Oil Pulling

Posted by on November 1, 2010 in Lifestyle | 29 comments

I heard about “oil pulling” about 3 weeks ago. When I googled it, I found out first of all that it is not new, and secondly there were all sorts of claims that it “pulls” toxins from your body. The great results that people reported included everything from relief from sensitive teeth and gums (which I have), to sleeplessness (that too), to clearer skin and eyes, and whiter, firmer teeth. It seemed so easy, inexpensive and from what I read online it was giving people great results. So I decided to do an experiment and see for myself what oil pulling was all about.

For those of you who, (like me) had never heard of this before, “oil pulling” is simply swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth (any oil, but usually coconut or sesame – I used sesame) for about 15 minutes in the morning, before you brush your teeth, eat, or drink. Yup, that’s it. Don’t swallow the swished oil, because it contains tons of bacteria. The oil, when you spit it out is milky white and thin, and supposedly so toxic you shouldn’t spit it in your sink. It’s best to spit it in the garbage or toilet, I’m assuming so that the germs are not lingering around the bathroom. My mouth feels a little gross right after I spit, so I made up my own ritual of then rinsing with a glass of water with a capful of hydrogen peroxide added to it, and then brushing my teeth right away.

Well, the first day I didn’t last very long. I gagged, and I think I swished too vigorously because my cheek muscles were exhausted after about 4 minutes. I’m not sure if it was a coincidence but I slept like a stone for the first time in months.

After the second day I relaxed a bit, slowly swished (by the way, don’t gargle!) and I was able to last for a full 15 minutes.

By the 5th day, around 10 pm that night, I suddenly got a terrible toothache, felt sick to my stomach and got very tired. I went right to bed, and since I had a dentist appointment scheduled, I made a mental note to ask about it. The pain was gone the next morning, and I felt fine.

I have noticed my teeth to be a bit whiter, and much cleaner feeling. When I did finally go to the dentist and asked about it, my hygenist, Tammy, said she was totally familiar with oil pulling and that her clients who do it had always had good results. She seemed to think that toothache was because the tooth that I felt the pain in was one of my root canal teeth, and that perhaps I was “pulling” some infection from the area.

She explained that anytime you have root canal, it’s always going to be a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s essentially dead tissue still in your mouth, just filled and topped with a crown. So no matter how much you brush or floss, it’s very hard to keep a root canal as clean as a healthy, living tooth. I had never thought about it that way before. Interestingly enough, my teeth/gums turned out to be very clean.

I’m now on my 17th day of oil pulling, and I actually wake up and look forward to it! I wake up earlier than everyone else so I don’t have to talk for the 15 minutes. It really helps to try and stay busy while you swish, like take a shower or something.

Several studies have shown that oil pulling actually does reduce oral bacteria and can help prevent decay and gingivitis. I haven’t been able to find much other than oral benefits, but a cleaner mouth is a good enough reason for me to continue.

I’m curious how many of my readers out there have heard about oil pulling, whether or not you do it and what results you have had with it. Please share!

I hope you had a fabulous Halloween!



  1. I’m 27, been oil pulling for 4 weeks now and wish I had discovered this wonderful therapy much sooner. I’ve been suffering from constipation on and off for a year since giving up smoking and having a proper food poisoning, until the morning after my first swish! I don’t need a pack of chewing gums a day for bad breath since and my teeth & eyes really do look whiter! Never had difficulties falling asleep again, going 9 hours straight if I can. Acne scars are fading, redness around my cuticles that used to bother me is next to non and peeling of skin on the footing area, gone! I’m not a big drinker, but if I do, there will be no more hangovers the next day (shouldn’t really jump about that one, but it’s true), I actually haven’t had the desire to drink at all lately to be honest (not getting old, just more conscious about what I consume and perfectly capable of having fun without). Sex appetite has definitely gone up and romantic life is becoming more and more satisfying. I just feel great and energized in general and would recommend at least trying out the magical in-the-shower-routine – oil pulling to anyone, any age!

    Enjoy yourselves!

