Oil Pulling For A Healthier Mouth!

oil pulling
Now this is going to strike MANY of you as really STRANGE and don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you just don’t “get it” at first, because I didn’t! As a matter of fact, I read about this thing called “oil pulling” several months ago and thought THAT’S CRAZY! Then I heard my sister Rebecca was doing it and I already knew SHE was a little crazy! ;-) But when my daughter Britta said SHE had started doing it, I had to admit maybe I had been a little too hasty in my crazy labeling. Especially after she had two dental check-ups in a row with no cavities (our family’s teeth are “challenged” in the cavity department.) Her teeth have been noticeably whiter too!

oil pulling

OK…I think I probably need to back up here and explain what this “oil pulling” actually is. It’s a strange name for a seemingly strange practice. Basically, it is swishing oil in your mouth for a short time each day to improve oral health. Kind of like using an oil as mouthwash. The premise is much the same as Oil CLEANSING which I have posted about in the past HERE. Oil dissolves oil and so it is able to break up and swish away plaque and toxins without harming your teeth or gums. It also has the added effect of whitening teeth and improving gums.

It DOES sound strange, right?? But it’s hard to argue with Britta’s results and THOUSANDS of years of Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine of India.

Here’s a quick rundown on how it’s done.

How To Do Oil Pulling:

  • Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil in your mouth. If it’s cold, allow the oil to melt.
  • Swish the oil around in your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for 15 to 20 minutes. The best time is in the morning before eating breakfast, but can be done before any meal.
  • Spit out the oil. NEVER SWALLOW because it is now loaded with bacteria and other nasty stuff.
  • Always spit into the garbage, not the sink. Coconut il will harden below 76 degrees. NOT good for your drain pipes.
  • Rinse your mouth out with water, then brush your teeth.

Many advocates of oil pulling suggest safflower, sunflower or vegetable oil; but studies have found higher quality oils to be more effective. The anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties of organic extra-virgin coconut oil make it the perfect choice for oil pulling. It also has a milder taste.

oil pulling

I used 2 teaspoons of organic extra virgin coconut oil and added 2 drops each of Shield essential oil blend and Melaleuca essential oil. (Many studies have demonstrated Melaleuca’s effectiveness against a number of oral bacteria. That’s the reason it is added to everything from toothpaste to mouthwash to “treated” toothpicks.)

Here is a handy list of other essential oils and their specific uses that could be used as an enhancement to oil pulling that I found over at Camp Wander:

oil pulling

1. Shield: General immune system, mouth and gum health, teeth problems, halitosis, cold, flue, sore throat, virus.
2. Oregano: Flu, cold, virus, sore throat, swollen glands, cold sores, herpes, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antibiotic, anti-viral.
3. Clove: Mouth and gum, analgesic, anti-biotic, antiseptic.
4. Frankincense: Analgesic, cold and flu, mouth surgery, mouth trauma, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory.
5. Geranium: mouth and gum, throat, laryngitis, analgesic, antiseptic.
6. Grapefruit: Cleansing, detoxifying, anti-septic, antibacterial.
7. Lemon: Cleansing, detoxifying, cold, sore throat, anti-septic.
8. Lemongrass: Herpes, halitosis.
9. Melaleuca: Cold, flu, immune system, braces irritation, gum and mouth sores, congestion, herpes, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiseptic.
10. Myrrh: Mouth, teeth and gums, cold and flu, tonsillitis, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiseptic.

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I am extremely new to this oil pulling thing and I have to admit it was a bit unnerving the first time I put a spoonful of solid coconut oil in my mouth…but it literally melted in seconds and after that it was basically like swishing mouthwash around in your mouth, but for a lot longer. :-) My face and cheeks muscles actually got kind of sore when I did it, but I’m sure they will eventually get in better shape.

oil pulling

I think I need to point out that after doing a lot of research on this, there are a lot of wild claims out there about oil pulling and how it “pulls” toxins out of your bloodstream and can cure everything from arthritis to heart disease. While I don’t totally discount these claims, for now I’m focusing on its’ proven effectiveness at reducing harmful bacteria in the mouth and improving oral and dental health.

