicates herself to good research regarding Lyme’s as well as overall general health.

Here are Sheila’s responses to my little oil pulling questionnaire:

Do you oil pull? Yes

How often? Not often enough– about once every other week/few weeks

Which oil do you use? Unrefined organic coconut oil

What is your technique? 1 tablespoon swish for about 15 minutes, spit out in garbage (NOT in sink)
I have added 1-3 drops of essential oils occasionally. I have alternated clove, oregano, and OnGuard. On Guard is my “go to” first if I add any oils. Clove is good for dental pain. Oregano and OnGuard are good for fighting infection.

How long do you swish? About 15 minutes

What have been the results? Cleaner mouth, less tartar, improved teeth sensitivity and reduced dental pain

Are your teeth whiter? Not sure

Less cavities? Not sure but it definitely did help soreness of a tooth that has a crown

Do you believe other physical aspects are improving? Better immunity

(Thanks to Sheila for sharing.)

It certainly doesn’t take much time, cost, or effort to oil pull. But I’m a little wary. If it’s so great, why aren’t more of my friends doing it? Or are they? Maybe that’s one of those personal things no one likes to talk about. . .

Two simple items are all you need: a teaspoon and coconut oil.

And then there’s Ruth. Ruth’s an inspiration to oil pull, since she’s shared so many positive results with me. Ruth has been oil pulling for about a year and a half. Her feedback is a bit different from Sheila’s; it’s been interesting to hear from a variety of pullers. Ruth is my earthiest, most homespun, crunchiest* person I know. A retired teacher, former pastor, and compassionate healing caregiver, Ruth pursues a life of physical health and spiritual wholeness.

Here are Ruth’s responses to my little survey:

Do you oil pull? Yes.

How often? Almost everyday.

Which oil do you use? Organic coconut oil

What is your technique? I put a teaspoon of coconut oil in my mouth, allow the warmth of my mouth to melt it, and begin swishing.

How long do you swish? When I first began, I swished for about 15 minutes. But once I sensed an overall improvement in the freshness of my mouth, I decided I could stop swishing after three minutes. This is the amount of time it takes now for my mouth to feel clean and fresh. I LOVE how it feels after I oil pull!

What have been the results? It relieves the pressure and congestion I get when my sinuses are acting up. I believe it makes me healthier and is a preventative practice. At my last dental appointment, the dentist wondered if I was seeing another dentist between visits because my teeth were so clean. (Funny, sounds like Ruth’s dentist is accusing her of dentist cheating!)

Are your teeth whiter? I believe it whitens my teeth.

Less cavities? I’m not sure, because I’ve always had strong teeth.

Do you believe other physical aspects are improving? Yes, because the oil pulls out bacteria, viruses, and other nasty stuff. That impacts other areas of my body.

(Thanks, Ruth. Hope you don’t mind the crunchy label.)

So, do you OP?

Would love to hear from you and what you think of it.



*About this word crunchy. There are about as many definitions for crunchy as there are there for that elusive word, post-modern. One definition that works for me is from crunchymom.com. Here it’s connected to the role of motherhood.

Crunchy Mom defined: A crunchy mom is someone who doesn’t just accept the “status quo”. In all aspects, pertaining to herself and her family, she delves into the mountains of information desiring to look at all sides of all issue with the intent to provide for her family, to the best of her ability, the healthiest life she can. “Natural Living”, in it’s various forms, is often the conclusion and thus, the common thread that defines crunchy moms to the on looker. However, because each individual and each family dynamic is different, the desire to provide what’s best, and working tirelessly to that end, is at the heart of what defines a crunchy mom. 


Do You OP? (Oil Pulling, that is)


Why? Why would I swish around a bunch of chemicals in my mouth when I strive to eat farm to table food, take vitamin supplements, and use natural, non-toxic products in my environment?

Such were my unspoken questions at my last appointment when the dentist prescribed a mouth rinse to help with my dental care. Funny how my people pleasing behavior immediately kicked in. I politely listened without asking any questions or giving any feedback to his recommendation. So I have no idea if my dentist had an alternative suggestion. And he hasn’t a clue that I try to avoid chemicals as much as possible. Plus, because I didn’t bother to probe, I came away with a lack of understanding regarding his concern for an increase of fluoride. I could have at least given the guy a chance to explain himself further before I dismissed the idea.

For all he knows, I am following his advice.

Sigh. Still working on that assertiveness thing.

Nevertheless, it’s time to be more involved in taking responsibility for my teeth. Those ingredients I bought for homemade toothpaste aren’t going to do me any good sitting on the shelf. I still haven’t taken the time to call around for a dentist that practices an integrative or functional approach to dentistry. And I’ve procrastinated on oil pulling.

So today, as the crunchy folks say, I op’d.

I oil pulled.

In my opinion, it was disgusting.

But I’m convinced I need to try. Natural, and seemingly rather strange practices, have wrought good results for my physical health. Thanks to advice from a medical doctor that offers a holistic approach, my cholesterol numbers have dropped from 286 (that’s correct, 286) to 196. That’s without the use of statins.  My husband met with the same doctor who prescribed two natural ways to reduce the volume of his ever-present, intrusive tinnitus. And they worked!

So what is oil pulling and why do it?

Do you OP?

Basically, you take a teaspoon of organic, good quality coconut oil (other oils are recommended as well) and swish it in your mouth until it becomes somewhat foamy. After about 15 minutes (depending on which article on the web you want to believe) you spit it out. Rinse your mouth with warm water and follow with a good teeth brushing.

Some experts dispute the benefits of oil pulling and claim they are a myth. Other earthy health nuts, trained doctors, and regular folks swear by it.

There is a simple explanation behind this odd thing.

According to EarthClinic:

“The theory behind this home treatment is that as the oil swishes around teeth and gums it ‘pulls’ bacteria and other debris into the oil, detoxifying the mouth. Our mouths are laboratories breeding billions of nasty critters: viruses, bacteria (Streptococcus), parasites and fungi (Candida) and all of their toxic waste products. All of the above contribute to gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other oral problems.”

Some oil pullers have found that it whitens their teeth. Others claim it helps them lose weight. (Don’t ask me how.) Testimonials abound that oil pulling has helped ________(you fill in the blank).

I am REALLY curious.

Do you OP?

I’d love to hear from you.

And maybe I’ll do it again tomorrow.