Why You Should Start Oil Pulling Today

According to Research: Why You Should Start Oil Pulling Today
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In recent years there is a growing trend of oil pulling to improve oral health, but this trend is not new. And indeed the technique of oil pulling or oil swishing has been with us for a long time and is a traditional folk remedy that was mentioned in Ayurvedic medicine for oral health.

People who practice oil pulling absolutely swear by the great benefits oil pulling has done to their oral health, such as brightening their teeth, treating bleeding gums and gingivitis.

This technique didn’t break into mainstream alternative medicine until a naturopath and nutritionist named Bruce Fife wrote about it in his 2008 book Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing. Research has also confirmed that oil pulling has great benefits for oral health.

Oil Pulling – the Research

Study #1: Oil puling can reduce plaque and gingivitis

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue and is one of the most common diseases among the population. This is actually a real epidemic – about 95% adults suffer from periodontal disease of some degree during their lifetime. The source of the infection is bacteria that inhabit the oral cavity, infect the teeth (plaque), hardened and become tartar.

A 2009 study was conducted to compare oil pulling and chlorhexidine (a synthetic compound used as a mild antiseptic) in adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis. Both oil pulling and chlorhexidine mouthwash were effective against gingivitis.

The researchers concluded: “The oil pulling therapy showed a reduction in the plaque index, modified gingival scores and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.”

Study #2: Oil pulling can reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth

Streptococcus Mutans is one of the main bacteria in the mouth and a key player in plaque buildup and tooth decay.

In a study from 2008 with 20 boys, oil pulling (using sesame oil) caused a reduction in the number of Streptococcus Mutans in the plaque in as little as 2 weeks. The researchers concluded that “Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health”

It was not as effective as a Chlorhexidine mouthwash, but much cheaper and MUCH less nasty.

Study #3: Oil pulling and dental disease

A research paper that was published in the African Journal of Microbiology Research in 2008 concluded: “The effect of oil-pulling on the reduction of total count of bacteria was determined. There was a remarkable reduction in the total count of bacteria. The process of oil-pulling reduced the susceptibility of a host to dental caries.”

Study #4: Oil pulling  for maintaining oral hygiene

A review published in 2017 in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine published information on the effect of oil pulling for dental health. Researchers have found that oil pulling helps to reduce the overall number of bacteria in the mouth and can help reduce the amount of plaque on the teeth. It also helps to address the problem of bleeding gums and improve symptoms of bad breath.

Oil Pulling Using Cold Pressed Oils

This technique involves the use of cold pressed oils to pull harmful bacteria and other organisms out of the mouth, tongue, teeth and gums. Sesame oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil are the most recommended oils.

Other oils such as extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed have been used too. In any case, using high quality organic oil into the mouth is critical to the effectiveness of this practice. The role of the oil is to pull out toxins from the saliva and acts like an antiseptic mouth wash.

The Practice of Oil Pulling itself is very Simple

Take about 2 tablespoons of oil when you wake up in the morning and before you eat anything. Swish the oil around your mouth, teeth, gums and tongue for about 15-20 minutes (yes, this is not a mistake – you can do it while you prepare yourself for the morning to come, while in the shower, watch TV, or while doing work around the house to help pass the time).

During that time the oil will have changed its color to whiter or yellowish color. Don’t swallow the oil, as the whole aim is to get rid of toxins, so if you swallow any oil, you put the toxins back into your body.

After 20 minutes spit all the oil out (it is recommended not to dispose the oil in the sink drain or the toilet, as the oil accumulates and can clog the pipes).

After spiting all the oil, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and brush your teeth as usual and floss. After this is done, you can drink and eat as usual.

Dr. Andrew Weil, American medical doctor and naturopath, which writes about holistic health, asks in his website whether oil pulling is a realistic remedy. This is a good question especially when it involves a practice that consumes quite a lot of time every morning and is not particularly pleasant to do.

So the question “to pull or not to pull” still remains, and I will leave it up to you to decide. Have you tried oil pulling? has it helped you? share your experience with the readers.

Using more coconut oil in your daily routine is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

If you suffer from gum infection, you may also want to read my article How to Treat Gum Infection (Gingivitis) Naturally:

How to Treat Gum Infection (Gingivitis) Naturally

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116 Responses to Why You Should Start Oil Pulling Today

  1. Sarah says:

    Coconut Oil is amazing for many different things. I have very dry skin so after my shower in the morning I use coconut oil as a full body moisterizer. It is also an amazing deep conditioner for damaged hair (just don’t put it in if you are going to heat style your hair as it will cook it). For oral health I have beenoil pulling once a week for about a ear. It has helped with sensitive teeth and bleeding gums. I tell all my friends to do it aswell. I feel it is a good detox also as if I miss a week I get headaches. Everyone should have coconut oil in their home medical cabinets. There are so many uses for it!!

