Oil Pulling: Does It Work?

Oil Pulling


A few months back, I kept seeing the headline “oil pulling”. At first I had NO clue what it was, I thought it had something to do with a car or the earth. 😉 One day, I finally decided to click and was surprised at what I saw….

I was all over it the topic and read multiple articles about oil pulling. There were mixed reviews: some called it a folk remedy with no proof, while others swore it was a miraculous health remedy.

I weighed the pros and cons, and there really were no cons. It was said to be harmless. What was the worst that could happen if I tried? Well, other than wasting 20 minutes of my life, nothing!

Below are the basics of what I have learned about oil pulling.


What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is is an ancient remedy used for cleansing your body of harmful toxins and bacteria. It started in India thousands of years ago and was introduced to the US in the 90’s. There are many testimonials about how oil pulling has helped improve dental health and other issues such as acne and headaches. The main claim, among other many potential health benefits, is that it improves the health of your teeth and gums by capturing and removing bacteria and plaque.

What are the prospective benefits of oil pulling?

*whiter, more polished teeth

*TMJ relief (jaw pain)

*cavity prevention

*stronger teeth and gums; gingivitis prevention

*bad breath remedy

*headache relief

*skin clarification

*hangover remedy

*natural, harmless detoxification

What kind of oil is used for Oil Pulling?

In my research, I found that the two best oils available for oil pulling are sesame oil and unrefined coconut oil. Be sure not to confuse the sesame oil with “toasted” sesame oil, which is a specially oil used for flavor in Asian foods.

When and how do I use the oil? 

Oil Pulling is said to be most effective first thing in the morning. Before eating or drinking anything, gently swish 1 tbs of oil around your mouth. It doesn’t have to be vigorous to where your jaw and cheeks become fatigued afterwards. Gently move the oil around your mouth in order to make it through your teeth and around your gums.

How long do I “swish”?

It is recommended that you swish for 15-20 minutes. Supposedly, 15-20 minutes is long enough to remove the toxins from your mouth. Keeping the oil in your mouth for too long can have an adverse effect. If you swish for more than about 20 minutes, it is said that the bacteria can be re-released back into your mouth. So play it safe with a 20 minute time cap (you will probably be ready to spit by then anyway 😉 )

What do I do with the oil when I am done?

Whatever you do, do NOT spit it down the drain! Be sure to have a container ready to spit in and toss into the trash. I usually have a container with some tissue ready for safe disposal. It can clog your pipes and cause some major problems since the oil does turn into a solid when at room temperature.



My experience:


I started out with sesame oil. I found the flavor a little funky, so I quickly switched to unrefined coconut oil. The texture was weird at first because it starts out as a solid, but it quickly turns to liquid (hang in there!).

At first, swishing for 15 minutes felt like a lifetime. I was watching the clock and could not WAIT to spit it out! After a few times, I got used to it just like anything else. Instead of counting down the seconds to spitting,  I just set my alarm while I made the bed and did other morning duties until the time was up.

I did find that the swishing relieved tension in my jaw. I guess the motion loosened it up after clenching at night (which I sometimes do when under stress). It became relaxing to me.

It is unknown to me if it actually pulled out any toxins or cleansed my mouth of harmful bacteria. However, I did notice that my teeth became a little whiter and felt more polished after brushing.

So, I generally oil pull about 3 times a week. I especially do it the morning after a cheat meal (or wine). I also make sure to oil pull if I feel a cold coming on just incase it really does get rid of bacteria and viruses…it can’t hurt! If nothing else, I can see the whitening benefits and I’m happy with a brighter smile! 🙂




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