All About Oil Pulling

The first time I tried oil pulling, I was at the end of my rope. I had been fighting a disgusting cold for weeks and the coughing and congestion was killing my joie de vivre completely. I was SO OVER IT. I took to Twitter to vent about my ongoing illness and was offered a barrage of helpful (and not so helpful) advice. One of my Twitter friends – @Yolioliya of Yoli’s Green Living suggested I try oil pulling. And I was all like “Oil pulling, what’s that?” Yoli wrote all about it on her blog and put me up on game. Check out her post about it. Yoli convinced me to try it and after a week or so of consistent, daily oil pulling I could tell my illness was on the way out. I became an oil pulling evangelist.

 

oil-pulling

 

Oil pulling is nothing new, from what I have read, it’s been a part of Indian Ayurvedic culture since the Charaka Samhita, which has been dated back to the Gupta period, 300-500 CE. A LONG time ago. Wikipedia defines it like thisThe practitioner rinses the mouth with approximately one tablespoon of oil (sesame and sunflower oils are the most recommended) for 15–20 minutes on an empty stomach (before eating/drinking) then spits it out.

That’s it and that’s all.

I’ll admit, I can’t swish oil around my mouth for THAT long. If oil pulling requires that kind of endurance, I fail. I generally try to make it to two minutes and then repeat two or three times. I pull the oil through my teeth and around my tongue and mouth, making sure it doesn’t touch or go down my throat. Then I spit and spit and spit some more. Repeat as necessary. Even though I only can successfully oil pull for short periods of time, here’s what I’m doing and here’s my results.

I started oil pulling again because I recently had to endure ongoing, not-fun-at-all dental work. Cavities, gum issues, tooth pain, no bueno. My plaque situation was at a critical level and I was prescribed a medical rinse that could best be described as foul. This stuff comes with a warning that it might stain your teeth and will affect the flavor of things you eat – not just immediately after rinsing, but in general. YUCK. I was waking up with the taste of this horrible chemical rinse in my mouth, even after the dentist told me I could stop using it. My tongue was discolored. My breath was awful and regular mouthwash wasn’t helping me to get rid of the flavor of the medicated mouthwash. When I looked up ways to improve the flavor of your mouth and color of your tongue, the internet led me back to oil pulling.

When I did more research into oil pulling, I noticed that oral hygiene is a major factor for folks who try it, and online, oil pulling has been said to benefit people with everything from halitosis to cavities and abscesses. For more on oil pulling, oral hygiene, bacteria, and the supposed benefits to immunity, read Jon Barron’s exhaustive post on the subject. The breakdown in that article is informative and very helpful.

Within days of restarting an oil pulling regimen, I noticed a difference. My tongue didn’t look stained by mouthwash anymore. Neither did my teeth – in fact, they looked cleaner and whiter. When I woke up in the morning my breath didn’t smell awful and my mouth didn’t taste like chemicals. In fact, my morning breath was becoming more like regular everyday breath – not bad at all. I noticed that flossing was easier and more productive – bits of food that might have required hard work to remove rinsed out easily. And if I felt at all phlegmy, oil pulling helped me regulate that ASAP.

It’s been maybe two or three weeks, and the difference is REAL. I’ve been using virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil (my brand of choice right now is Kelapo Coconut Oil, I use it on my hair, my skin, and now in my mouth). Untoasted sesame oil and  sunflower oil are supposed to be the most beneficial and my plan is to run out to Whole Foods or look online for some very pure sesame or sunflower oil next, and a tongue scraper as well.

That’s been my oil pulling experience. So far it’s been great and I’ve noticed real differences. I actually look forward to doing it every morning. Of course everything isn’t for everyone and I’ve heard from several folks who say oil pulling made them nauseous, or didn’t work, or seems like it wouldn’t be truly beneficial, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. For example, it didn’t work for this blogger at Simple Homemade. But it worked for me!

So I wanna hear from YOU. Have you tried oil pulling before? What are your thoughts, what’s your experience, and what’s your advice for folks who are curious?

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Comments

  1. I’m trying this. Starting tonight.

    Thank you!!!

