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How to Save Money at the Dentist (Hint: Oil Pulling Works!)

The Health Benefits of Oil Pulling!

I have literally been waiting months to write this blog! No kidding.

Do you like going to the dentist? Most of us don’t. I have a great mercury free dentist: he’s open minded to natural approaches to dentistry and some of his hygienists are knowledgeable about natural health, too, …but I’d rather only visit them for my routine cleanings – nothing else!

Going to the dentist can get expensive – even with dental insurance. So I determined after my last visit to make a concerted effort to take better care of my teeth. Mind you, I was pretty conscientious, but saving money is a huge motivator for me.

I thought about all the things they check during a routine cleaning and what my results were. How could I improve?

When you go to the dentist for your a cleaning, do they measure your periodontal pocket depth? If they don’t, you might want to get a different dentist!  Here’s a 29 second video that explains the procedure.

Basically, it checks your gums for periodontal disease. What is that? It’s a topic for another blog, but Mayo Clinic defines it this way:

“Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Periodontitis can cause tooth loss or worse, an increased risk of heart attack or stroke and other serious health problems. Periodontitis is common but largely PREVENTABLE”…..(Emphasis mine!)

The health of your gums says a lot about the health of your body. Bad gums = poor health.
I knew my oral health needed to be a priority, because aging has its challenges. (And yes, there was that saving money motivator, too!) So I set three goals for myself:

1) Floss every day. 

I know, it’s a no-brainer, but it is important. I was pretty good about flossing most days, but still got lazy on occasion. Natural Healthy Concepts has a great Tea Tree Oil Dental Floss!

2) Use my GUM Soft-Picks® every day. 

If you don’t know about Soft-Picks (they’re the little green things in the middle of the picture for this post!), you’ll want to add them to your daily hygiene routine ASAP. The hygienist at my dentist’s office tipped me off to them. You use them in addition to your dental floss.

When I first started using them along with the floss – they did make a difference at my next cleaning! According to the package “Clinical data show that Soft-Picks are as effective as string floss in removing interdental plaque and reducing gingivitis.” Gingivitis is a fancy word for inflammation of the gums and is a precursor to periodontitis. You don’t want gingivitis!

3) Try oil-pulling until my next dentist appointment.

Oil-pulling? If you’re new to the natural health arena, this might be foreign to you, but it’s quite popular. When Dr. Mercola devoted an entire blog post to it, I knew it had some merit. Read his entire post below, and I’ve linked to other posts on oil-pulling. They all have their own spin to it, but the bottom line is it works!

I followed Dr. Mercola’s instructions and committed to doing it a minimum of 5 days a week….and I did.  Since I’m an early riser, it was actually quite simple once I got into a routine.

How to do oil-pulling

You can do this before you go to bed at night, but morning works best for me.

Before you eat or drink anything…..

1) Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth until it melts. I use Garden of Life Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

Sunflower and sesame oil are often used, but I liked Dr. Mercola’s suggestion of coconut oil and since I’m very aware of the amazing benefits of coconut oil (and I like it!) it was a good fit for me. If you decide to try this and need to get used to the taste or texture of the coconut oil in your mouth – start with just a teaspoon and work your way up to a full tablespoon.

2) Keep swishing for 20 minutes.

(Note: Do NOT gargle with it – that’s some nasty stuff in your mouth and you don’t want to swallow it!)

I normally lose track of time and swish for 30 minutes. Don’t over-do the swishing or you’ll get a sore jaw! Stay relaxed – you’ll get the hang of it.

When the time is up, spit it out – remember it’s full of germs, so spit in the toilet or a bag in the garbage!

3) Rinse with baking soda water

Take a cup of pure water mixed with a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and swish it around in your mouth. It’s okay to gargle now! The baking soda water restores the pH levels of your mouth.

That’s it! When you’re finished your mouth will feel really clean and you can brush your teeth.

When I went to the dentist for my regular cleaning, I got great results!  My teeth were whiter (that was a bonus!) the hygienist didn’t have to take a jack-hammer to the plaque on the inside of my lower teeth, but more important, the numbers on my periodontal pocket check improved significantly!

