Whiter teeth today via oil pulling

Woman teeth

Click here to receive exclusive guides and articles to help you live well, including your free copy of my ebook “The Essential Guide to Natural Beauty,” containing this treatment and many more!

Just another fad… Or is it?

I first heard of oil pulling many years ago, before I became a Naturopathic Doctor, in fact!  At the time, it was just one in a parade (that continues today!) of health fads that supposedly cures all.  Also see Goji berries, Noni juice, coconut oil, ear candling, etc…

At the time, I thought it sounds disgusting and pointless.  And that has pretty much been my take on it until now.  I finally decided to try this thing several weeks ago, keep reading to find out about my personal experience!

What is oil pulling?

Oil pulling is a simple Ayurvedic treatment to improve oral health that is literally what it sounds like – pulling (or pushing or swishing!) oil around in your mouth.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit of oil pulling is that it reduces harmful bacteria in your mouth, which prevents cavities and gingivitis.  There are a few small studies that demonstrate this effect:

By reducing bacteria, you reduces plaque and tartar formation, which can whiten teeth.  Another cited benefit of oil pulling is that it can also reduce jaw and neck tension by relaxing jaw muscles.  Considering how common it is for people to clench or grind their teeth and end up with headaches and muscle pain as a result, this is a nice side benefit!

UPDATED: What type of oil is best?

Oil pulling has traditionally been done with sesame oil, but in recent years with the craze over coconut oil has led to people using this oil as well.


According to Michelle Hurlbutt, an associate professor of dental hygiene, in a recent article in the Huffington Post entitled Oil pulling might be the next big thing — or not, sesame oil is superior.  In a small study of 45 participants, she found that participants using sesame oil “experienced a five-fold decrease in the bacteria as compared to the water group, while the coconut oil group experienced a two-fold decrease.”  Apparently it is important to keep up the habit to reap the benefits, because she also found that “after the daily oil pulling stopped, levels of the bad bacteria began to creep up again.”

However, Dr. Jessica T. Emery, DMD recommend coconut oil in her article How dental professionals can respond to ‘oil pulling’ patients and a recent study examined coconut oil for gingivitis with positive results.

My experience

Most instructions I’ve read about oil pulling say to use 1 Tablespoon of oil and to swish it for 20 minutes.  I don’t know about you, but that seemed pretty daunting to me!

Maybe I have an extra small mouth or overactive salivary glands, but when I first tried this my mouth got too full too fast to continue more than a couple of minutes.  So, I decided to start with 1 teaspoon of oil and swish for just 9 minutes at a time.  Why 9 minutes?  It’s less than 10, and that seems more doable to me!

I’ve been doing this nightly now for several weeks, and I can tell you that I am now a convert!  Nearly immediately I noticed that my teeth and mouth felt cleaner after oil pulling.  You know that smooth, clean feeling your teeth have after going to the dentist for a cleaning?  I now have that every day!

And, I do think my teeth also appear cleaner and even whiter!

My next dentist appointment is in August, so we’ll see what my hygienist says!

Oil pulling how-to

What you Need:

  • 1-2 teaspoons organic sesame oil or organic extra-virgin coconut oil
  • Your mouth
  • A timer


  1. Floss your teeth first to remove any major food debris (otherwise these pieces will feel gross in your mouth as you swish!).
  2. Place the oil in your mouth.
  3. Set a timer for an amount of time you feel in manageable (somewhere between 9-20 minutes).
  4. Swish oil around your mouth, moving it from cheek to cheek and pushing and pulling it between upper and lower teeth.
  5. Spit oil and saliva out into the sink or garbage.
  6. Brush your teeth as usual.
  7. Repeat daily.

Click here to receive exclusive guides and articles to help you live well, including your free copy of my ebook “The Essential Guide to Natural Beauty,” containing this treatment and many more!

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