  2. Maria says:

    I had read that oil pulling even helps you sleep better at night and I can swear by that. The first day I pulled I slept like a baby! I kept pulling for almost a month but because of the time it takes in the morning I started getting lazy and not doing it any more. Unfortunately I don’t sleep as well any more.

  3. Marcia says:

    I have a couple of mercury fillings, and heard I should not fo oil pulling because of thst.

    • Jenny says:

      I’ve heard that too, however there are different opinions about it and some suggest there is no harm. I suggest that you check it with your dentist.

    • aviyyan says:

      Hi, I’ve heard its coconut oil that’s bad for fillings and amalgams. You should try with Sesame oil, that’s the first oil of choice for oil pulling.

  4. Amy Chan says:

    Apply a thin layer of coconut oil in your nostrils before you sleep, then you won’t have a nosebleed when you wake up in the morning.

  5. Kathy says:

    I’ve been oil pulling for a little over 3 months. I saw your article & thought I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did! I’ve had remarkable results! I’ve suffered with gum disease & bleeding gums all my adult life. I have many crowns/bridges. Due to gum disease. I have to get my teeth cleaned 4 times a year. My normal routine includes water pic/flossing/proxy brushing/ tongue brushing/ brushing teeth/gargling. Now, I’m oil pulling, too. At my last dental appointment, my hygienist said, “WOW! Your teeth are so clean, especially under your bridges. I won’t have to spend the normal time I do with u.” I smiled & said, “I’ve been oil pulling.” After she got done flossing my teeth, she said, “your gums didn’t bleed this time like they normally do.” When the dentist came in he said, “I’m here to check your gums.” He said, “I can’t find a trace of gum disease anywhere! Whatever it is you’re doing differently, keep doing it!” I WAS THRILLED! Oil pulling makes my mouth feel so clean & whitens & makes my teeth shiny. My complexion is clearing up, too. I have or HAD adult acne all my life. BTW, my dentist just had a seminar on oil pulling & said oil pulling is safe, but keep on brushing & flossing. It’s not to take the place of anything, but in addition to one’s normal routine. I do 20 minutes, twice a day. If I’m short on time, I do this while I’m showering or when I’m on the computer. Always set a timer. Wish I would have known about this years ago!!!!

  6. Kim says:

    What form do you buy this in, liquid or solid? And where can I find it? Does it need to be organic?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Kim, you can buy coconut oil in supermarkets or health food shops. It usually comes in a solid form, unless you live in a hot climate (coconut oil is liquid above 75 degrees F. (25 C.), and below that it will be a solid). Always opt for organic, virgin coconut oil and avoid all the refined stuff (there is a refined and unrefined coconut oil – choose the unrefined as it has all the health benefits). You can also use other cold pressed oils.

      • Allie Larkin says:

        I have been oil pulling for a few years now. I also add a few drops of therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil and my mouth has never felt so fresh. My dentist has been amazed at how healthy my teeth and gums are, and I have not gotten sick in a long time. I recomrecommend it to everyone.

  7. Lenna says:

    One suggestion for those with a strong gag reflex : start with smaller amounts of oil and work your way up. Also, try different oils as taste and texture vary.

  8. Tiffany says:

    Started using this maybe 3 weeks ago I can feel a difference I have ra and getting the toxins out has helped my pain relieve though I mainly take it for the whiter teeth part ive noticed a difference after just 2 weeks and I don’t do everyday, I try also don’t do for 20 minutes started at 3 worked up to about 12/15 now so even if you don’t do for 20 to start you should see results so glad I found out about this! 🙂

  9. aline says:

    Does coconut oil not leave your mouth greasy afterwards?
    Also I have veneers is that safe? To use coconut oil for oil pulling?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Aline, after spiting all the oil, you rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and brush your teeth as usual and floss – read my article about oil pulling that explains the whole technique: http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/oil-pulling-for-oral-health/
      As for veneers, I have read that the risk of veneers getting removed from oil pulling and eating food is about the same, but if you have any doubt, talk to your dentist about it.

  10. arpita says:

    I have the habit of drinking water before brushing my teeth as it has immense health benifits…so if i want to start oil pulling can u suggest when can i do that..before drinking water or after drinking the water?

    • Jenny says:

      Oil pulling is done when you wake up in the morning and before you eat anything. I don’t believe that drinking pure water before that will do any harm as it’s not food.