    Happy Katrina


  2. Hi – I’m so happy I just found this blog! I started Oil Pul;ling about a week ago afetr reading about it online. I suffer with my teeth (3 root canals and an extration so far) and also with bleeding gums and was keen to find a natural solution. However, I only managed 2 days of oil pulling as it gave me quite bad toothache as a result which made me think it wasn’t working… so happy to read in your post that you experienced the same and why..also pleased to hear it’s a temporary thing.

    Will continue with the pulling tonight. :)

  3. Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for writing! Everything I’ve read seems to indicate that it’s best to pull first thing in the morning, before drinking anything or brushing your teeth. For detox benefits it makes sense since your body tends to do its own natural detox every night while you sleep, then the pulling gets rid of it. Just wanted to point this out.

  4. As a person having undergone root canal therapy and 4 extractions, i was wondering whether i am to undertake oil pulling or not, your article cleared my doubts and i will start oil pulling in around half an hour time

  5. I have also undergone cementing in one of my tooth which has also undergone root canal therapy, will it be okay for me to do oil pulling whether oil pulling will put the cement?

  6. I started oil pulling just 2 weeks ago, I cant believe the difference! my teeth are whiter and my gums are more pink, I used to bleed a bit when I floss but now I don’t. try it!!!

  7. I have been oil pulling for a couple of weeks and I too have a terrible tooth ache. It is a constant pain that is eased by tylenol but if I don’t take it regularly every 4 hours the pain is back. I will see the dentist tomorrow and find out what to do. Not sure whether to keep going, or stop. All I know is that I don’t like the pain!

  8. Hi lavinialuna,
    I’m curious how it went with the dentist?
    Did the pain start when you started oil pulling?
    Let us know!


  9. Hi Lavinialuna, My situation is similar to yours. It would be of tremendous help to me if you can share your experience. Looking forward to your post. Thanks. – vikas

  10. I too am interested in hearing how the toothache did over time and what the dentist said. I have been flossing every day for years and take very good care of my oral health. I just started oil pulling less than a week ago and I too have a tooth (crown) that is bothering me when I go to bite on something (chewing food) and almost decided to stop until I read the first comment. I will continue for now but hope someone will respond to know how it went for others. Thank you. Raina

  11. I started oil pulling a month ago after going to the dentist for a check up and finding out I needed a root canal, I was mortified and declared war on my mouth. I learned about oil pulling from the essentials oils that I already use everyday the brand is doTerra and they are FDA Certified Therapeutic Grade oil, even safe to ingest and so pure they are safe for babies too! I have incorporated using the oil pulling method using different essential oils and mixing with coconut oil. I went to dentist today and just within 4 weeks my margins on my gum lines have improved its truly amazing. I do it for atleast mins a day, for me its helpful to do while in the shower so that time passes faster. Here is a very informative link that explains oil pulling and the different essential oils you can use for additional health benefits. Please note the suggestions are to be used with only doTerra oils because of their purity.
    doterra changes lives ~ it did mine
    For doterra product info
    Happy Oiling ~

  12. I have been oil pulling for about a week. 2 days ago the terrible toothache started. This is a tooth that has not had a root canal, but I believe it has a filling about 7 months old. I have a dentist appointment scheduled for next Wednesday, but not sure I can wait that long. Someone please tell me this pain goes away!

  13. I have been doing oil pulling for about too weeks now as I have been suffreing from servere tooth pain. Since discovering oil pulling, when the too pain comes I immediatly do oil puuilng and in around 5 to 7 minutes the pain is gone. My pain has dramatically decreased since I have discovered the oil pulling method.

  14. Bleeding gums are mainly due to inadequate plaque removal from the teeth at the gum line. This will lead to a condition called gingivitis, or inflamed gums. If plaque is not removed through regular brushing and dental appointments, it will harden into what is known as tartar. Ultimately, this will lead to increased bleeding and a more advanced form of gum and jawbone disease known as periodontitis.*..;;

    Best regards

  15. I had a horrific tooth ache the last 4 days googled home remindes as I can’t see a dentist just yet and found this site. Figured I’d give it a try what did I have to loose. Well just finished 5 minutes ago and no tooth ache.

  16. I’ve been wanting to try oil pulling and already bought the coconut oil.
    However, I just had a root canal done about a week ago. Should I put off trying the oil
    pulling until the crown gets put on?

