Oil Pulling 101: Whiten Your Teeth, Detoxify Your Body and Prevent Cavities

Oil pulling is known to help strengthen your teeth, reduce plaque and prevent cavities. A clean mouth may be the key to preventing disease, and studies are beginning to highlight the relationship between poor oral health and conditions like inflammation, diabetes and even heart disease.

Oil Pulling 101

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that I’m a big fan of oil pulling.

Oil pulling is known to help strengthen your teeth, reduce plaque and eliminate bad breath. According to Dr. Bruce Fife, “Your mouth is a window to your body”. If your mouth is filled with cavities, swollen and inflamed gums, bad breath, plaque or tartar buildup then thats a sign that things aren’t working properly in your body. In the book, Oil Pulling Therapy, Dr. Fife makes a great case on how important it is to keep your mouth clean. Apparently bacteria in the mouth is known to trigger health conditions like arthritis, chronic fatigue and even diabetes.

Oil pulling can be an amazing method to improve oral health which helps keep the whole body healthy!

How It Works

1. The oil helps to soak up bacteria and other toxins out of your teeth and gums.

2. Coconut oil is rich in Lauric Acid and has been proven to be antimicrobial (kill bacteria, viruses and fungi).

Oil Pulling 101 - How To Oil Pull with Coconut Oil & Essential Oils and WHY you want to!

How To Oil Pull

1. Put about a tablespoon of coconut oil  in your mouth.

2. Swish the oils around your mouth for about 10-20 minutes.

3. Spit out the oil, then brush your teeth.

It is best to do this on an empty stomach, before you brush your teeth. I usually do this when I’m making breakfast for my family. I always forget to tell them what I’m doing and we end up playing charades until they figure it out. 🙂

It’s important to spit out the oil. You don’t want to swallow it because it is full of bacteria. I do my best to remember to spit my oil out int he trash so I don’t clog my drain.

Oil Pulling Tips

Tip 1: Make Oil Pulling Chews

Oil Pulling 101 - TipsI’ve been making oil pulling chews inspired by a recipe from Wellness Mama. I keep them in my refrigerator and they’re the first thing I see when I open my fridge (a great reminder for me to oil pull before eating breakfast).

To make your own oil chews you just need to melt your coconut oil over low heat. Once it’s melted add a few drops of essential oils and mix well. Pour the oil into small molds or ice cube trays. Freeze the oils and pop them out into a bowl.

To use your oil pulling chews, just pop one in your mouth and chew until the coconut oil is melted. Then start the “swishing”!

Tip 2: Whipped Coconut Oil

You can make up a batch of whipped coconut oil mixed with your favorite essential oils(s) and store it in a glass jar. When you’re ready to oil pull, just scoop a small spoonful out and swoosh it in your mouth.

Have you tried oiling pulling? Have you seen an improvement in your health since you started? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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About the author: Hi! I’m Tiffany – aka Coconut Mama. I’m a real food mama of three coconut babies. I’m passionate about traditional and healing foods. As a true believer in the health benefits of coconut, I use coconut products in all my recipes. You can download my free Coconut Flour Recipes E-book here. Thanks for stopping by!
77 comments… add one
  • Amanda September 14, 2017, 1:12 pm

    Hello, Tiffany.
    Why is it important to oil pull on an empty stomach?
    Thank you,

  • Antonia Lightfoot March 17, 2017, 1:48 am

    It would be sensible to tell us which oils are good for the mouth rather than just saying “add oils” essential oils should not be used without knowing which ones are beneficial in this case.
    I think myrrh & peppermint are good. Any other ideas ? & for anyone who knows nothing about oils the amount should also be stated.

  • Dana March 13, 2017, 8:52 am

    I tried this the other day and my gag reflex kicked in. I couldn’t deal with the texture and the taste…. any suggestions. I would love to do this, but right now the thought of it gives me a sick feeling.

    • dadsfavor8 April 18, 2017, 11:15 pm

      I am the same way and I started w/ a very small amount. IF you like peppermint..add 1 drop. Literally…1 drop. See if that helps. (or a different essential oil of your liking). I couldn’t stand the taste or smell of coconut oil! But…I had gum disease and decided I had to try. NOW I can do a whole spoon full and I can actually do 20 solid minutes! And yes it has helped. No more bleeding gums…and as far as I can tell…no plaque in almost 5 months. 🙂 That’s HUGE! Good luck!!