  11. Mia says:

    Hi all, using fluoride toothpaste causes gums to bleed, i thought i had sensitive gums as they always bled after brushing, but since using ‘natural’ non fluoride toothpaste for the last year i haven’t had any problems or pain, so try switching 🙂

    • Patricia says:

      I had just the opposite effect. I switched to natural toothpaste and am now plagued with bleeding gums, and my teeth don’t feel as clean. I’ve been thinking of incorporating oil pulling into my routine but the thought of swishing in oil for 20 mins makes me want to gag! Glad to know others started with a few mins and worked up … maybe I’ll try that.

    • carolyn says:

      Fluoride toothpaste is also the cause of many thyroid problems. It deplete the thyroid of some nutrients.

  12. Dalphine says:

    Hi Jenny, how many times a day / week would you have to do this for? thank you x

  13. Lynda says:

    I was just at the dentist yesterday. Have been oil pulling with coconut oil, sporadically for a few months. This was the first time I had been to a dentist in probably 3 years. I’m 53. There was some sign of gingivitis, just a bit, but when the dentist did the stain thing which measures for bacteria/plaque, there was just a very ‘minimal” amount. I could tell she was surprised. I’m not savvy about dental related things, but I understand gingivitis can normally be caused by plague build up. I think the oil pulling has definitely helped in that regard and will maybe even, with time, reverse the bit of gingivitis that was seen. I’m going to keep it up more regularly and see!!

  14. W. Rangai says:

    I use organic sesame oil. It’s the first oil of choice for oil pulling indeed.

  15. Is it OK to do oil pulling before bedtime because thats the most convenient time for me to do it as I am usually in so much rush in the morning?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Marissa, in all the places I’ve seen they say to do it first thing in the morning before eating anything. I’ve seen a reference in the oil pulling forum that other people asked the same question and you can see what others replied – http://curezone.com/forums/am.asp?i=1013055

      • Deepak Awasthi says:

        2 Queries :

        1st : Can I use Mustard Oil for Oil Pulling?

        2nd : Can Oil Pulling will harm to Cap teeth & to filling tooth?

        • Jenny says:

          Cold pressed mustard oil is fine. As for your second question – I’ve heard that too, however there are different opinions about it and some suggest there is no harm. I suggest that you check it with your dentist just to make sure.

  16. Favour Emeka says:

    Hi Jenny can one combine shea butter and coconut oil in hairt treatment?

  17. Norma Cruz says:

    Oil pulling delivered everything it says it does. I am very happy doing it. Mostly my nice white teeth, now I can smile and not be ashamed.

    • renee says:

      Do it whitening your teeth I am struggling with dingy teeth and I want them to come back whit keep trying everything I see on tv and nothing works….. help

  18. JL says:

    I don’t like coconut flavor, but adding several drops of peppermint oil to my coconut oil makes it palatable & kind of tingly.

  19. abel oliveria says:

    what if thres no coconut oil.what alternative oil is safe to use?

  20. Rebecca says:

    I use the oil after I brush my teeth. I am reading here that you do it first, why?

    • Jenny says:

      It’s important to brush after oil pulling and clean the mouth thoroughly as toxins are drawn out, so there right order is first to do oil pulling and then brushing your teeth.

  21. Meme says:

    15-20 minutes might sound like a long time (it did to me at first too), but you’d be amazed how fast the time goes by when you keep yourself busy (i.e. do it while in the shower, getting dressed, checking your email, tidying up the house)..b4 you know it, 20 minutes has gone by and you can now spit:-) Remember, you can still swallow while you are oil pulling, ya just gotta swallow from the back of your throat and not the goop in your mouth:-)

  22. Josefa says:

    Does it has to be done in the morning only? Or can I do it any other time of the day?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Josefa, oil pulling is best done in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, although I’ve read that Dr. Bruce Fife (a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician) suggests that it can be done before each meal if needed for more severe infections or dental problems.

  23. Bianca says:

    When using cold pressed Raw solid coconut oil, do you have to melt it first?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Bianca, it will be more convenient to slightly warm it first to bring it to liquid consistency and then swish it in the mouth.

  24. Marcia Umpa Harokave says:

    Will I use the coconut cooking oil or the coconut oil for the skin. Please advise. Thanks

    • Jenny says:

      Use coconut oil that specifically mentions on the label that it’s organic and virgin (or cold pressed). Coconut cooking oil is usually the refined stuff and this is not what you want.

  25. Tara says:

    Do you recommend trying this on children? My 5 year old genetically has bad teeth. Is there a lesser amount of time she could try?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Tara, oil pulling is safe for kids once they are old enough not to swallow the oil, and if they don’t have any allergy for the oil they use.