  17. Thank you for posting this blog post. I tried oil pulling for a few years and I have found when I have issues with gum pain or toothache – the pulling with coconut oil is soothing. I swish it around for about 10 minutes and swishing it around then spitting it out after 10 minutes helps reduce the pain. I think the key is to be consistent with the pulling and maybe doing it twice a day sometimes if time permits. I have noticed a difference with gum health when consistent.

    I recommend reading “Reversing Gum Disease Naturally – A holistic Home Care Approach by Sandra Senzon, RDH and The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife (benefits of Coconut Oil) and it doesn’t hurt to get checked out by a dentist on a regular check up to watch your progress.

    Also oil pulling with gargling salt water and brushing with baking soda works to promote healthy teeth and gums.

  18. I have been oil pulling for 5 days now. First i dip my dental floss in the oil to loosen anything between my teeth because i have spot that i don’t think even oil can get to, then i swish for 20 mins,then brush. I have been getting light toothaches and my teeth are very sensitive, i have also found a spot on my jaw that feels like a bruise right where i have a root canal. I’m hoping it feels better. I am doing this because i can’t afford a dentist at the moment. Not sure what to do. Any suggestions.?

  19. Been oil pulling about 3 weeks off and on. Had my teeth cleaned with my usual gal. She commented on how good and tight my gums were, better than usual. A few hours later my lower front teeth were very sore and in great pain and I developed a tongue infection and very sensitive. I did the oil pulling and it got worse. I wonder if the oil pulling painfully pulled out all the supplements I use under my tongue to absorb well. Has anyone else had these symptom. I do have a low immune system with CLL (Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia) that is under control. Are teeth that sensitive. The whole tooth hurt bad on all 4-6 lower front teeth.

  20. I had a toothache all day yesterday it made the whole side of my face and head hurt could hardly make it through the day. I oil pulled for 25 min last night using coconut oil and within about the first 5 min the pain was gone completely. I feel like a new woman. It is 5am curriently and I am oil pulling as I write this. This is the greatest thing I’ve tried so far. I would recommend it to everyone!

  21. Have been oil pulling for 6 weeks and my teeth are much whiter also my gums have stopped bleeding apart from one area round the 2nd molar from my upper eye tooth which has a gold post and crown. The bone has worn away where the crown is fixed also it is a bit tender after oil pulling. Should I have this crown removed and what could I replace it with. I do have a feeling that this gold post and crown are the culprit in the eroding bone. Any advice will be much appreciated.

  22. Hi Danielle/All:

    I have been oil pulling for two weeks. The only difference I have noticed is the amazing cleanliness of my teeth.
    Generally after brushing I still feel tarter? On my teeth, no matter how hard I brush, but since oil pulling I feel like a daily visit to the dentist…even the back teeth are ultra clean!
    As far as sleeping good, glowing skin, pains etc., I cannot contest to that.
    I have started my diet of eating fruits, veggies and seafood only but I haven’t noticed any outer changes which I can say were the result of my diet change, i.e., weight loss.
    My skin is extremely softer now but I also put coconut oil right after I shower then blot dry.
    Whatever the case maybe the oil pulling has made my mouth cleaner-haven’t noticed my teeth whitening yet.

  23. I did it for the first te today and my throat is sore and teeth ache. That lets me know something is happening because whenever I do a detox ot feels a little yuck first then better.

  24. Just a few comments on other peoples above comments.

    Firstly, the first poster is incorrect when they say that you should not spit out the oil in the sink after swishing because it is too toxic to do that. Wrong, the reason you should not spit the oil down the sink, shower, toilet or any where else (other than in the garbage bin) is simply because it will eventually block up your sewerage pipes. When the oil cools it solidifies. It would nt take long before all your pipes became totally blocked as a result of the build up of solidified oil. You wouldnt pour used cooking fat / oil down the drain, would you?

    Another oposter above stated they brushed their teeth hard to remove plaque and other build up on their teeth. Never brush hard. It will cause your gums to recede! Always brush gentley.

    I have been oil pulling for about a month. In that time my teeth ached quite a bit. They did not ache before I started pulling. I continued pulling despite the aches. After week 3 the aches stop.

    I also purchases an irrigator to flush out particles betwen my teeth and under the gum line at the same time. Use it three times a week. I have for some reason developed an infection in my gumes on the right hand side of my mouth where I have never had problems previous.

