Zen and the Art of Oil Pulling

Oil-pulling and homemade toothpaste is on the agenda today, kiddos.  I know it might seem silly to make your own toothpaste, especially when the kind I like is only $.88/tube.  However, I was one of the ones to jump on the Coconut Oil bandwagon early and got hooked on oil-pulling. The toothpaste came later.  I had such great results that I wanted to keep the oil but only do the pulling once or twice a week.

(That’s what she said.)

Oil pulling is pretty easy in theory.  Swish around about a tablespoon of coconut oil for up to 10 minutes. Doesn’t that sound simple?  The first time I tried it I nearly vomited because I used organic coconut oil that was NOT fractionated, so it was not in a liquid form, I just figured it would melt right away and it wouldn’t be a big deal.  It did not melt right away, it was totally a big huge disgusting mistake on my part.


I only made that mistake once.  Now I keep my oil in a little ramekin that I stole from Chili’s when I was in college right on my sink on a cup warmer that the Hubs got me a couple years ago.  It’s perfect because I’ll just put a spoonful in the ramekin when I go to bed and when I get up it’s melted and a little warm.  It is much easier for me when it’s a little warm, I have a really bad gag reflex, so I have to be very careful about what goes in my mouth.

(That’s what she said.)

When I started, I would do it for 30sec/day.  Then I built up a little more, and a little more.  I know I have never done it for 10 minutes straight.

(That’s what she said.)

As I was saying, for me it usually ends up being around 5min—I start as soon as I walk in the bathroom, and swish until the shower is hot.  Please make sure you are spitting responsibly.  

(OMG I’ve waited my whole life to say something like that! My inner-13yr old just burst with joy!)

Coconut oil hardens as it cools–if you spit it in the shower, it’s going to eff up your pipes.  End of story.  I tried keeping a jar in the shower to spit in, thinking it would be like the grease jar I have in the kitchen, but dude. OMG. BAD BAD BAD idea.  You are spitting out all the bacteria and gunk from your mouth and let me tell you, not only will it get moldy in the jar, but it stinks when you open the jar. Like, A LOT.  Yes, the grease jar smells too, but I can hold my breath and keep my head FAR AWAY while I dump bacon grease in the jar.  Spitting in a jar, yes you can hold your breath, but your face HAS to be right there and that smell lingers. I’m just telling you how it worked for me.  You do you—spit how you wanna spit, but do it in a way that won’t cause you to call the plumber mmmkay?

I have always had “bad teeth”—weak enamel, my adult molars came in with cavities, the whole 9.  It’s a genetic thing that I get from my Dad.  Bad teeth and a big nose…Thanks, Dad!  However, it makes me very cognizant about taking care of my teeth because I don’t know if you know this, but crowns are crazy expensive and I have 7.  I could buy as new car for all the money I have put into my dental care. (I almost said my mouth instead of dental care, but I wasn’t sure if you were ready for another “That’s what she said.”.)