  • Joanne March 7, 2017, 7:34 am

    Hi! I’ve been pulling for a week now, OMG I can see and feel the difference.
    I also brush with bacon soda and coconut oil… I’m so grateful for all your information. I can’t wait to try some of your chocolate recipe’s. Keep up the good work, and keep sharing.

  • Janet Bonner December 17, 2016, 7:19 pm

    I’d like to know if the oil pulling is a daily thing.

  • Beverly December 14, 2016, 3:41 pm

    I’ve been oil pulling for just over a year when I was told to use sensitive toothpaste (most sensitive toothpastes have fluoride or another issue) for a few of my teeth that couldn’t handle cold food. It didn’t take long for the oil pulling to stop the sensitivity. I love the idea to make oil pulling chews, I am going to do that!

  • Donna December 11, 2016, 7:06 am

    Today I started oil pulling! I also put some coconut oil on my hair last night with some essential peppermint oil! I turn 53 soon and I’ve never looked my age just felt it a lot of times! So today I start from the inside out to get my body in shape!

  • Veronique November 14, 2016, 5:13 am

    I just try it. My question how many time a week do we have to oil pull to get good results??

    Every day, twice a week??

    • Beverly December 14, 2016, 3:42 pm

      I only do mine a couple times a week.

  • Cati November 1, 2016, 6:13 pm

    Hi Tiffany !
    I love oil pulling but I also drink a glass of warm water with lemon as soon as I wake up. Is it better to drink before or after the oil pulling ?
    Thank you !

  • Sandy October 31, 2016, 7:00 pm

    I actually have a question I have oil pulled previously..Now I am using lemon in am on empty stomach…which should I do first oil pulling or lemon with water? Thanks Sandy

  • Lisa October 21, 2016, 4:01 am

    I’ve been oil pulling for about two years. It’s amazing. Shortly after I began, I asked my dentist about a spot on my tooth, and he said it was a cavity that was forming but was now healed. I brush with baking soda and also floss. I don’t “pull” every day but try to remember at least a few times a week. I do not pay attention to time of day – just when I think about it. I try to put it in my mouth before taking a shower or while washing my face/putting on makeup; sometimes I’ll put a glob in my mouth before sitting down at my computer – just something to stay busy for 10-20 minutes. I do not like the coconut flavor, so I use the refined, non-flavored type.

  • Cyndie Sands March 29, 2016, 7:02 am

    Would this be a problem for someone who does NOT like the flavor or texture of coconut?

  • KELLY February 8, 2016, 12:08 pm

    Hi, where’s the recipe for coconut chews to print out?.

  • kate January 29, 2016, 2:39 pm

    I didn’t see any answers to the FCO questions …..I’ve read on several sites that you can use that coconut oil it just may not work to the magnitude as the other 🙂

  • faith December 21, 2015, 8:59 am

    any one know if this would be ok with braces?

  • Helen September 3, 2015, 3:02 pm

    Can I use fracinated oil for oil pulling??

  • Elle S July 6, 2015, 9:41 am

    I’ve decided to give oil pulling a go for the first time.

    I am also thinking about taking coconut oil with apple cider vinegar in the morning to improve health, digestion, lose weight etc

    My only hesitation is that if oil pulling encourages bacteria/toxins out of our system (& we’re told not to swallow), then how can it be good to put it inside us by eating it? Won’t that also encourage the bacteria to it?

    • MsMess December 20, 2016, 4:36 pm

      Been a long time since this comment, but the acids in ACV can harm tooth enamel. It’s recommended to use a straw. I would OP first.

  • Damon Mackey June 21, 2015, 1:43 am

    Is this also used for teeth whitening?

  • Charity June 17, 2015, 8:15 pm

    Tiffany: why is it important to do this before I eat? I normally have Lemon Aloe water 1st thing and brush my teeth After I eat.

