March 24, 2014

260 Oil Pulling [24 March 2014]

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot lately about a novel use for coconut oil called “oil pulling”. This old Ayurvedic folk remedy from India involves taking a spoonful of oil in your mouth, swishing it around for 15-20 minutes, alternately pushing and pulling it between your teeth (hence the name), then spitting it out and rinsing with warm salt water. Traditionally sesame oil was used but sunflower, olive, and coconut oils have also been recommended and almost any vegetable oil should work. It is best done first thing in the morning before eating, drinking or brushing your teeth. Some people like to do it while showering.

A 2008 book by Bruce Fife “Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing” popularized the technique in North America. I only found three scientific studies on the technique, all published in India by the same chief author between 2008 and 2011. The studies found that oil pulling was as effective as chlorhexidine (an antiseptic mouthwash ingredient) at reducing bacteria (Streptococcus mutans), halitosis, and plaque-induced gingivitis.

People using the technique report a variety of benefits:
• mouth feels clean, fresh and healthy
• teeth white and shiny
• plaque reduced
• gingivitis and gum bleeding reduced
• gum pockets improved
• teeth sensitivity reduced
• halitosis (bad breath) improved

Several dental hygienists commenting on the internet caution that oil pulling does not replace brushing and flossing (and many users agreed). I would add not to expect the miracle cures of chronic illnesses promised in the book. But it’s simple, inexpensive and safe so why not try it and see what it will do for you.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.


  1. Here is Dr Mercola's article on the subject

  2. Another story with oil pulling