I had so many teeth that went from twos to ones and threes to twos. I wanted to be sure I heard her correctly so I asked for a printout comparing the two visits. There was no mistake, everything was better, oil-pulling works! Take a look at my positive oil pulling results below…

Postive oil-pulling-results

If you have blood sugar issues or heart problems, oil-pulling could be especially helpful for you. This article from United Health says “Better dental care for people with chronic medical conditions can reduce medical costs by more than $1,000 per person per year….”  That’s one way to keep money in your wallet!

If you want to know more about the connection between a healthy diet and good dental health, you should read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price. Your oral health is important to a healthy you.

Update: September 2014
After my previous checkup where I had been oil pulling faithfully at least 5 days a week, I got lazy and only did it two or three times a week. When I went for my 6 month check up, even the hygienist could tell. I had more plaque on my teeth and some of my periodontal numbers went south. I’m back on track now! Just more  proof that oil pulling works!

We’d love to hear how you save money at the dentist – post a comment below!

More From Mary Bloomer About Oil Pulling Benefits

References and Resources:


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41 Responses to How to Save Money at the Dentist (Hint: Oil Pulling Works!)

  1. Health Geek October 12, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    t’s really sceary. normally we won’t think the importance of this – is really not flossing on regular basis connected with heart disease? Where can I find more information?

  2. dentist Redondo Beach October 16, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    What is the expected fee for teeth whitening? I am going to take this treatment.

    • Mary Bloomer October 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      Well, as I’m sure you are aware, teeth whitening from a dentist can cost in the hundred’s of dollars. Using coconut oil from Natural Healthy Concepts will only cost from $11 – $23, depending on the size you get! Quite a deal! If you try it, let us know how it worked!

  3. Raymondkroberts October 26, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    Remarkable findings that oil pulling can help maintain dental health. Most of are not aware about the natural remedies that if practiced can enhance our dental health to a higher level. Dental flossing if done on regular basics can work out wonders. While we look forward to dentistry procedures such as dental fillings, dental implants or tooth whitening we need to make sure about the safety and overall health of our body. Holistic dentistry approach which focuses on overall health and safety of our body works in a manner that proves to be beneficial for our body.

    • Mary Bloomer October 30, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      Thanks for weighing-in, Dr. Roberts, and thank you for going against the mainstream dental ideology by pursuing holistic dentistry! We wish there were more like you out there!

  4. Mt Pleasant Dentist November 14, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Oops, going to have to look this over in detail. Thanks.

  5. oral surgeon indianapolis December 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    I’ve tried the oil pulling before. Definitely takes some getting used to.

  6. Tot Dental December 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    A good printed article, I liked it.
    The information is very useful and will definitely help.
    Best regards.

  7. lauren jonczak January 7, 2014 at 7:26 am #

    Great article, I am all about saving money! I have never heard of oil pulling before, sounds very interesting. I will have to talk to my dentist Jenny Miller from Lexington KY about it. I have a great dentist, she is very honest and wants to see me as little as I want to see her. Thanks so much for sharing, this was very interesting.

  8. Oraviva February 4, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    Nice to see someone doing tests to see if oil pulling actually works or is just a fad. I’ve also had good results with oil pulling in terms of less snoring, clearer skin and whiter teeth 🙂

    • Mary Bloomer February 4, 2014 at 8:56 am #

      Yes, it does indeed work. I just had my 6 mo. checkup and cleaning following the last report I featured in my post, and my numbers continue to get better! It really works!

      • Lynda Rankin November 7, 2014 at 9:28 am #

        Oil pulling really works. I had deep pockets (7) 3 months ago when I went to the dentist. I just had my cleaning this week and my pockets went from 7 to 4. The dentist was shocked and so was I. The taste is really not that bad because I love coconut. I swish 1 tablespoon in my mouth for 20 minutes in the morning. 20 minutes seem long but I get on my iPad and play games and before you know it, the 20 minutes are up.

        • Ashley Steinbrinck November 10, 2014 at 10:50 am #

          That’s an awesome testimony, Lynda! Thank you for letting everyone know!! ; )

  9. Daniel February 28, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    Remarkable post. A ton of tips and information i never heard about. I will start trying some of the techniques as from tomorrow. I got a feeling this will do wonders to my teeth.