    • Virtress The Goddess says:

      i started pulling 2months ago when i came across a holistic article on what all it can do for ur body. when i found out that it was good for the whole family, get rids of bad breath, colds, hiv/aids, cracked feet and can save u money on docotors bills. i was pretty much 100% all n. now my answer for everything for people with drama and period cramps is to take an oil pull and miss me with the rest of the non-sense.

    • Virtress The Goddess says:

      the bst time to oil is 1st thing n the morning, pulling makes u hyper,lol

      • I have only been pulling for three days, but it does seem to be making me hyper. I was not sure if it was because spring is coming and the days are getting longer, or because of the oil pulling. I googled it, and you are just about the only person I have found who has said that it makes you hyper. I may have to cut back to every 2 days or so or pretty soon I won’t be able to sleep!

  2. I’ve been oil pulling for a while now, ever since you posted an article on your FB page! Granted, I haven’t followed through every day, but when I do it regularly, I notice my teeth are whiter and my breath isn’t funky!
    I find it easier to pull for longer when I’m doing something else at the same time…I usually oil pull while I make my breakfast or do some early morning writing. I’m going to stick with it and see if my dentist notices a difference in my gum health at my next appointment!

    • Hello I tried the oil pulling with the sesame oil but I got allergy systoms my head got congested I didn’t realize it was allergy systoms until I started doing research on it so I stop doing it I also eat black sesame seeds. so I stopped the pulling with the s.oil will try oilve or coconut oil see how that work.

  3. Never heard of it before, but I’ll give it a try. Sunflower oil is super abundant here (in Tanzania), in fact I’ve a big bottle in my kitchen, so I’m off to give it a try.

    Can’t hurt.

    Thanks, Bella

  4. I’ve never heard of oil pulling. Almost makes me think I’ve been living under a rock. It makes sense though based on the same principle my grandmother used in giving my castor oil. Because it’s an oil, it’s pulls all the yucky stuff away and out. I will try this over the weekend.

  5. Never hread of or tried it but just might.

    Hope your mouth heals.

  6. What about brushing your tongue/teeth with honey? try it just once and give me feedback.

    • Why would you brush your teeth with honey? Honey is sugar… sugar ferments on the teeth and the acids from its fermentation erode enamel. It would make more sense to dry brush with something like Food Grade Fossil Shell Flour–something that soalks up bacteria.

      • Kristina says:

        Actually, honey has more antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties and has been proven to boost immunity in the teeth, sinuses, and overall immunity health of the body. Honey is a natural form of sweetener, not sugar…it is not processed and fake like other kinds that form acidic erosive damage to the tooth…honey helps…my philosophy has always been, “if God made it for our benefit, then it is good! ;)

  7. AmberLinn says:

    I have tried oil pulling a couple times with great success! For some reason, I just keep forgetting about it :P Interestingly enough, just yesterday, I was reading one of my favorite health guru’s (Andreas Moritz, Timeless Secrets for Health and Rejuvenation) and came across a section on oil pulling.
    He recommends only keeping the oil in the mouth for 3-5 minutes before spitting… in this way, none of the toxins pulled out are reabsorbed into the system! (This might be why some people have experienced nausea)

    Thanks for the reminder – my boyfriend is going through some pretty major dental problems right now – need to get him swishing!
    Cheers :)

  8. You mentioned this a few weeks ago on Twitter. I actually had the same oils you mentioned around my house b/c I use them on my hair. So far so good.

  9. Christine says:

    I was having some tooth pain a while back and started oil pulling intermittently, but do notice that my mouth feels nicer afterward. I haven’t had a cold lately so I can’t speak to how helpful it would be with that. It didn’t make a difference in my allergies, and whenever anything is touted as a cure all I get twitchy – but for my mouth and gums, it helps. I can’t make it to 15 mins either. I can usually only get it for maybe 5-10, but hey my gums feel happier for it (when I remember). Now I’ve just got to make it a more consistent habit.

    Hope your tooth woes are better! Despite the fact that the oil pulling helped, I found an amazing dentist who fixed a messed up old filling that had apparently been aggravating my gums for years. Thanks former crappy dentist! So, that has helped lots and lots too.