  • Vicki Cordell May 6, 2015, 9:41 am

    Can you buy Spectrum Tropical Traditional Expeller Pressed Coconut oil to pull at Walmart?

  • Darlene Oberheim April 26, 2015, 1:32 pm

    Newsletter please. Thx!

  • Sherrie April 12, 2015, 12:11 am

    I apologize if I missed the answer to the two people that asked if you could use fractionated coconut oil. Could you repeat the answer. Thank you!

    • Helen Winter June 19, 2015, 2:33 pm

      Yes – I am going to start oil pulling & want to use fracinated coconut oil. Is this ok??

    • Sandy October 12, 2015, 10:00 am

      There’s no set recipe for a good oil pull. If you use too much oil it’s easy to gag, and hard to keep it all in, but if you use too little it’s not as effective. (You need plenty of oil to catch the bacteria with.) My suggestion is to start out with 2 teaspoons (about ½ a plastic medicine cup) liquid coconut oil. Don’t use the fractionated kind. (Using fractionated coconut oil will not perform the same as the full fat variety. That’s because whole coconut oil contains Lauric Acid, which is found in the fatty chains. This acid is the “germ killer”.)

  • Jessica April 9, 2015, 4:04 am

    I was told to gargle salt water after oil pulling so I use an equal part organic baking soda organic coconut milk as toothpaste. I feel that will help cleanse any pickets of germs left over. My teeth are white and strong. I drink coffee every day too. ♡ your website and the information you share 🙂

  • CARA April 8, 2015, 3:54 pm

    I am a huge fan of essential oils, however as a dental health professional I must say that oil pulling is not recommended as a replacement for brushing/flossing. There is no evidence based research behind oil pulling actually improving oral health & reversing gingivitis. Even Listerine, which is an ADA recommended antiseptic was sued a few years ago for marketing swishing w Listerine as just as effective as flossing. They have since changed that. As a matter of fact, my last continuing ed class this very topic came up & a female pt who was oil pulling (in place of toothbrushing/flossing) ended up with severe, advanced periodontal disease. Please, be aware of this. As far as thieves or peppermint EO’s, no harm in adding it to your toothpaste, but NOT as a replacement for manual plaque removal which is only accomplished with proper brushing & flossing.

    • The Coconut Mama April 9, 2015, 1:29 pm

      Hi Cara,

      Thanks for your input! I don’t mention anywhere in the article that oil pulling can replace brushing or flossing (I still do both). Oil pulling is just another thing that can be done to help cleanse the mouth and improve oral health. 🙂

  • tammyw March 31, 2015, 8:01 pm

    I just got my coconut oil and thieves oil and am very excited to have read this! Going to start pulling tomor! Thanks for all the wonderful information!

  • Gayle Byers March 28, 2015, 12:54 pm

    I would most highly recommend virgin coconut oil for pulling oral hygiene. It has whiten my teeth much better than expensive strips. I also use it for moisturizing my face especially around my eyes. I am glad I found out and tried it.
    I am anxious to try other uses for it.

  • Lynnbeeson March 11, 2015, 4:11 pm

    i have only 3 teeth and they are implaints will it help them.

  • Diane March 10, 2015, 5:57 pm

    I think it’s sad that many have asked very pertinent questions here
    but no one is answering them!

  • Lori March 6, 2015, 7:22 pm

    I woke up one morning this week with a severe case of TMJ. I had read somewhere that oil pulling would help. It was painful at first, but I was amazed with how it helped the pain. I am now pulling everyday. I love how it makes my mouth feel. I have also noticed that my face feels smoother and hydrated. I am attending an young living oils class tomorrow and will inquire about the Thieves.

  • SD March 2, 2015, 11:49 pm

    Is it safe to spit down the toilet and not clog up any pipes? I’m afraid I might gross out everyone else if I spit it in the trash, and then there’s the possibility of there being a hole in the bag. . . thoughts?

    • Rosie May 5, 2015, 3:54 am

      You can spit it into a paper towel 🙂 then toss.

  • Lee February 10, 2015, 9:26 pm

    If I try it more than a few minutes my mouth fills up with saliva. How do you do it for 20 min without spitting?