  10. Robin March 5, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    I’m interested to know if gums pockets of this depth #5, #6 have been reduced using the oil pulling method? I’ve got a dentist wanting to do laser surgery (his cost do almost 7 grand). I’m using the coconut now along with Essential oils. I have a about a 11 teeth were gum recession and pockets; however the rest of my teeth are fine. Dentist wants to laser surgery the whole mouth regardless. Input if any out there able to reduce large pocket issues would be great to know!!

    • Mary Bloomer March 5, 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Hi Robin, sorry to hear about your dilemma. We can’t give any advice or recommend anything as we aren’t licensed practitioners. It might be wise to do some further research or find a biological dentist for a second opinion, before you proceed; especially since it sounds like you are being very proactive to restore your oral health. I’ve placed a number of links to reputable sites that may have information that can help you (and at a considerable savings.) Paying attention to your diet (avoiding a highly acidic diet and watching the pH levels of your mouth could prove helpful for oral wellness, too, if you aren’t already doing that). Please let us know how things work out for you. We wish you all the best!

    • Angie March 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Robin,

      You might want to contact Judy Caroll from Periopeak Innovations.
      She is located in WA but she cures periodontal disease and there are
      hundreds of people who benefited from it.
      Her website is at
      Also try a product called Periogen, which has stopped the disease from
      getting worse for me.

    • Pro Oil Pulling! May 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      I had pockets measuring: 4, 5, 6 and had full mouth root planing done. After that mess, I vowed to try everything at my disposal to stop the progression of gum disease. I’m happy to report that after 2 years of conscientious routine including: brushing (Regular Crest), flossing, mouthwash followed by flouride rinse – and sometimes daily sometimes more like every other day -3days oil pulling, my periodontal decline has completely reversed. My pocket exam measured mostly 2’s, a couple of 3’s and some 1’s. No cavities and my teeth are whiter than in years.

      (and this with skipping 2 years of the every six month dental cleaning visit!)

      • Mary Bloomer May 21, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

        Way to go! Your diligence and self discipline really paid off and it didn’t cost you thousands in dental work either!

        • Bob August 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm #


          It says “Email (will not be published)”. Most people would like to keep their email addresses private. Please delete any comments in which you’ve listed commenters email addresses.

          • Kasey Steinbrinck August 29, 2014 at 11:09 am #


            Email addresses are never published. They are only there in case we need to respond to someone privately – and to help identify spam comments. You may be thinking of the URL or web address connected to a commenter’s name. This is optional and is only added so that other people can visit that commenter’s site if desired.

            We are unaware of any instance in which a reader’s email would have been published publicly.

  11. RPete March 5, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    I had deep pockets (4,5 & few 6) and have been having teeth cleaned on 3 month cycle. This last span was 5 month and the dental hygentist couldn’t believe how great my gums looked. I had only been oil pulling for a month. When she started to schedule me for another visit in 3 months I told her lets go another 5. You have a believer in me!

    • Mary Bloomer March 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      Great testimonial, RPete! Thanks for sharing your story. It’s such a great way for people to save money – especially if they don’t have dental insurance. Keep up the good work!

  12. Sara March 12, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Hi Mary,

    Do you have any information on oil pulling if you have dental implants. There isn’t much information online, just wondering if it’s safe. I’m assuming one thing to worry about is the whitening aspect, my implants are in the front of my mouth so I’m a little concerned with my surrounding teeth getting whiter while my implants stay the same color, but aside from that is there any evidence that oil pulling is unsafe for implants?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Mary Bloomer March 13, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      Hi Sara, good question! While oil pulling does whiten the teeth, my experience has been that it hasn’t been extreme. I have some crowns in my mouth that I had before I started pulling and I haven’t noticed a huge contrast in my teeth, but my teeth are whiter. It’s a bit more subtle than if you had a professional cleaning from the dentist. You should check with your dentist if you have concerns about this, however – but he/she may not know anything about oil-pulling. As for the dental implant, my husband is now oil pulling and he has an implant (but it’s not in the front). He also had an area with a minor infection in his mouth and the dentist wanted him to use a antibiotic periodontal rinse. He only used it a couple of times and then started oil pulling with positive results. Only you will be able to determine its benefits for yourself, Sara, but based on all the information circulating the internet, it might be worth a try! If you do, please let us know how it worked for you! All the best, Mary

      • Sara March 13, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

        Hi Mary,

        Thanks so much for your reply. This is all great insight. The only concern I had with the implant was the oil pulling loosening the implant. I don’t see why it would but I had read some information about oil pulling loosening crowns and such, but if you haven’t seen that affect that that’s promising.