Oh, and small sized mouth with the large sized gag reflex?  Not only is that NOT a joke, but it comes with an amazeballs story about the importance of having a dentist you trust.  When I was in elementary school we went to a dentist that was in Elmira, so about 30-40min away.  Halfway there, there used to be a place that I want to say was named Shedden’s.  If you were heading towards Elmira it was on the right,  past the blueberry farms(all the locals will know what I am talking about). My treat after a good dental appointment was always stopping for ice cream on the way home.   This was actually my very first filling—all the adult molars came with cavities, remember?  Since my Mom knew what “getting a filling” was all about, she gave me a pre-novocaine treat and we stopped for an awesome double scoop cone with the best chocolate ice cream ever.  Do you know where this is going?  Just hang on, it gets better.  I grew up in the 80s, and being a child of an imaginative mind meant I wore whatever whenever.  White after Labor Day? Who cares!  I loved my white jeans. I wore them everywhere.  Are you wondering?  YES, I was wearing them that day.  Let’s move on…we get to the dentist, they Novocaine’d me up and I wait.  Nothing much really happened, a little numb but not tons. I told him I could still feel and needed more.  Keep in mind that I’m like 9 or 10.  I’m not a junkie needing a hit, I’m a little girl who chokes getting mouth xrays, so please please more drugs.  Nope.  The dentist was not giving me more. I remember my Mom arguing with him and I remember him dismissing my concerns due to my age and telling me to just “be a good girl and quit complaining”.  I’m laying there in the chair, trying not to cry because it hurts, but also just trying to keep my shit together because every now and then one of the instruments would touch the back of my throat and I’d start to gag.  At one point I did put my hand up because I felt a retch and got yelled at for misbehaving.  Not two second later he drilled out a big chunk of my tooth which preceded to fly to the back of my throat and get stuck because my mouth was dry but gummy, you know how it is at the dentist.  With the proper amount of novocaine I probably wouldn’t have even felt it, but I did not have the proper amount of novocaine and I did feel it.  I can still feel it in my memories, a tiny jagged piece of bad tooth stuck to the back of my throat.  I had the most split of seconds to figure out what to do, and my sassy little self thought “I TOLD YOU SO!!” as brown chocolate ice cream barf came spewing out of my mouth, catching the dentist in the face, the arm of the dental assistant, all over my white jeans, and the carpet.  I was accused of doing it on purpose.  We found a new dentist the next day who was able to finish the filling.  I don’t wear white jeans anymore.  Ever.
I have told this story to every dentist I have seen as an adult. And every dental hygentist. Anyone who is near my mouth in a professional capacity hears this story.  I used to drive over an hour to the dentist because I AM that crazy person who will only let someone she trusts completely inside her mouth.

(That’s what she said!)

Now I have a fantastical dentist who is right around the corner, the kiddos love them, I love them.  They know about my gag reflex and handle it better than anyone ever has.  They are amazing.   According to my records with them, since I started oil-pulling my teeth have stopped being “as bad”, meaning I still have crappy teeth, but no NEW badness has happened, just fixing the fillings that are broken and need to be crowned, etc.  I firmly believe this is from oil pulling.  When I pull on a regular basis my mouth feels better. My teeth feel like I just left the dentist every day. My gums don’t bleed, and my sinuses clear out.  My skin even clears up. And this is with pulling every 2-3 days.


Due to my amazing results with pulling, I decided to make my own toothpaste so that Coconut Oil was a part of my daily oral care even if I wasn’t pulling.  There are literally dozens of recipes for making your own toothpaste, go check it out on Pinterest!   For mine I use the smaller size Ball jar.  I add a couple spoonfuls of coconut oil and microwave it until it’s liquid, then add baking soda while I whisk it, one spoonful at a time.  I can’t say exactly how much baking soda I use, maybe 3-4 spoonfuls?  It’s about consistency for me, so I tend to be heavy handed with the BS.  Make sure you whisk it good so it doesn’t settle, and put it in the fridge with the top on.  FTR, I glue the lid of the jar to the ring since they separate for canning.  I make about 3oz at a time and that lasts a LONG time.

The last batch I made was a little different.  After adding the BS, I whisked in a small spoonful of activated charcoal powder.  I had been using it for awhile separately but it just made sense to add it all in rather than dipping my toothbrush in it everyday.  I have found charcoal to be fantastic for people with “bad teeth”.  There are tons of articles if you want to do your own research.  What sold me on the charcoal initially is that the charcoal can bond to your teeth and “fix” potential cavity sites.  I mean, white teeth are nice, but I want healthy teeth that won’t cost me any more money.   And after my last dental visit, I have no new cavities, and she said this is the healthiest my teeth have ever looked and “Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working.”.  Sounds good to me!

Just to warn you, this is what it will look like when you add in the charcoal….


and it will make your sink a MESS…


But you will be left with pretty and HEALTHY teefers when you are done.


If you don’t like the taste you can always add a drop of lemon or peppermint essential oil.  I don’t have a comparative before/after picture for you, I just know I have a great smile and my teeth look pretty darn white to me!  And with that, I call it a day.



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