    • Margi March 9, 2015, 7:56 am

      I have to spit as I go. From what I’ve read we get benefits of removing mouth bacteria in 5-10 min. too. So do what you can, and work up to longer times.

    • Beverly December 14, 2016, 3:46 pm

      I noticed that when I started, so instead of a full tablespoon, I use about half that amount.

  • Sandra February 4, 2015, 5:25 pm

    I’ve never done oil pulling and was wondering if you melted the coconut oil first. The picture showed it in solid form.

    • Yessica August 20, 2015, 7:51 am

      Hi! It melts in your mouth was coconut oil becomes liquid in anything over 76 degrees. 🙂

  • Amanda January 28, 2015, 9:44 am

    Hi! I’ve been oil pulling on and off with coconut oil (often with Thieves or tea tree oil!) for awhile, and I really like to do it. I was talking to my sister about it, and she said she stopped because she was concerned about what it might do to her dental work (loosen it or something). I hadn’t thought of that, but I also have a crown and several fillings.

    I told my sister I knew just who to ask about it! 🙂 What do you think? Can we continue oil pulling to prevent needing new dental work without concern that we might damage the work that’s already been done? Thank you!

  • Tara January 21, 2015, 3:46 pm

    Does anyone know if you can use fractionated coconut oil and get the same results?? Thanks!

    • Gina February 15, 2015, 7:23 pm

      I’d also like to know if you can use FCO (fractionated coconut oil)? Thank you.

  • Diana January 2, 2015, 11:44 am

    I have started recently to do oil pulling with coconut oil twice a day, morning and evening while I have a shower. Is it still effective if the pulling takes less than 20 min? For example, if I only do this for 5-10 min morning and evenings?

  • Marina November 16, 2014, 12:08 am

    I’m not sure if i am using the correct type of oil, my breath smells way better since i am using coconut oil but should it be a specific kind? Mine not for baking it’s more for like eating or of course some sort of hygienic purpose. That’s what it says on the container any way if it’s possible i’d like to know what brand or type of oil you prefer sing so i can understand if i’m doing this correctly. Much appreciated

    • Christie November 23, 2014, 11:52 pm

      I notice what Tiffany listed in her website of resouces and she listed traditional tropical and nutiva coconut oil. I know that I trust the brand Nutiva coconut oil since I’ve use it for 3 years. I’ve heard that traditional tropical coconut oil are good.

  • Miyu October 21, 2014, 1:07 pm

    I am also curious about oil pulling and old amalgam fillings… I’m 27 and had my fillings all done withing the last 15 years, so I’m not running on very old fillings but I know they still have mercury in them. I also have one filling that apparently trapped nasties and started a new cavity all round the filling… I’m not sure how it’s holding on there but I’m worried that one day it’ll just pop off!

  • Amanda October 14, 2014, 8:19 pm

    Is this the oil you buy in the baking aisle?? Because I also own fractionated coconut oil that is from health food store. Can I use it instead of the thick oil?? Thanks.

  • Susan October 1, 2014, 12:48 pm

    About 40 years ago I had a lot of dental work done. Caps, root canals, fillings and all. And now the’re saying what they used back then is toxic and I should have it redone, which is not going to happen. I’m not having any problems so I’m leaving well enough alone. My question is can I oil pull or will that create problems for me?

    • D October 7, 2014, 10:13 pm

      I have the same question. Safe for a mouth full of old fillings?

      • athena December 18, 2014, 9:27 am

        I have found in my research and my own personal experience that if the fillings werent in there in the right place the oil pulling can pull them out (it takes a long time) But yes amalgam fillings can be extremely toxic as the mercury does leach into gums. The best thing you can do is oil pull

  • E September 24, 2014, 7:12 pm

    My comment is almost exactly the same as above. My mother has always had a difficult time with her teeth. When I talked to her last night, she was so thrilled to tell be her periodontist (she has periodontal disease) was amazed at how healthy her gums have become. She pulls tin coconut and thieves and then also sesame (??) mildly obsessive, but coming from someone like her who is so in tune with her tooth and gum health, to say its not only working but healing is nothing short of amazing!!!!!! needless to say I am back on the pulling routine 😉 hoping to catch that no sniffle side effect 🙂

  • Dee September 5, 2014, 6:12 am

    In between my last dental appointment to my most recent one, I oil pulled religiously for 20 minutes a day, alternating with coconut and sesame oil. I started using a drop of thieves soon after I heard about it. My recent dental appointment had my dental hygienist almost in a state of shock! She was absolutely floored by the fact that my gums had tightened significantly, and that there was little to no bleeding when she was working on them. Seriously, all I kept hearing her say was, “Oh my God, this is so awesome!” If you’re not oil pulling, you definitely need to try it!