        I believe I will give it a try, I know my implant traps bacteria and I have sensitive teeth and gums. Thanks so much for the input and response. I’ll let you know how it goes!

        • Mary Bloomer March 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

          You’re very welcome, Sara. The oil-pulling could help, but what works for one person may not work for another. It has proven very helpful for me. All the best to you!

    • Mary Bloomer July 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Sara, I’m not certain about how oil pulling affects dental implants and that is a medical procedure I can’t address since I’m not a doctor. I did find this link below that has some information that may be of help and it contains other information on the benefits of oil-pulling. Hope this helps!

  13. Phuong March 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    hi Mary,

    How long has your husband did the oil pulling? He doesn’t have any affect on the implants? I have two teeth implants on the back teeth. I did the oil pulling for three days. I now feel tender and senstivie (not exactly tender, it is hard to describe the feeling that I’m having right now) on one of the implant. So now I stop oil pulling. I’m afraid it will affect the implant deeper. Could you please share any insight about the oil pulling on your husband implant after a few days of oil pulling? Thank you in advance for your help.

  14. Omprakash Bera July 9, 2014 at 5:26 am #

    Hello Mary Bloomer,
    Interesting post! Entire description is really helpful for me. Above two videos are great to know vital information about cleaning teeth. Steps of oil-pulling are just awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing it with us.

  15. Jennifer August 3, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    I started oil pulling last week, had a bad tooth ache in my wisdom tooth in the far back, used coconut oil, and chewed it until it melted then swished, it really helped, and I do not feel the pain as I once did it is barely a toothache back there, I have no insurance and live in a small town the cost to have it pulled is more than what I had at the time of the toothache, I am going to continue this, and see if it will clear it completely, as I have read on many other blogs that it cures a cavity.

    • Mary Bloomer February 11, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

      Thanks so much for sharing your story, Jennifer! We hope you will continue to have good results. All the best!

  16. john July 10, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    I am just wondering if i can do oil pulling since i have gum recession. I have read something online that says it make damage your teeth since you have gum recession. is that true.

    • Mary Bloomer February 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

      Hi John, that’s a question for a holistic dentist. I’m sorry we can’t address specific conditions since we aren’t doctors. We hope you find a solution!

  17. Janine August 6, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    after having a scaling three months ago and very red and inflamed gums.. I started taking extra care of my teeth… I brush twice a day and flossed often… I use a natural toothpaste with no chemicals…Three weeks ago I started oil pulling and I have noticed whiter teeth and my gums were not inflammed. The dentist wanted me to go see the periodontist and I was excited to hear the news thinking that my numbers went down… Even though some did go down there are still some 6 and 7s And to my surprise she said unfortunately I will need gum surgery!!! I am at loss for words! I was so surprised to hear this since I saw an improvement and feel an improvement… She mentioned that I have some bone loss too.. I am going to get a second opinion next week but my question is from this information.. Has anyone experienced this and do you think it could possibly reverse if I continue to oil pill or do something else?
    It’s so weird because the first thing she said before she took all the numbers was wow your teeth look white and strong. Ugh! So upset!!

  18. Carrie October 1, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    Hi Janine.

    I’m curious to see how your situation has changed since August?

    I had the deep cleaning done about a month ago and have been very diligently brushing, flossing, rinsing with The Natural Dentist (aloe vera), and water piking… I went to the dentist the other day 1 month after the cleaning and while some of my numbers improved and the gum swelling reduced, she was still concerned about the bleeding (though my gums weren’t as bloody as before). She recommended I see the periodontist, scheduled for next week, and I’m afraid that it’ll lead to a recommendation for periodontal surgery… I added oil pulling to my oral hygiene regime but I’m afraid too little too late…



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