Wondering how to do oil pulling? Oil pulling is one of the best detox methods I have ever experienced. Find out how to do it and why it’s so great.
- Written by Genevieve Howland
- Updated on June 27, 2019
“Oil pulling is one of the most remarkable methods of detoxification and healing I have ever experienced… It helped me overcome a chronic skin problem that [I was previously] unable to cure.”
– Dr. Bruce Fife, naturopath doctor, nutritionist, and master detoxer
When I first heard that quote, I had two thoughts:
- What the heck is oil pulling?
- Whatever it is, I gotta check it out!
What is oil pulling?
For those of you who are in the dark like I was, oil pulling is an ancient detoxification art that started in India thousands of years ago. Oil pulling is essentially gargling (or swishing) with oil.
In 1992, Dr. F. Karach, MD introduced oil pulling in the US and used it in his medical practice with great success.
I started this practice a while ago and wow, it made a big difference. I literally no longer feel the need to brush my teeth. I know this may sound weird but that’s how well oil pulling cleans my mouth! Furthermore, my sinuses feel great and I have more energy.
I recommend it for anyone and everyone who wants to support their overall vitality, particularly their mouth health. I’m still trying to convince my hubby, who is still a bit skeptical, to get onboard.
Why not try doing it for a week and see if you notice the difference?
Oil Pulling Benefits
Holistic dentists (and even a few mainstream dentists) recommend oil pulling, and there’s little surprise why: it’s good for your mouth. According to research published in a 2015 study, oil pulling combats gingivitis and periodontal disease. Participants in the study noted improvement in their gum health after just seven days (!) of incorporating oil pulling into their daily routine. (source)
Another study from 2017 reveals that oil pulling has additional benefits. Oil pulling also:
- Reduces bad breath
- Reduces the chance that plaque sticks to your teeth
- Strengthens the muscles in your mouth
- Prevents tooth decay by fighting cavity-causing bacteria
The benefits of oil pulling aren’t limited to oral health either! According to research published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, oil pulling has been linked to the improvement of 30+ conditions, so it’s no wonder why there are so many anecdotal stories about the oil pulling. (source)
According to long-time devotees, oil pulling has the power to alleviate migraine headaches, diseased teeth, eczema, heart and kidney disease, and more. This 2017 study also supports the anecdotal evidence that oil pulling helps prevent systemic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
How to Do Oil Pulling the Right Way
Oil pulling is easy, and it’s very similar to swishing mouthwash, but there are a few differences. Pull toxins from your blood and freshen your breath in seven easy steps.
- Swish one tablespoon of raw vegetable oil: Most people use cold-pressed sunflower or sesame oils, and we’ll dive into which oil is best in the next section. I prefer using raw coconut oil for oil pulling since it is one of the healthiest oils in the world and helps boost the thyroid. (where to buy coconut oil)
- Choose the right time: Right after you wake up, drink a glass or two of water to start your saliva flow and then take about one tablespoon of oil into your mouth.
- Continue swishing for at least five minutes: Swishing long enough activates enzymes that have a powerful detoxifying affect on our entire system. Swish it around for as long as you can. Start with 5 minutes and gradually increase to 15 to 20 minutes. I plop it into my mouth and swish away as I make my breakfast and pack my kid’s lunches.
- Actively swish the entire time: You might feel your cheeks get tired, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Think about how strong your jaw will become.
- Dispense the oil properly: Do not swallow the oil because it is loaded with bacteria. The oil literally pulls toxins, bacteria, fungus, and other nasty bugs from the mouth (and entire body), which helps to cleanse the blood. Spit it out in the trash (not the sink as it can clog pipes) because this is the safest, cleanest, and best way to eliminate used oil.
- Rinse your teeth: Be sure to wash out your mouth thoroughly to help clean out any lingering bacteria.
- Ta da! You’re done. Now go about your day knowing that you’ve done a great thing for your overall healing.
Since our mouths are a focal point for bacteria and microorganisms that mix with our saliva and eventually reach our bloodstream, you can see how wiping these bad guys out with oil pulling makes a profound impact on our bodies.
Tip: If you’re already healthy, a once a day oil pulling will help keep you that way. If you have more acute conditions, gradually build up to oil pulling three times a day before each meal.
Here’s a video I did a while back on how to do oil pulling 🙂
Which Is the Best Oil to Use?
When it comes to choosing a raw vegetable oil, you’ve got options, but which one should you choose? Sesame oil is the ancient oil of choice, but recent studies suggest that oil pulling with coconut oil is more effective. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which serves as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. (source)
When choosing your oil — whether it’s coconut or sesame — look for the phrase “cold pressed raw virgin oil.” Cold pressed raw virgins oils are collected by pressing the oil out of the seed or nut. Because heat can damage the oil and lower the nutrient quality, cold pressed is ideal.
A quick note on the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil: A few practitioners have warned that long-term coconut oil pulling may be too antimicrobial and wipe out some of your good mouth guys. Overall, though, I think it’s safe to try oil pulling with coconut oil as long as you consume probiotic-rich foods regularly.
When Not to Try Oil Pulling
Although it’s hard to resist the benefits of oil pulling, oil pulling isn’t for everyone.
You might consider avoiding oil pulling if…
- You have mercury fillings: Oil pulling has the potential to pull out mercury from amalgam fillings.
- If you have nickel (or other irritating metals) in your mouth: Like with mercury fillings, oil pulling has the potential to pull out toxins and other toxins from metals in your mouth.
- If you have loose crowns or other old dental work: Oil pulling could loosen these items.
Should you avoid oil pulling if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
It’s like kombucha; if you drank kombucha before pregnancy and had no negative reactions, you can more than likely continue. The same goes for oil pulling; if you oil pulled before and had no issues, you can continue. However, if never tried oil pulling, don’t start it as a new practice when pregnant due to its potential detoxifying effect.
What About You?
Have you tried oil pulling? Was it effective? Please share your experience with us!