written by CJ Hathaway, CECP
About 4 months ago I started a new dental health routine, including mixing up my own products with all-natural ingredients. I’ve been extremely pleased with the results, including cleaner, whiter teeth and healthier gums. Plus it feels great to know I’m not putting anything toxic into my mouth—or the environment either for that matter.
Sound interesting? You can muscle test yourself to see if this dental health program would benefit you (or ask your practitioner to test you).
This is my daily routine:
Step One: ‘Pulling’ with Coconut Oil
Oil pulling is an ancient practice that originated in India and involves swishing oil in your mouth (like you would mouthwash) for 15-20 minutes.
This may sound a bit weird, but just check out the potential dental benefits:
• Whitens teeth
• Reduces / prevents plaque build up and tooth decay
• Anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic
• Stops bleeding gums, eliminates ‘coating’ on tongue, soothes sensitive teeth
• Cleanses, detoxifies and has overall healing affect on mouth, throat, sinuses
Perhaps, like me, you’ve tried pulling with another oil such as sesame and didn’t like the taste / texture—or just didn’t have great results. If that’s the case, I suggest you try pulling with coconut oil—it’s been a totally different experience for me. I’ve had fantastic results and there’s no ‘yuck’ factor with coconut oil—it has a pleasant taste and very light viscosity.
If you’re still not convinced, consider that after regular pulling with coconut oil, some people have reported additional health benefits such as:
• Reduction of chronic inflammation and toxic burden on immune system
• Reduction of allergies and congestion
• Soothed digestive issues
• Relief from arthritis, diabetes, heart disease
You can find lots of information on the Internet about oil pulling, so feel free to customize a program to fit your own needs and preferences. That said, here’s how I do it:
1. What you need to get started:
• Virgin organic coconut oil (from local health food store or purchase online)
• Essential oil of peppermint (optional)
• Salt water or essential oil mouthwash (recipe below) for rinsing afterwards
2. Best time to do your pulling is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You can do it while engaging in other activities like showering or reading. Just keep in mind that YOU DO NOT WANT TO SWALLOW THE OIL because it’s full of bacteria and toxins, so I suggest not doing anything that involves tilting your head backwards (e.g. certain exercises) because this will likely increase the urge to swallow.
3. Coconut oil is solid at anything less than 76º F, so start by scooping out about 2 or 3 teaspoons of the solid oil in your spoon. No need for an exact measurement here, you just want enough that once it’s melted you can hold it comfortably in your mouth and get a good ‘swish’ going—you’ll quickly get a sense of the amount that works best for you. You can always adjust by adding a little more oil, or spitting a bit out.
4. Once I’ve scooped the right amount of oil, I like to add 2 drops of peppermint essential oil for the additional anti-bacterial action and zing it adds—but this step is entirely optional.
5. Now put the coconut oil in your mouth and start moving it around to warm and melt it. Once it has liquefied, start pushing and pulling it between your teeth, swishing it all around your mouth as you would mouthwash.
6. If you’re like me, when you first start pulling you may not be able to do it for longer than 5 minutes or so. When I first started it brought out a lot of mucous, which would cause me to cough, so I’d have to stop. Just do it as long as you can and over time you can work up to 20 minutes. I can now go for as long as 30 minutes and really enjoy it.
7. When you’re done pulling, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth out well with salt water or mouthwash made with essential oils (see recipe below).
8. Lastly, brush your teeth—preferably using “Snow Caps” tooth powder (recipe below).
A final note on coconut oil pulling—this practice pulls out all kinds of toxins and bacteria, and some people may experience gum abscesses as part of this detoxification. It happened to me and I was initially concerned because there was quite a bit of swelling and discomfort, but I muscle tested and got that it was fine to keep going. So I just continued pulling and if there was any discomfort I dabbed clove essential oil on the area. Within a few days the abscess drained and completely disappeared.
Step Two: Brush With “Snow Caps” Tooth Powder
I’m hooked on this homemade all-natural tooth powder—and everyone I’ve shared the recipe with loves it too!
Swiss “Snow Caps” Tooth Powder*
2 Tbsp. organic ground, dried orange peel**
4 tsp. organic ground, dried sage
4 tsp. baking soda (natural bicarbonate of soda)
2 tsp. high quality salt (e.g. Himalayan pink salt or unprocessed sea salt)
10 drops lemon essential oil
6 drops myrrh essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
Mix all ingredients together well and store in a spice jar with a sprinkle top. Then just sprinkle a bit of tooth powder into the palm of your hand and scoop it onto your toothbrush. The ground sage gives the powder a greenish color, which stains the toothbrush bristles—if this staining bothers you, just use a little hydrogen peroxide to clean the bristles.
I think you’ll be pleased with how well this tooth powder works. It not only makes your teeth feel smooth and clean (as if you just had a professional cleaning), but it also whitens!
Step Three: Rinse With “Healthy Gums” Mouthwash
If you enjoy mixing up your own healthy potions as much as I do, you can also try this simple, easy-to-make mouthwash:
Essential Oil Mouthwash for Healthy Gums*
4 Tbsp. vodka
8 drop myrrh essential oil
4 drops peppermint essential oil
Put all ingredients in a European dropper type bottle and shake well to mix. To use, put 2 drops in a couple ounces of distilled or filtered water and rinse mouth vigorously.
*Tooth powder and mouthwash recipes are both adapted from those found in The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood (one of my most oft-used reference books)
**You can make your own dried orange peel—just use a fine grater and grate only the orange part of the peel (the white part is bitter) and set out on a plate until thoroughly dry. Then pulse the peel in a mini food processor or coffee bean grinder until fine.
I hope your results from this dental health program are as great as mine—enjoy!
“Countless Uses for Coconut Oil—The Simple, the Strange, and the Downright Odd”
By Dr. Joseph Mercola
“How Coconut Oil Might Combat Tooth Decay”
By Dr. Joseph Mercola
“Oil Pulling for a Brighter Smile and Better Health”
By Dr. Bruce Fife
The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
By Valerie Ann Worwood