Oil Pulling: Better Oral Health


Oil pulling: No, it’s not a medieval form of torture, though admittedly it sounds like it could be painful. Oil pulling is simply a concise term for swishing oil around in your mouth. Not painful at all! By most accounts, the idea originated in India and has been practiced there for a few thousand years. A Ukrainian medical doctor named Dr. F. Karach is credited with introducing the method to the Western world in the 1990s, but many folks still don’t really know what oil pulling is or why they should do it.

Testimonials and experts of all stripes attest that oil pulling helps improve skin conditions, eases headaches, lessens the effects of arthritis, balances hormones, and cures liver problems, which, in fairness, it may do. Few tests have been conducted, and who knows what the healing potential may actually be? It’s not unusual for traditional remedies to be devalued until the scientific world finally puts its stamp of approval on methods that have been helping people stay healthy for centuries.


Does Oil Pulling Work?

What we do know is that studies on oil pulling show a “statistically significant reduction” in gingivitis-induced plaque after just 10 days of using the method. In addition, oil pulling has been found to reduce Streptococcus mutans bacteria, a major contributor to tooth decay. The most recommended type of oil is, no surprise, organic extra virgin coconut oil. A recent report published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine specifically recommends organic extra virgin coconut oil because of its high concentration of Lauric acid. This acid is a proven anti-inflammatory and an antimicrobial. Both traits are valuable for fighting gingivitis and other oral conditions. Other sources that specifically recommended organic extra virgin coconut oil for oil pulling, include natural health specialist Dr. Mercola and WebMD.


How to do Oil Pulling for Better Oral Health

Oil pulling is as easy as swishing mouthwash around in your mouth. You just do it a little longer. Try these tips to get you started.

  • Oil pulling is best done in the morning before eating or drinking, but anytime is beneficial.
  • Use one to two teaspoons organic, unrefined extra virgin coconut oil.
  • Place organic extra virgin coconut oil in your mouth and let it melt.
  • Swish the oil through your teeth and around the mouth for about 5 minutes—eventually building up to 20 minutes. If your jaw muscles feel sore after pulling, you may be working too vigorously.
  • The oil will thin out and become milky white as it mixes with your saliva.
  • Avoid swallowing or gargling the oil as it will be loaded with the debris and bacteria it pulled from your mouth and gums.
  • Spit out the oil when finished and rinse mouth thoroughly. A solution of warm water and baking soda is highly recommended for rinsing.


Why Do Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil?

The odd texture and taste of coconut oil might cause you to dislike using it, but once you discover its health benefits, all these are overlooked. Here are some reasons to do oil pulling with coconut oil.

1. Improved Immunity

When you swish coconut oil in your mouth, all the germs and bacteria are pulled away because you are cleansing your tongue, gums, and teeth. Once you spit out the oil, the microbes in your body are eliminated, hence the improved immunity.

2. High Energy Levels

Normally, if you feel restless, it is sometimes because your immune system is overworked. By giving immunity a boost, you will have enough energy your body needs.

3. A Glowing Skin

There might be no direct link between the skin and your mouth, but skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis can be associated with your gut health. If your gut is in good shape, your skin will glow.

4. Reduced Tooth Decay

Research suggests that oil pulling is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay. When you swish coconut oil, all the cavity-causing bacteria are eliminated.

5. No Bad Breath

Bacteria in the mouth can cause halitosis or bad breath. Through oil pulling, signs of halitosis are reduced.

6. No to Sensitive Teeth

If you feel pain when you eat something too hot or cold, then you might have sensitive teeth. Fret not. Avid fans of oil pulling claim that by swishing coconut oil every morning, teeth sensitivity is reduced.

7. Whiter Teeth

Poor dental hygiene can cause tooth discoloration. Thankfully, oil pulling can bring back your teeth’s natural color.


Who Can Do It?

So, who can perform oil pulling?

1. Children

Yes, children can perform oil pulling, as long as they know not to swallow the oil.

2. Pregnant Women

Using coconut oil for oil pulling is generally safe for pregnant women, particularly after the first trimester. That is because oral health is so important to keep the teeth and gums healthy.

3. Those with Dental Issues

Even if you have dental problems, metal fillings, or crowns, you can still use coconut oil for oil pulling. But just to be sure, you can consult your dentist.


What Others Are Saying

  1. KarenCummingsPalmer @Guidetogorgeous

  • CoconutHealth @CoconutHealth

  • Jillee @byjillee

  • WellScent Apothecary @WellScent

  • Day Lewis Pharmacy @DayLewisGroup

  • mindbodygreen @mindbodygreen

  • 30Seconds @30seconds

Please note that oil pulling should not be considered a substitute for brushing and flossing, but as an addition to your existing oral health regimen.


Written by Tammie Burnsed

Tammie is a freelance and creative writer who usually disparages the term “super food” but makes an exception for coconut oil. Her research for Coco Treasure has turned her into a verified coco-nut, and she’s made peace with that. Tammie lives in sunny California where she enjoys painting, writing and sharing all things beachy with her husband and two dogs.

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