What the heck is oil pulling?

Up early this morn, enjoying some quiet time and squeezing in a little early oil pulling!

Agreed, that does sound a dodgy start to the day but, the fact is, I have been sneaking out of bed early for this morning practice more than a year now. One, two or, happy-days, three times a week if I can manage it.

Absolutely best done first thing before anything else (tooth brushing, coffee, food). I go for it if I am up early enough to avoid my boy. This saves us both a whole lot of poorly executed daybreak mime during the 20 minutes or so it takes me to finish. 😉

A fly on the wall seeing the first time Gav toddled along mid-swish would have had a right chuckle. Suffice to say hand signals do not cut it in an explanation of how/why/where you got the yes-perhaps-a-little-bonkers idea to pop a tablespoon of coconut oil into your gob and jiggle it about for 20 minutes before then jettisoning the whole lot into the bin. Hehehe.

Never heard of this lark? Neither had I before my desert dwelling neighbour provided  enlightenment. Merci. 🙂

A little read of this post about the why and how might help me to convince you to give this ancient Ayurvedic practice a go. As a relatively long-time convert, I can only say, this bunny is feeling the benefit and encourage you to expand your horizons too.


No, it does not replace brushing but for me the added health benefits I derive from this three-step process (oil, salt rinse, brush) – far outweigh the weirdness of the event. I just tie it in with whatever else I do to the start of the day: social media, email, journal. To date I have, quite sensibly in my opinion, avoided downward dog. 😉

If you Google the topic you will find lots of reasons it’s good for you (along with those saying it makes no difference at all!) but having had days I have actually felt little bits of I-don’t-want-to-think being “pulled” from between my teeth (but I swear I brushed last night!) I am sold.

In complete disregard to decorum I will admit I have even seen the teeny culprits in the milky white remains I mistakenly inspected in the sink! NB I say mistakenly as you can actually block your drains this way .. don’t do it .. inspect in a saucer while you still need validation of your morning silliness and then progress to a confident spit in the bin, is my earthy recommendation. 😉

For the last 5 months I have improved the pleasure factor of the process tenfold by adding in a drop or two of peppermint oil. Said improvement, my friends, leaves me with a minty tang and fresher breath than my morning brushing alone can provide. I am also happy to absorb all the therapeutic benefits of a great hit of gorgeously pure peppermint in the a.m. An energising and uplifting addition to my morning routine.

Prep Time: 1 min
Takes: 20 mins

1 Aus tablespoon (20ml) pure coconut oil (organic if available)
1-2 drops peppermint oil

Pop both into mouth and swish about for 20 mins. Do not gargle. Do not swallow. Spit into the garbage when finished. Rinse mouth and teeth with a weak solution of salty water (I use Himalyan Pink). Brush teeth (and tongue) as required.


Little points of note ..

Trying this for the first time in a cool climate? You will find your coconut oil solid .. never fear as it soon goes liquid in your mouth and quickly allows the required mouth shooshing to proceed with as much abandon as you can muster at this hour of the morning.

If you get a “stretched mouth” feeling with the full tablespoon, spit a little out into the bin until you feel comfy and unlikely to dribble. That can be unsightly. Another reason to go solo on this. 😉

If 20 mins seems too long and your mouth is getting tired, stop. You will progress longer next time. Go with what you can do, enjoy, build up! Training your cheeks to move like this is a new experience. Maybe enhances cheek bones too? Who knows?


In this, as in all things, be gentle on yourself. Well done you for having a go I say!

Love to hear how you fare! Funny stories greeted with joy.

Local and international curiosity welcome on all things oily.

4 thoughts on “What the heck is oil pulling?

  1. shelley@hhh Post author

    Hey lovely,

    Great question!

    Here is me going virgin organic (i.e. unrefined) cause it sounded the best and the choice was confusing here! Your question made me go research it! Couldn’t help myself! Thank you. 😉

    Check out http://www.evolvingwellness.com/post/how-to-choose-a-coconut-oil-comparing-best-and-worst-brands .. great read on what to choose if you have that luxury. Not all of us do, hey? 😉

    Obviously, you would always go with the best you can get/afford but, at the end of the day, you are also spitting it out, right? Yes, there is absorption through you gums but my gut would say if you are happy to eat it then using it to oil pull would be no different.

    Fingers crossed that helps .. if anyone has other views or info I would love to hear about it? This is all just based on what I would do for me, after all. 😉

    Love n sunshine from Aus,

    Shelley 🙂

  2. Barbara Jones

    Hey, just started oil pulling and I have noticed the benefits almost immediately. Reduction in mouth ulcers! Fresher breath! And whiter teeth. I did start with organic virgin olive oil but maybe the coconut oil is more beneficial? Thank you for the tips of peppermint oil, sounds refreshing. I’ll try it.

    1. shelley@hhh Post author

      Hey lovely! So great you are feeling the benefit. Definitely give the coconut oil a try .. I really like the light, fresh feel it leaves xx


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