    • Dawn September 27, 2014, 9:22 pm

      Thanks so much Dee for saying so! I have heard about oil pulling several years ago… but didn’t quite understand it and tried it and it was just gross… But, I love coconut oil and didn’t realize that this could improve the teeth, gums, etc more than anti-bacteral wash (you know the burning kind) and brushing….

      And thanks so much Tiffany for ALL your posts! I’m really enjoying your everything here.

  • Jen September 3, 2014, 1:02 pm

    How often do you do the oil pulling? Daily? Weekly?

  • Jamie August 15, 2014, 5:22 pm

    How often do you do this?

  • Lori August 5, 2014, 7:38 pm

    Is this still beneficial if you have no teeth, I lost mine a long time ago?

  • Joan Mobley July 30, 2014, 10:41 pm

    I have been oil pulling for about three months. I am reall glad to learn that I can incorporate oils int my routine

  • beth July 29, 2014, 6:07 am

    Is oil pulling safe if you have old amalgam fillings? Or is it likely to pull out more mercury?

    • The Coconut Mama March 13, 2015, 9:10 pm

      I’ve read mixed views about oil pulling with fillings. I know of several people who have fillings who’ve been oil pulling for years without trouble. I don’t have amalgam filling so I’m honestly not sure. You may need to ask your dentist (perhaps a holistic dentist) if it’s safe.

  • Starr Miner July 21, 2014, 9:06 am

    I have recently started oil pulling with Thieves and I love it!! After using I brush my teeth with baking soda – no more chemicals for me!! (Hope this is healthy…) I keep my coconut oil, Thieves, and a glass ‘spit jar’ in the bottom drawer in the bathroom. No clogged pipes!

  • deb July 10, 2014, 9:59 pm

    I read somewhere that you should’nt do the oil pulling if you have silver (amalgam) fillings. Is that true? Thx

  • Maggie July 10, 2014, 6:08 am

    hi Tiffany,
    I have seen similar advice before on different blog, I was wondering, do you keep your mouth open all the time? how do you avoid swollowing until you spit it out?
    Im curious how it stayes on your teeth??

    • The Coconut Mama July 10, 2014, 8:51 pm

      Hi Maggie,

      No, I actually keep my mouth closed and “swoosh” the coconut oil around for the full 20 minutes. It’s not too difficult to keep it in your mouth. Just try it a few times and you’ll get the hang of it!

    • Dave February 27, 2015, 8:25 am

      Keep your mouth closed and swish like it is mouthwash. It is neither viscous nor slimy and if you are using good Virgin Organic Oil it tastes yummy, treat it like anything else in this effort and you won’t swallow much if any at all….it’s the determination to keep going which one must acquire, I pull while I watch morning shows before I shower and bail for the day….GOOD HEALTH!

  • Rosario July 1, 2014, 4:20 pm

    Hi Tiffany
    I have been coconut oil pulling for about three months, and I like it! I don’t have Thieves. ..can I use Peppermint oil?

  • Lindsey June 27, 2014, 10:34 am

    I’ve been doing oil pulling with coconut oil now for maybe a couple months. I’m going to start adding the Thieve’s! Great idea!

    • Pat May 5, 2015, 8:51 am

      Is it necessary to do it before drinking water? I usually have acv water when I wake up.

  • ghislain landry June 25, 2014, 3:12 am

    I started oil pulling a little over a month ago and I must admit my teeth feel a lot better. I had a lot of tart around my teeth and it is all gone now along wilth most of the brown spot. I didn’t have a good mouth hygene for the most part of my life. I have dentures and just a few teeth left but I want to keep them. Oil pulling keeps them healthy and clean.


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