Oil Pulling: My secret to whiter teeth

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how I havemeya such white teeth. Many people think I whiten them with whitening strips, but those who personally know me know that I would never do that. So what’s my secret? Well, I like to give credit to the fact that I rarely ever drink coffee or black tea, I also don’t smoke, and I eat very fresh and healthy foods ever day. However, my biggest secret is Oil Pulling. Oil Pulling has been part of my morning ritual since February 2012. It’s so simple and easy to do that I figured why not give it a try? It’s stuck with me ever since.

What is oil pulling?

Oil pulliCoconutOilng is an ancient Ayurvedic method that has only recently been introduced to the United States. The method is to swish approximately 1 tablespoon of organic cold pressed oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes (aim for 20). I use coconut oil because it’s my favorite flavor. You can try olive, sunflower, etc. The oil will mix with your saliva and become thin so you can “pull” it through your teeth. The best time of day to oil pull is in the morning before you eat or drink anything. The idea behind oil pulling is that it pulls bacteria, yeasts, and parasites out of your mouth because these organisms have an affinity for the oil. DO NOT SWALLOW THE OIL! This is important because the oil is full of germs. If you happen to accidently swallow a little of the oil it’s no big deal, that’s what we have immune systems for! After your 20 minutes is up you want to spit the oil into a dixie cup or directly into the trash (do not spit it into the drain because the oil will clog the drain). You then brush and rinse your mouth out with water and clean your toothbrush with 3% hydrogen peroxide. I usually just let my toothbrush sit in diluted hydrogen peroxide until my night time brushing.

Common Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

Whiter Teeth

Clearer sinuses

Clearer skin

Fresher Breath

Regulates menstrual cycle

Alleviates Allergies

Decreases Headaches

Better Sleep

Prevents gum issues

and many more…oil pulling

I never really had a problem with the texture or taste of the oil. Coconut oil at room temperature is normally a solid, therefore you can run the coconut oil container under hot water so it melts. You can also just put the hunk of oil in your mouth and it will melt in about a minute. Some people I know hate the feel of oil in their mouth but usually get used to it after a couple times.

For more information check out Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing by naturopathic physician Bruce Fife.

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About kellynutiritonist

Holistic nutrition is not just my job, it's my passion. I live and breathe this and it has consumed and healed me in every aspect of my life. My goal is to empower others to heal themselves in body and mind. Disclaimer- I am sharing my personal experience and knowledge for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult your own doctor or healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for you. View all posts by kellynutiritonist

26 responses to “Oil Pulling: My secret to whiter teeth

  • courtneybracke

    Super interesting. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been using coconut oil for so many uses, who knew it could help whiten teeth and eliminate nasty mouth bacteria too??? Looking forward to trying this, I have a feeling it’s going to take some patience setting aside some time for this in the mornings :).

    • kellynutiritonist

      Coconut oil is amazing!!!! Just do however long you can for now and then increase when it feels right. Let me know how it goes!

      • honestdose

        Been doing it for 4 days now, switching between coconut oil and sunflower oil. Read on a site that coconut oil wasn’t recommended for daily oil pulling but I can’t figure out why that would be true. Anyway, been doing 15 or 20 minute sessions, so far so good! I think it’s one of those practices that will stick :).

      • kellynutiritonist

        That’s interesting about the coconut oil, I’ve never heard of that. If you have the link I’d like to see it. That’s great news! It’s just so easy (compared to other detox methods) that I figure why not…ya know?

  • healthytothecore

    Thanks for the article. I’m still getting used to doing this and am only last 5 mins at the moment. Will aim for longer – and its good to know that you get used to it after a while.

    • kellynutiritonist

      5 minutes is a great start! I know 20 minutes in the morning can seem like a long time so just do what feels right for you. Your body will tell you when you’re ready to increase to 10, 15, and 20 minutes.

  • Auntie Linda

    Hello Kelly, Do you think I could have Alison try this to see if it helps with her head aches? I don’t know if she would go for it but it might be worth trying. And could she do it at night since they are always running around to get ready in the morning.

    • kellynutiritonist

      Hi Linda! You can try it just remind her not to swallow the oil. Doing it at night is fine and it’s better if she does it before dinner. Headaches are tricky because they could be caused by anything…inflammation, food allergies, tight muscles, lack of sleep, etc. She can try the oil pulling and if it helps then wonderful! But remember if she stops oil pulling and the headaches come back then you haven’t gotten to the root of the problem and are just simply covering up the symptoms and that is what we don’t want to be doing.