    Not sure if the problem if is that the water irrigator pushed food particles further inside the gum rather than flushing them out of the gums, or if its anything to do with oil pulling or if the infection is entirely coincedental.

    Will updzate later/

  25. Feb. 1, 2014:

    Hello… I just today ran across your site in reading NaturalNews.com, where urbanwellness is given as a reference to their article on oil pulling. It seems interesting and I’ve started.

    I’ve read the several replies here as to toothache. No fun, huh! Something I’ve done when toothache has appeared in the past is work diluted hydrogen peroxide into the gum area affected with a toothbrush. Works very nicely for me. Soon, the ache is gone. One (peroxide) to three (water) or one to two seems a good dilution. Plus, it’ll sterilize your toothbrush as your doing it.

    Hydrogen peroxide is a natural component in our cells, so it isn’t that we are poisoning ourselves by using it orally without swallowing. Yeah, don’t swallow. And dentists routinely use it up under our gums to kill bacteria that may be there, left from procedures.

    As to the oils causing toothache, it does seem reasonable in a lay sense that the bacteria drawn into voids and abscesses from deeper inside the flesh by the oil… and just waiting in that staging area to be expunged… could become of high enough concentration that the nerves could be reacting. Perhaps it takes several days to collect enough bacteria at the sites for the body to go into attack mode against the accumulated ‘onslaught’, pain being a warning of this and useful to good health.

    I’m doubting, as a non-medical person, that the oils (unless un-pure or contaminated) would cause the pain by themselves. We ingest the oils as food, so why would they cause problems when in contact with soft tissue, blood and proximity to nerves? But I donno.

    Always the tweaker, I used a quarter teaspoon of turmeric with the oil. Turmeric contains the curcumin molecule, which is the strongest anti-bacterial known to exist in food. Turmeric is the reason that India’s cancer rates are so low… for instance, prostate cancer in age-equal men is one-fiftieth (2%) of Americans’. Less than 10% for other major killers, both men and women. The Indians eat from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon a day on average in their curry.

    Also, I’ve used turmeric as a poultice against toothache affected areas with good effect.

    So… I’ll be using oils and turmeric and expecting good things.

    Thanks for listening,


  26. Ahh, something I neglected to mention… there’s always something… is that I’ve put ground black pepper in the turmeric (about 60 turmeric/40 pepper). I use it for cooking that way. Black pepper, and only black pepper, amplifies the efficacy of the curcumin molecule by 20 times (2,000 %). Now this is within the body, and it is felt by researchers that the assimilation process is what is affected. Still, even though the molecule isn’t being assimilated per se by swishing in the mouth, it may be that the pepper will cause the curcumin to be more effective. Worth a try as such. Couldn’t ‘hoit’.

  27. I’ve been oil pulling for several years. The best time is first thing in the morning. Rinse your mouth, then oil pull. Shower, dress, make the bed, etc. I spit into a plastic cup then place under sink with tissue to cover and use till full then discard. I notice that when I do get sick, it has an odor. That’s another point, I hardly get sick anymore. Had my first flu in few years and I am usually prone to bronchitis. My hygienist comments on how my gums never bleed and the tater is now hardly there anymore. I can’t say enough about the benefits of oil pulling. I use coconut oil. Use virgin coconut oil and not expeller as this is processed.

  28. I have a dental hygienist and I recently started oil pulling. I am very happy with the results so far! I wanted to mention something I have noticed and the comments. A lot of people have wrote about sensitive gums and bleeding gums. This is completely preventable. It is not genetic and not something that certain people should have a problem with. Red, swollen, bleeding gums is gingivitis. Those with gingivitis simply show a lack of oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing daily will eliminate the problem. Often times people don’t understand why the have this issue, but it is as simple as needing to brush and floss your teeth for 2 minutes every day. Oil pulling is a great way to remove bacteria from the mouth in addition to GOOD oral hygiene.

  29. I have had a broken tooth for many months now and tthe last few days the pain has been unbearable so I have been taking Ibuprofen. I just started oil pulling today. Do you think I can avoid the dentist? I would appreciate any feedback or personal experiences you may have.

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