  26. Mamtha says:

    Can you recommend coconut oil name which is good to use.

    • Jenny says:

      There are many brands that sell organic virgin coconut oil and it depends on which country you live in, so I can’t recommend a specific brand. Just make sure to read the label on the package to make sure it’s organic and virgin (sometimes called “cold pressed”).

  27. jamal says:

    Hi, I came across your article by mistake but really by the grace of God after praying and couldn’t help myself by reading your article. I am presently dealing with a bad bacteria in my wisdom tooth in the back of mouth that requires an extraction according to my dentist. What I want to know is, will this oil pulling help me because this is the first time I am hearing about this….

    IF its possible, which oil do you highly recommend

    Please respond, thank you…

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Jamal, oil pulling is good for a general maintenance of oral health, but it has its own limitations in treating really bad conditions. In minor cases of gum infections for example it can help, but if the condition has deteriorated or already bad, these cases require proper dental care rather than home treatment. If you are in doubt whether your wisdom tooth requires removal, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion from another trusted dentist. As for recommended oil – as mentioned in the article, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil are the most recommended oils, but other oils such as extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed have been used too. In any case, you should use a high quality organic oil to achieve the most benefits of this practice.

  28. Lisa says:

    Can lesser amounts of time be effective? I have jaw pain and cannot swish for 20 minutes, the pain would be beyond excruciating. I have a hard time getting to 5 mminutes.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Lisa, this is what WebMD website recommended under “Oil-Pulling Tips“: “Start with just 5 minutes a day. Twenty minutes of swishing is a long time, and while the longer you pull, the more bacteria you’ll remove, 5 or 10 minutes will still offer some benefit”…

  29. Eden says:

    WOW… is all I can say after reading this reading this article and the comments last night. I woke up this morning found sesame oil and set the timer to 20 mins and began swishing.

    I will admit, the thought alone of oil swishing around in my mouth made me almost not do it, but I did(not as bad as I thought).

    After about 10 mins I noticed the consistency of the oil changing, it felt much lighter and tolerable, and after a few per ejaculated spurts, I wad surprised to see the oils consistency did change.

    The big reveal, when I spat it out into a bag, DOUBLE WOW, mymy teeth looked as though I had been to the dentist, and my last visit was April 2. The retainer wire in my mouth felt cleaner than ever, as well as my tongue.

    This is AH-MA-ZING! I will be doing this on a weekly basis and telling my friends and family.

    Kudos!!!

  30. Tatyana says:

    I find oil pulling to be amazing! First thing I do every morning when I wake up. When I first started I thought to myself, 20 minutes? Lol but then after doing some things to past time, it became so easy. Recently I’ve been having tooth pain and my gums was swollen on one side of my mouth and going through life right now lol and I did some research and I would oil pull with coconut oil about twice a day and the swelling in my gums went down and the pain went away. I noticed a difference everyday and throughout the day at how better it was getting and I love by oil pulling more than I did before lol. Its amazing!

  31. Rahela says:

    Thanks Jenny for great information. …

  32. clare says:

    Kindly give me specific name of oil to use?

    • Jenny says:

      You can use either of the following: Sesame oil, sunflower oil, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, or any high quality organic oil cold pressed oil.

  33. rosal says:

    Hi jenny.Have read this article and find it very interesting for me…want to try this at home.but what would be the best time for me to do oil pulling since i’m working at night.

  34. neevan07 says:

    My wife told me a year ago, and it was only last week I started oil pulling. The results are amazing. Optimum results are when you do it at least 15 minutes. So far, I feel my breath is fresher and I feel my gums are healthier. Last night, amazingly some of the plaque came out and that has really made be believe it works. Please do try it and it will reduce your visits to the dentist and have a better dental hygiene (please do continue brushing your teeth twice a day, ;)). Wish I started earlier, but better late than never.

  35. Lee says:

    Hello. I have gold caps on my teeth will oil pulling be safe for me also?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Lee, I’ve read that oil pulling generally doesn’t affect ceramic or gold restorations, but I guess it’s best to consult with your dentist first just to be on the safe side of things.

      • Dave says:

        Sorry Jenny, but most dentists probably no nothing about oil pulling just as most don’t know about the dangers of mercury and flouride. Also, many of them don’t want the sheeple knowing about anything that would actually improve oral health and take $$$ out of their pockets. Sad, but probably true!

  36. robi says:

    Hi jenny, I recently read this article and find it interesting, i want to try it but in morning i’m in rush to start my job. So can try it in afternoon when i get back home?