  • Cleanse Day #5 – How Am I Doing? What Am I Doing? And 2 Recipes! | Lori Leigh Wilson

    [...] Oil Pulling – I read about this one online from a fellow health and nutrition blogger and I was intrigued. It basically involves swishing coconut oil in my mouth for 20 minutes a day for a myriad of health benefits including whiter teeth, better skin and clear sinuses. You can check out the post on it here. [...]

  • Every day Mini Detoxes | Kelly's Kitchen Farmacy

    [...] pulling: I spoke of this in my previous blog. I do this every morning and follow it up with my lemon [...]

  • Anonymous

    This is kinda gross but after 3 days of starting oil pulling for 20 minutes each morning with coconut oil I actually had enlarged tonsil and had these tonsil stones come out! I have had bad breath for well pretty much as long as I can remember and have had to try so hard to brush and use mouth wash etc. And I have actually found these little chunks in my mouth randomly before wondering what the heck they were! Well after oil pulling only three days the tonsils appeared to push out a WHOLE BUNCH of stones and now after oil pulling for over a month I have had none of this occur again and my breath has been amazingly better! I’m assuming these are related but have you ever heard of anything like this before?? Sorry to gross anyone out!!

    • kellynutiritonist

      Hi Anon! It takes a lot to gross me out so never feel like you should hold back! I’ve never heard of this particular problem but it doesn’t surprise me. Your tonsils are part of your lymphatic system which when it becomes stagnant can build up toxins. It seems like you had a lot built up in your system and your body is releasing them which is great! I know with myself and my clients that I have oil pulling some will get strange bumps on their gums or the roof of the mouth. I’ve also seen people experience blisters on the lips. We are all different and detox in different ways. I’m so happy you are now recognizing the benefits. Keep it up!

  • Heather Thomas-Miller

    I also read in another blog that the oil was turning someones teeth yellow! Is that true?

  • Anonymous

    It can be the oil they are using. Is it olive? One of my clients told me the other day that her teeth seemed to be tinting yellow and we figured out it was the olive oil she was using. When she switched to coconut it stopped. A yellow tint can also signify a detox reaction which can be a good thing!

  • Anonymous

    I know that oil pulling is supposed to be done first thing in the morning, so how do you clean your teeth at night?

  • Stacey

    I am new to oil pulling…been doing it consistently for about a week, maybe slightly longer. I am doing this with the hope of naturally healing my mouth after 4 pregnancies have taken their toll on my teeth. I have to admit that my mouth feels healthier already…but I have been experiencing a dull pain in certain teeth at different times. I also think( and it could be in my head) that my teeth appear slightly more yellow. I have been using organic, unrefined coconut oil and was considering switching to a different kind. However…I read in a previous comment that the yellow could possibly be from detoxing. So I am wondering…will that go away? Will things get worse before it gets better? Thanks!!

  • kellynutiritonist

    Hi Stacey,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the time out to comment. The dull pain you mention can be a symptom of detoxification. Things can get worse before they get better. Everyone is different but if I were you I would continue for the next month to give it a chance to do its thing. When I first started I didn’t notice any symptoms and then a couple months in I started getting mouth sores. I still get the occasional mouth sore but when it happens I know I’m probably releasing something that my body is trying to get rid of. It sounds like you were having problems with your teeth before you started so your body could be detoxing really fast. Although I have never experienced it, I have heard of the teeth yellowing before, it sounds like your teeth are releasing built up gunk. Again, give it a month or 2 to let it do its thing. Drink lots of water and make sure you are moving your bowels daily! I hope this helps!

    • Stacey

      Thanks for the reply!! I happened to have a little blister on my lip when I woke up this weekend…knowing that is detoxing helped me not to freak out!! Another question… I have read different tips on when to spit the oil out. I typically just swish for 20 minutes. The oil starts out solid, thins out, thickens up a bit, and then thins out again. It is always milky white when I spit. Should I shoot for 20 minutes or should I spit when the oil is a certain consistency? Thanks again!!

  • kellynutiritonist

    Stick with the 20 minutes if you can. There are no benefits for longer than 20 minutes though.

  • Anonymous

    My teeth are yellowing as well (I have been using coconut oil for 3 weeks) but it is only my bottom teeth so I am taking the advice of the people above and going to stick with it for month or two and see if it is just the toxins coming out.

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  • Julie

    I just wanted to mention that you are probably getting some whitening benefits from soaking your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide throughout the day. A dental hygenist friend of mine recently recommended that to me, but I found that it made my teeth too sensitive. So you’re getting a double whammy of whitening!

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