Tag Archives: TMJ

O is for Oil Pulling

(NOTE: I drafted this post a while ago. Update at the bottom.)

So, oil pulling. This was a new thing to me when my friend Shannon (hi!) posted this article on Facebook. It sounded ridiculous and disgusting, so obviously I had to try it.

The theory is that swishing natural oils around in your mouth for EXACTLY 20 minutes helps detox the mouth, improve oral health, and supposedly provides a host of other benefits, including improving TMJ symptoms.

Hey, I have that!

Coconut oil has antibacterial/antifungal properties (so they say), and plaque is supposed to stick to the oil. In the interest of giving things a shot if they’re not going to hurt anyone… yeah, we’ll try it.

So let’s see… one tablespoon.

Screw that. I gag on my toothbrush. There’s no WAY this is going to end well. We’ll start with a teaspoon of pure virgin CO.


Note to self: melt the oil in the microwave next time, even if commenters on the article are like, “I GUESS you can melt it first if you’re a WUSS.”

Okay, so that melted pretty quickly. Now, swish around for twenty minutes.


Oh, sweet floundering Neptune.

If this isn’t the least pleasant texture I’ve ever experienced, it’s close. SLIMY COCONUT-FLAVORED BLEEEEEH.

Oh. Saliva. How nice of you to show up.

[Five minutes later]

Well, that was interesting.

Yes, I lasted five minutes before I started gagging and had to spit it out into the trash can. How was that? Here’s a quote from another article for you:

“The oil will get thicker and milky as it mixed with saliva during this time and it should be creamy-white when spit out.”

So… yeah. I’m going to be mature about this and just walk away from that one.

As for the results: Hmm. Well, it got gunk out from between my teeth as well as flossing does. My teeth feel slippery… I guess that’s a good thing? No immediate whitening benefit, but at this point I doubt anything can help me with that.

Annnnd my tongue was so slippery that it just fell out of my mouth and crawled away. It’s hiding under the stove, quivering.

That’s kind of awkward.

Could I do this first thing in the morning? I don’t know. I guess I’ll give it a shot if it might help with the TMJ. Maybe it’s one of those things you get used to, like using a neti pot (also eew, but it does clear the sinuses).

Still, I’m looking forward to moving on to making a body scrub out of CO and sugar. That sounds like a LOT more fun!

UPDATE: After a few days of trying this, my time-to-violent-gagging went from five minutes to an impressive ONE MINUTE. This might not be for me.

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Good Thing/Bad Thing

…sometimes, a thing is both.

Last night, we all (as in, my family, probably not you guys) went to the dentist. For many people this is a BAD THING, because they tend to imagine dentists as sadistic, pick-and-drill-wielding demons. The only thing that brings these fiends more delight than pain is causing frustration, and this they accomplish by asking you questions when they’ve got their be-latexed fingers jammed in your gob, making “Ungh, funghuh” the only possible answer, no matter whether the question is “How are the kids?” or “Do you mind if I remove all of your molars?”

I get that. I went to that dentist once.

But I enjoy going to the dentist. I don’t just mean I enjoy that sexyclean feeling my teeth get after it’s all done, though that’s pretty fantastic. I enjoy the cleaning. The scraping. The picking. The flossing.

I find it relaxing, even when it makes my gums bleed.

So really, that was a good thing in all respects. Even better: No cavities in any of us!*

However, I did learn that I have what they call TMJ, which stands for “Your Jaw Joint is F*%&ed, Yo.” This explains why I haven’t been able to open my mouth far for the past month, and why it hurts when I try. It means I need to wear something like a hockey mouth-guard at night to stop me grinding my teeth, which I will probably gag on, because that is a thing for me.

So that’s bad, right?

Not necessarily.

Yes, it stinks that I have this screwed up jaw. Yes, it’s probably going to be a hard adjustment for me to get used to the treatment, and yes, I wish I could go see my friend’s doctor who actually FIXED her jaw… but he’s in Ontario and I’m not, so that’s not going to happen. Yes, I’m told that I now need to cut up my apples and my sandwiches like a small child, which won’t feel AT ALL weird.

BUT… it’s a good thing that I got it checked out, and that there is a treatment for me, if not a cure for the problem. My jaw might start to feel better once this thing is in place. Even better, I might be able to start my days without headaches. Sure, I might still get the odd migraine, but maybe I won’t wake up every morning with the old “I have to get up for painkillers, but getting up hurts” dilemma.

So bad thing? Maybe. But I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. I’m going to be thankful that we have a good dental and health plan that allowed me to go to the dentist, that will cover my treatment (at least most of it), and that might even pay for part of massage treatments on my jaw (YAY!). I’m going to be SUPER thankful that the end might be in sight for my morning headaches, which continue even though I’ve had some success tackling the migraines lately.

I’m certainly not saying I can do this in all circumstances. I’m not Pollyanna, and a lot of the time is’s REALLY FRIGGING HARD to look on the bright side. Sometimes things happen that just suck, and there doesn’t seem to be much to be thankful for. But sometimes it’s possible to re-frame our way of looking at something, and see how much we have to be thankful for.

EDIT TO ADD: Bonus content! Here’s my friend Hayley describing her treatment, which is what I’d like. She’s the most adorable Bugs Bunny ever!

So tell me: Have you ever had a bad news or a bad situation turn into something you could be thankful for?

(I’m going to leave this here… if you’re offended by mild swearing or Monty Python’s Life of Brian, feel free to skip. For everyone who enjoys their trademark absurdity, enjoy.)

*This was a particular relief for my older son, who’s occasionally called “Bullet-Tooth” around our house because he has several metal teeth. Just one of those unlucky people who get ALL OF THE CAVITIES no matter how careful we are. He IS going to need spacers put in, but not until after Christmas.

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