    • Christine says:

      Also, I don’t really buy the idea that oil pulling is taking “toxins” out of my body and blood system (again – twitchy!) but hey my mouth feels cleaner and happier and that’s enough for me!

      • There are tons of biochemical studies on good fats as detoxifying and organ cleansing. This is the same research on why good fats/lipids/oils are great for cardiovascular health.

  10. Deitra Brunner says:

    I like the results of oil pulling as it has helped to remove a piece of tartar from a tooth, keeps my tongue pink and my teeth feeling extra clean although like another reader here, I get lax in doing it. I have tried coconut and sesame oils, but neither work as well as olive oil for me, so that’s what I tend to use the most. But, I just wanted to state that I also mix essential oils with the olive oil and although I can’t state medically what this does, I do like knowing that the anti bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal and anti whatever other properties there are of the essential oils can’t hurt anything.

    • I must try it, like the sound of it. But Deitra, do be careful with the essential oils….they MUST never be ingested and they can be harmful if you do. Essential oils are very, very powerful substances that should be used with care. Just because they are natural, doesn’t mean safe. They should be used topically, and only diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or Fractioned coconut oil. In fact, there are many plant based essences in the natural world that are toxic, and EOs are no different, in fact there is a long list of EOs that pregnant women should stay away from because they can harm the fetus and even cause miscarriages.

      If you have any doubt about what you might be using, consult a reputable aromatherapist, or consult Aromaweb.com for more in-depth information.

  11. I’m going to give it a try. I know if you keep your sinues moist…it keeps away viruses & bacteria. Makes sense.

  12. As one who has had dental and gum problems for years (I see a periodontist every six months, this is worth a try.

  13. A few years ago, for several months, I oil pulled with refined-organic-expeller-pressed sesame oil. (It took me a while to locate the specialty oil.) I wanted to see if it would minimize my chronic, hard-to-treat keratosis pilaris. I oil pulled for 20 minutes each day, twice a day…religiously. I can honestly say I noticed a marked difference in my skin, which is major. Prescriptions drugs don’t work for my skin disorder, nor do most other remedies. While it worked, the oil pulling itself can be cumbersome and quite uncomfortable, but eventually you will get used to it. If the phone rings, however, you can forget about answering it with a mouth full of oil.

  14. How have I never heard of this?!! I thought I’d done every detox in the land. I have receding gums and will totally be trying this asap. I’ll report back.
    -@MontanaRed

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  16. I have not heard of oil pulling BUT I just started to use homemade toothpaste with coconut oil and baking soda. LOVE it and my mouth seems fresh and clean. It will be interesting to see what my quarterly dentist check-up appointment reveals.

  17. By the sound of this, I wouldn’t do it, I don’t have the stomach for it. I’d rather just be besties with pineapple juice which is awesome for anything involving my mouth. Great anti inflammatory and it helps the gums remain healthy. To whiten, strawberries have been good. You’d think it wouldn’t since its red and supposedly stains but it helps. I’ve seen it’s an improvement.

  18. Debra Roddy says:

    I am so Happy that I found this website !!!! I have this gross sour tasting skin that is in between my my lower front teeth. I just had my teeth cleaned two weeks ago and Dentist thinks that I am a Millionaire or something. I am going to try this Oil Pulling and will let you know how it did for me soon. Thank You for the Idea.

  19. I have tried oil pulling before. I heard about it from a coworker that swore it worked. I used coconut oil. It didn’t taste bad at all to me. I didn’t do it long enough to see a difference. I would like to return to it and try it again. I am going to do a little bit more reading on it to see the full benefits. Thanks for the reminder!

  20. Do you brush before or after you do the oil pulling? I’ve read both and neither, and I’m not sure which is best. Thanks!

  21. This is the first that I’ve heard of oil pulling. I’m incredibly curious to try it out. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  22. I’m glad I came across this I’d heard of oil pulling and I knew that as much as I wanted to do this it would be an issue for me being that I naturally gag very easily, especially when first waking up on an empty stomach. So I tried it when I got home from work but prior to eating and I lasted maybe 5 minutes. I’d planned to just keep trying never thought about doing it several times so I’ll try it that way and hope I’ll get better results.