    • Jenny says:

      There are different opinions about it. I guess that it’s better doing it afternoon than not doing it at all, but for a more thorough cleansing and according to Ayurveda, its best to do this in the morning, before eating or drinking.

  37. Raffid says:

    Which oil should I use?

    • Jenny says:

      It is said in the article that sesame oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil are the most recommended oils, but other oils such as extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed have been used too. In any case, using high quality organic oil into the mouth is critical to the effectiveness of this practice.

  38. Reta says:

    This may be my saving grace! I don’t have dental insurance anymore and I’m worried about my teeth. Where do I find cold pressed or non-cooking coconut oil? And do I heat it in the microwave or on a pan? My second question is about my cap, will it affect my cap (not gold or silver or metal looking)?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Reta, you can buy organic virgin (unrefined) coconut oil is some supermarkets or health food stores or online. Don’t heat in the microwave or pan – if it’s a warm day it will quickly melt in your mouth while swishing it. In cooler days you can just put a glass with the coconut oil in a bowl with warm water and after a few minutes the coconut oil will melt. As for your second question – there are various opinions about it, but many people with fillings use it without any problems. However since I’m not a dentist, it’s always good to get the OK from a dentist to be sure.

  39. A.J. says:

    I use Costco’s 100% organic pure unrefined virgin coconut oil. I oil pull while in the shower in the morning. The 15 minutes is up before you know it!

  40. Rina says:

    I have a discolored front tooth from a fall I once had rollerskating. Will oil pulling whiten that tooth as well to be the same color as the others?

  41. emily says:

    Does extra virgin olive oil whiten the teeth too?

  42. Donn says:

    I brush with turmeric, leaving it on for several minutes before my normal brushing. What are the thoughts on benefits of mixing the turmeric with the coconut oil when doing the pulling (more to save a few minutes since it only takes me about 20 minutes to get ready for work. ;o)?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Donn, I’ve seen several references that add a little bit of turmeric to the oil to enhance the effects and reduce infection. I’m not sure if the turmeric powder will cause a slight yellow tint after swishing it for 20 minutes (in comparison to 3-5 minutes when you leave it after brushing with it) but I guess it worth experimenting with it (perhaps in the weekend so you don’t go to work with a yellow smile).

  43. Kathy says:

    I have partial dentures. Do I wear these when I swish?

  44. Sophie says:

    Please can I use groundnut oil to pull? What do you mean by the term ‘cold pressed’? Thanks.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Sophie, you can read about cold pressed oils in wiseGEEK website (see here). Groundnut oil (peanut oil) can be either refined or cold-pressed, so read the product label to make sure it’s cold pressed.

  45. Andrew Scilley says:

    I am so pleased that this information is being shared. My dental health has never been so good, as a lazy brusher, oil pulling has given me a head start. Even my dentist was amazed and now is also informed about the benefits. I prefer organic coco oil for the taste and texture, although olive oil is not unpleasant as are most others, I used walnut for a while.
    I am 54 years old and still want to look my best, of course. There are less bottles and boxes in my bathroom cabinet, now I only use natural oils for skin , hair and teeth. Not only have I saved a small fortune, but I feel, and have been reassured on many occasions that I look just fine.I believe that my regular facial moisturising, alternating coco, argan and avocado oils have made the wrinkles disappear, the excess gives my hair a healthy shine, moisturises my hands and removes the need for hair gel or balme. Ladies watch out, I’m back.

  46. Vhonda (Vhon) says:

    Hi…I am thinking about oil pulling, but I am disabled and rely on carers (my husband and a private carer). unfortunately first thing in the mornings will cause a problem where oil pulling is concerned especially before breakfast because of commitment to others and routine… I can understand why you would do it before eating to get the 100% benefit from it. but surely even by oil pulling an hour after breakfast, maybe giving your mouth a good rinse with water before starting or even before bed would give you some benefits of oil pulling… and surely some benefits are better than non. kind regards Vhon (Weston Super Mare ~ UK)

    • Jenny says:

      From what I’ve read, you can do it at other times of the day as it’s better than nothing (same as swishing it for a shorter amount of time is better than nothing). I wouldn’t recommend though to do it right before bed as I’ve read that some people have trouble sleeping afterwards.

  47. Beverly Burnett says:

    I have heard that you should do the oil pulling in the morning…my question is, can’t you do this at night before bed and get the same good results?

    • Jenny Hills says:

      From what I’ve read, and as you can see from my replies to other readers that asked the same question, you can do it at other times of the day as it’s better than nothing (same as swishing it for a shorter amount of time is better than nothing). I wouldn’t recommend though to do it right before bed as I’ve read that some people have trouble sleeping afterwards.

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