Basically I see no downside to trying it and hopefully I will have the same results as Miss (soon to be Mrs.) Britta! :-)

Have you ever tried Oil Pulling? 


1. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva
2. Effect of oil pulling on plaque-induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study
3. Effect of oil pulling therapy on dental caries (streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva) as well as plaque-induced gingivitis
4. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque & Gingivitis
5.Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: A randomized controlled pilot trial
6. Mechanism of oil-pulling therapy – in vitro study


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  1. Jenn says

    I’ve been doing this several times a week for a few months now – my teeth are noticeably whiter, and the sensitivity I had has pretty much disappeared. I find that the 20 minutes isn’t too bad if I plan it for while I’m in the shower (which also allows me to not need to speak for a full 20 minutes :) I’ve read that 20 minutes is the optimal amount of time to draw the maximum amount of toxins out before your body begins to absorb them back in. I typically don’t go a full 20, sometimes just 10 or 15. I’ve also found that I prefer the texture of a high quality olive oil over coconut oil (though the coconut oil does have a lovely flavor!)

    However. Within a week of my starting the oil pulling, I was hospitalized with a severe bladder infection. I’ve also had a horrible case of pneumonia and several other infections, and wonder if I am maybe accidently swallowing some of the oil, or if I’m somehow otherwise re-absorbing some of the harmful bacteria?

    • Andrea says

      What’s your hunch, Jenn? Have you decided to go ahead and begin doing it again?

  2. TinaB says

    I used to do oil pulling and my mouth felt wonderful! If your cheeks hurt, you are swishing too vigorously. You gently swish, and then be sure to rinse with salt water to make sure to get out all the germs. I did get bored, but I started doing other chores during the 20 min and the time flew by (I had to set a timer). I stopped because I started finding articles saying not to do it if you have silver fillings, as it will draw out mercury more than with normal use. I miss it though because my mouth has never felt as clean. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to get the silver fillings replaced and I can start back oil pulling.

  3. says

    My teeth are “challenged” too. I am definitely going to give it a try. I figure I will probably work up to the 20 minutes of swishing and pull…

  4. jessica R says

    I have tried it a handful of times. I see no harm in it. I read all the hype about oil pulling removing toxins and cleansing your system. I dont see any harm in it.

  5. Deb says

    TWENTY MINUTES?! I skip mouthwash most nights because I’m too tired t o expend the extra two minutes!

    • blackbearbags says

      You can do it while you’re getting ready in the morning. You can work up to the ideal 20 minutes. Start with a couple and remember, don’t spit it out in the sink

      • Holly Schimpf says

        I do it when I am curling my hair. Takes me about 20 minutes, so works out fine. If I am not thinking about it & busy doing something else time goes by quickly.

    • Mercy says

      The article I read somewhere else said 10min. and I couldn’t even last that long.
      I tell you, you’ve got staying power if you lasted 20 min.
      But, my mouth did feel nicer, better, healthier somehow afterward.

      Ok, I’ll start doing it again …

  6. Diane says

    I have read that oil pulling can loosen fillings, not sure exactly how, but it is something to be aware of that people say might happen. I’ve done it a few times, usually when my gum is aching around my crown. I also do a salt water rinse before or after, so I’m never sure which is making the pain go away, but oil pulling “properly” takes too long, and I get bored and my mouth gets TIRED, so I wont be doing it often.

    • Amie says

      I do the salt water when my crowns hurt too. That said, the oil pulling can’t hurt right? LOL

    • Sally says

      Diane,I talked about this with my dentist last night (he was impressed with how my gums have improved, btw) and he said that the effectiveness of Listerine is that it has essential oils in it – so the oil pulling definitely won’t affect fillings!

      • Gayla says

        Hello, I was wondering if your fillings are porcelain? I also have a crown, which had root canal therapy done to it.. the removal of the root, and filled with medical grade cement to hold my front tooth in place. So I’m a little hesitant to oil pull with everything I’ve read regarding crowns.

    • Rian says

      You can do it daily, in the morning before food and water is best. I have heard you can do a couple times a day if you want.


  1. […] Jillee, has a wonderful post about it as well that dives further into the health information as well as adding essential oils to it for extra benefits.  For now, I’ll do just the oil and see how it goes in a year. […]