    • you’re only supposed to do it in the morning, that’s when it is effective! Best of luck

      • Oh so you really have to do it in the morning? I’m queen of thowing out that sort of advice LOL, and I’ve heard some say you have to do it this many times a day for it to work, has to be on an empty stomach in the morning has to be an hour after you eat ect. I say try it and if it works throw out the have to’s and so far so good.

        I would prefer to do it in the morning since it would just be easier to keep up with it and since I am proud to say I was able to gargle for a full 10 minutes last night, I may be on my way to being able to switch to mornings. but again it’s working for me teeth are whiter, body is giving me all type of signs it’s cleansing etc.

  23. KatchKenda says:

    I just started today. After the first time, my mouth felt different. I am using Spectrum Organic Highly Refined Sesame Oil. I am hopefully that it will help with sinus issues as well. Fingers crossed that it does. Great article.

  24. Violhaine says:

    After reading this blog a few months ago I tried oil pulling using virgin Spectrum Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil and viva la difference! Within in a few weeks my teeth went from somewhat dingy to sparkling white. Gums look healthy and I no longer suffer from dry mouth. Also? My tongue is the cleanest I’ve ever seen it. I went to the dentist a few days ago for an annual checkup and he complimented me on my flossing skills. When I told him about the process he was extremely surprised. I doubt it’s something he would feel comfortable recommending to clients but he definitely saw a marked improvement int he health of my teeth and gums.

    I’m actually kind of addicted to oil pulling being a part of my morning routine. Brilliant white teeth without the use of strips or corrosive bleach that damages the enamel is a wonderful thing in my book. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Violhaine
    Brooklyn NYC

  25. I had a problem eversince I started using my braces. I bleed & get a lot of food stuck between my teeth & I felt very uncomfotable chewing & then I heard about oil pulling & this is my 3rd day & it feels great! (:

  26. Hi,

    Everybody who are reading this i would like to share my experience on OIL PULLING i started about 2 years before and now i can clearly tell you all please do continue with oil pulling do not stop as i have benefited a lot like i used to get tonsillitis since i was young now i am 45 years old first time in my life since last 18 months i have not suffered once and i am having lots of ice creams and cold drinks , then i had very bad snoring which has been reduced by 80% , then i energy level has increased by minimum 3 to 4 times, i had skin allergy from last 8 years which has vanished by 90% , my skin is glowing i REALLY FEEL ITS GODS GIFT TO MANKIND so please who ever is reading this do not stop oil pulling in your life , i do with SUNFLOWER OIL for about 20 MINUTES daily i must have missed like 50 days in last 2 years but not more than 3 days continue sly , one more thing initially you might get fever or any other problems but do not stop if possible do twice daily at that period in the evening wit atleast 3 hour after you eat anything
    , i am FROM INDIA

    Regards

    Madhavan

  27. I tried oil pulling and it helped my cold but it but it caused one of my crowns to become loose. My dentist said the oil probably acted like a solvent and disolved the cement. I have to have the crown replace
    Anyone else have this problem?

  28. Sniglet says:

    Had heard of oil pulling a few years ago, but hadn’t ever tried it.

    I don’t know what the hell I was waiting for…..LOL!! Fantastic mouth feel from Day One!

    For the last year or two, I’ve felt like I have atrociously bad breath. My mouth feels like it’s full of funk, no matter how many times I brush.

    Yesterday was the last straw–even after brushing/rinsing/flossing morning, noon, and night, I saw no improvement.

    So as I was doing the dishes after getting home from work, I spontaneously snatched the olive oil bottle out of the cupboard, poured out a generous capful, and started swishing it around in my mouth, pulling it through my teeth and around my cheeks/gums.

    It was a strange feeling at first…I didn’t gag, thank goodness, or it would have been harder to stick with it.

    I kept swishing while I was doing dishes (mostly to distract myself from the fact that I had a mouth full of olive squeezin’s tumbling around like towels in a dryer….LOL!)

    10 minutes later, I spit the whole mess out in the bathroom sink, with hot water running.

    The oil, upon expelling, was a creamy consistency and very pale yellow.

