The Truth About Oil Pulling

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If you've been on Facebook or Pinterest lately, you've probably heard about oil pulling. As usual, I figured I would jump on the trend early so I could decide how I felt about it...

The verdict? I love it. I first tried it after reading Wellness Mama's post and have tried to do it every day since. I do think I am seeing some whitening of my teeth, my mouth feels cleaner, and honestly, it is just fun. I have noticed that I get excited to do it, which to me is a sign that my body knows it is doing good things.

I do think the name is kind of deceiving. I get that it is supposed to 'pull' bacteria etc from your mouth, but I would really rather call it 'Oil Swishing,' since that is what it is. You're basically just swishing coconut oil (or another oil) around in your mouth, then spitting it out. Simple as pie... just a little less delicious.

The Oil Pulling Process: 

  • You take about 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil - typically coconut oil, which is usually a solid at room temperature, but you can also use olive or sesame - and put it in your mouth. 
  • Let it melt (or, if you're impatient like me, chew it for a second and it will melt quickly) and then swish it around for as long as you can, up to 20 minutes.
  • Then, spit it out. DO NOT SWALLOW IT! It is removing junk from your mouth, gums, and teeth, so swallowing that will partially defeat the purpose.
  • Rinse well and brush your teeth afterward.


Tips for Oil Pulling, Based on My Personal Experience:

  • You don't have to start out with 20 minutes your first time! It might be difficult to do, and honestly, your mouth muscles aren't used to swishing oil around for that long at once, so it might get tiring anyway. Try starting with 5 minutes, or as long as you can go at first, and work up from there.
  • Do it while you are working on something that will distract you. Watching TV? Cooking dinner?  Writing a paper? Whatever it is, find something to preoccupy you. Trust me, it will go by much faster.
  • It helps me to set a stopwatch once I put it in my mouth so that I can keep checking to see how far I've gotten. Also, then I don't have to try to remember what time I started at!

Working on book querying while I swish!

Set a timer - Made it to 20 minutes exactly!

How Does It Work (in totally non scientific terms):

  • First, the oil mixes with your saliva and absorbs the toxins (bad guys) from your saliva. Then, as the oil is swished around and comes into contact with your mouth, gums, tongue, and teeth, it continues to absorb toxins. Then, it is spit out (with the toxins in it) before the toxins can be reabsorbed. Typically, by the time it has absorbed toxins, it comes out as thick and opaque, sometimes even white. (unless you just ate chocolate beforehand in which case that stuff is gon' be brownnnn - been there, done that)
  • Because so much of our holistic health is related to our oral health, many believe that this process also serves to improve health in the rest of the body (see below for specific benefits).

What Are the Benefits: 

According to Food Matters, Oil pulling is "an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for oral health and detoxification. It involves the use of pure oils as agents for pulling harmful bacteria, fungus, and other organisms out of the mouth, teeth, gums and even throat" (Food Matters: The Habit That Can Transform Your Health). Reported benefits are as follows.

  • whitens teeth naturally, without damaging enamel
  • strengthens your teeth and gums
  • helps prevent bad breath by removing bacteria and fungus from the mouth
  • helps prevent diseases of the gums and mouth, such as cavities and gingivitus
  • helps prevent dryness of the mouth and lips
  • migrane headache relief
  • correcting hormone imbalances
  • reducing inflammation or arthritis
  • reduces eczema
  • supports kidney function
  • may reduce sinus congestion
  • reduces insomnia
  • reduces pain
  • detoxifies the body
  • reduces hangovers
  • is fun!


  • Have you tried it?
  • What's your verdict?
  • Any tips I am missing? Share!


  1. This is the first description I've heard that doesn't gross me out. I have to try it!

  2. I'm not going to lie, the first time I tried it I gagged at chewing up the room temp coconut oil. Then I must have gotten too much spit involved and accidentally spilled out of my mouth. Not my classiest moment. lol We will see how it works for me.

  3. I find it fun too xD
    I'm just always stuck at 10-15 mins.

  4. Thank your for the good tips that you have posted in the content. When it comes to gum treatment and mouth problems, I would have to say that the coconut oil products gives the best value. I always choose the best coconut oil pulling deal to make it sure that my treatment would be in exact healing process.


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