Oil Pulling: The How To’s & Benefits

This age-old remedy originates back to Ayurvedic medicine and basically involves using natural substances, like oil, to clean and detoxify teeth and gums! It can help to whiten teeth naturally, among many other benefits (which I’ll be exploring further below), and using certain oils can assist in keeping harmful bacteria in the mouth at bay.

So, What Exactly is Oil Pulling?

Great question! To keep it short and sweet: oil pulling is simply swishing oil (often coconut, sesame, or sunflower) in the mouth for up to 20 minutes to improve oral health. Just like with the Oil Cleansing Method, using oil helps draw out and remove toxins without affecting teeth or gums.

oil pulling pic 4
My oil pulling mix: 1/2 coconut oil, 1/2 bicarb soda, a few drops of peppermint oil, a pinch of sea salt

Right, So What Are the Benefits?

Oil pulling is flooded with anecdotal support (personal accounts) but has a lack of extensive scientific studies carried out on this practice. Most sources do agree that oil pulling is safe, but there is just some debate on how effective it is. Though there is definitely more research needed to determine any scientific backing to oil pulling, I’ve personally noticed the benefits, and in fact, in my research, I found many testimonials online from people who experienced benefits from oil pulling including whiter teeth, improved skin conditions, headaches, arthritis, hormone imbalances, asthma, liver problems, infections, and more.

Though I’ve done this for a few months now, my only personal experience is with improved oral health (much less plaque) plus less sensitive (and whiter!) teeth.

oil pulling pic 5
(Don’t mind the giant close-up of my nostrils) I’ve noticed a huge change in my teeth, particularly when it comes to plaque (I have so much less now), and the whiteness of my teeth (they’re way whiter now!!)

At the very least, I think that oil pulling can be quite beneficial and has no downside as long as quality oil and ingredients are used (that is they’re high quality enough to eat), and it’s done correctly. Which leads me on to why we’re all gathered here today…

How to Oil Pull

The concept is so incredibly simple. It’s so simple you’ll finish reading this and go, “Is that it?” All it involves is swishing a couple teaspoons (or more, I’ve heard some using up to 1 tablespoon) of a vegetable based oil (coconut, sesame or olive) in the mouth for 20 minutes and then spit it out (don’t swallow it!) and rinse well. It is recommended that the best time to oil pull is in the morning, before eating or drinking anything. However, it can be done before each meal if needed for more severe infections or dental problems.

I personally make up a concoction of 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 bicarb soda (make sure all these ingredients are of high quality), adding a few drops of peppermint oil and a pinch of sea salt, then mix it all together and pop it into a container ready to use when I wake up!

oil pulling pic 2
I tend to oil pull first thing in the morning, to remove toxins and bacteria

Oil Pulling Instructions

  1. Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil into the mouth. Organic sesame oil is the oil traditionally used in oil pulling, and is also the oil most studied for use in oil pulling, but organic coconut oil works well too as it’s a natural antibacterial and has a milder taste than other oils.
  2. Swish for 20 minutes. This is a happy-medium time-frame as it’s long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil will get thicker and milky as it’s mixed with saliva during this time and will most often turn a creamy-white when spat out. It will also double in volume during this time due to saliva building up, so your mouth may be bulging with liquid by the end. At first, it can be difficult to make it the full 20 minutes (I found it exceptionally challenging), so I would often just swish it round for 5-10 minutes when starting out, and build up from there over time.
  3. Spit oil into the garden. Especially if you have a septic system… don’t spit into the sink! The oil may harden and thicken over time, and clog the pipes. Don’t swallow the oil either as it’s (hopefully) full of bacteria and toxins that have now been drawn out of the mouth!
  4. Rinse well with warm water. Warm water seems to work better in cleaning the mouth after (in my opinion). I swish a few times with warm water to get any remaining oil out of my mouth. Some recommend swishing with warm, salty water (so you can add a pinch of sea salt to your warm water and swish with that if you prefer).
  5. Brush well. I prefer to brush with my remineralising toothpaste or tooth powder right after to remove any remaining oil residue and make sure any remaining bacteria is killed.

Anyone with a sensitivity to coconut oil or coconut products should avoid using coconut oil in this way. Sesame oil was traditionally used and is another great option, just make sure to use an organic sesame oil.

oil pulling pic 3
I use coconut oil for oil pulling, and have had great results with it!

Which Oil to Use?

It very much depends.

Many have claimed coconut oil to be most effective at whitening teeth. It’s also slightly more effective at removing certain bacteria from the mouth.

Sesame oil is most commonly recommended (though this is partially because it was one of the more widely available oils when the practice first started) and it’s also the most well studied and considered safe for those who are not allergic to sesame seeds.

Olive oil is sometimes used, though some claim it’s too harsh for teeth. The main thing is to avoid using any high Omega-6 or chemically created oils like vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, etc.

For a live run-through of how I make my oil pulling mixture, see my video tutorial below!

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!

Have you tried oil pulling before? What was your experience like? Share with me below!

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

Wells, Katie. Oil Pulling Benefits: How to Use Coconut Oil for Healthy Teeth. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/7866/oil-pulling/