    My mouth felt fantastic, my teeth are nice and slick and shiny, and INSTANTLY the bad breath was gone, washed down the sink and flushed away.

    Afterwards, I rinsed my mouth with warm salt water, and then brushed my teeth and scraped my tongue down (not that there was much TO scrape after using the oil. My tongue was nice and pink, no longer had white funk on it).

    Upon waking up this morning, I barely had any morning breath at ALL, which is unusual for me!

    I just finished OPing and brushing teeth this morning, right before writing this review!

    Give it a try; the only thing you have to lose is butt-breath!!!

    • Sniglet says:

      OH, and ALSO: A couple more interesting things I forgot to mention!!

      Last night, and this morning, when I flossed my teeth, there was almost NOTHING on the floss. All of that pulling and swishing took the crud right out!

      And, lastly, about 20 minutes after pulling/rinsing/brushing teeth, I noticed I was spitting out soft, webby bits of dead skin from my cheeks and gums. (sorry to be so gross, but I’ll bet I’m not the only who’s noticed this).

      Have a lovely day, and happy pulling! :D

  29. I’m oil pulling right this second – my first time. Word up – this is a great post Patrice.

  30. As soon as I can get to the store and get some sesame oil, I’ll try this. Maybe put it on my Jan 1 fresh start list.

  31. Hi there….
    I just wanna share also my experience with this oil pulling.
    We took a 3 month long vacation in Turkey. And there are some health services there that
    i would say far less cheaper than here in Canada. One of which is a visit to the dentist.
    So, hubby and I took advantage to this opportunity while there, like cleaning and filling etc.
    The dentist told me that i have a gum inflammation and that he is sure that some puss have started to form, which is for me hard to tell. So, anyway,after he did clean my teeth. He prescribed me some strong med. in a capsule form and a medicated rinse. for 3 weeks then i must go to him after.
    Took those med but i never bothered to return. Bec. i thought, i didnt feel any difference nor pain on my gums. Not until we came back to Canada. I noticed that, 2 of my teeth were a bit wiggly(lower part front) as well as intense pain in my gums. I had to endure those for 2 weeks and took some advil then motrin. Yes, the pain would go away for hours until the advils efficacy worn out. I was terrified by the idea of losing one day my teeth. So i started researching about remineralizing teeth etc. the natural way over youtube and google and that’s how i came to know about oil pulling. So to make my already very long story short, i did oil pull for a week and gum pains and wiggly teeth gone. I noticed that my breath is improving. And that eeekkky taste gone too. And my sinus has improved significantly. So, i strongly recommend oil pulling to everybody.
    There is a reason my old folks from the pacific side of the world calls Coconut as the TREE OF LIFE.

  32. Pamela Capraru says:

    I’ve started oil pulling in the mornings with organic virgin coconut oil. In the winter, I suffer from dry mouth, a white coating on my tongue, and stuffy sinuses. I have to spit out the oil after the first few minutes and start again, because my sinuses clear and I end up with phlegm mixed into the oil. I do it while watching TV or in the shower, and I gargle for as long as I can every few minutes, which soothes my throat. I snore very loudly, and if (as Madhavan says) it helps with that, then it’s worth every minute of effort. It took a little getting used to at first, especially since I need to breathe through my mouth until my sinuses clear; and I’ve sneezed a couple of times while doing it (yikes!) and dribbled often, so I keep tissues at hand for drips. I’ve definitely noticed that my teeth are whiter; I have bonding on my two front teeth, and after just two weeks it looks yellow compared with my natural enamel. Gums and tongue look healthy and pink and feel much cleaner. Morning breath is banished. Afterwards, I brush my teeth and rinse with warm salt water. I’ve read that the swishing action (and perhaps the oil itself?) can help firm up the skin around the jaw and throat, which would be a bonus. I don’t know if the benefits affect the whole body, as I’ve been moisturizing with coconut oil after my shower and I’m on a detox food regime, but I’ve seen great improvement in how my mouth feels. I’ll continue to make this part of my daily routine. While some critics consider it a fad, it’s hard to see it that way when you consider that the practice has been around for almost two millennia. I’m hooked.

  33. Been doing it 2 weeks and can REALLY notice the difference.

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