Oil Pulling.

 oil pulling

I had heard about oil pulling (when you swish coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for twenty minutes) a while back and had been meaning to try it… when suddenly my friends’ accounts of oil pulling overtook my news feed. This post, in particular was getting shared over and over again.

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental health technique. Some people use it as an actual alternative to brushing their teeth… but I personally like to oil pull and then brush + floss after.  The idea behind oil pulling is that the oils pull out all of the toxins in your mouth that regular brushing won’t be able to get. There are amazing benefits — oil pulling promises to do everything from freshen breath and whiten teeth to cure hangovers and help you sleep better. It’s also supposed to help your skin – curing rashes like psoriasis and eczema and clearing up acne.

So, the next day (it’s best to do it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach) I gave it a try. I already had a tub of organic coconut oil at home (I use it to cook with and as a moisturizer) so I just used that. I use this coconut oil, in case you were curious.

How to oil pull:

  1. Put one teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth.
  2. Swish it around like you are using mouthwash.
  3. After twenty minutes, spit it out – into the trash. Do not swallow; or you’ll ingest all those toxins, germs, and bacteria you just pulled out… and do not spit it down the drain – the oil could harden and clog your pipes.
  4. Optional – use a tongue scraper (I have this one) to clean off your tongue.
  5. Do it every day, if you can!

That’s all! I will admit that it was a little bit weird. Twenty minutes is a long time. Luckily I really like the flavor of coconut, but still – a long time. I find it is easiest to do it when I’m getting ready for work. I put the oil in my mouth before my shower, and by the time I’m feeding the cat or putting on my makeup, twenty minutes has passed. My friend says she does it while she’s watching the news. You just have to find a routine that works for you… but it’s best to have a good distraction!

I’ve been doing this for about two weeks (not every day – some mornings I oversleep or forget) but my teeth are definitely considerably whiter. My gums feel healthier too. My breath is much fresher and my mouth just feels really, really clean. It’s a weird thing to say but after you try this, you’ll know what I mean. So yeah, it is definitely a little bit weird, but I am going to keep on doing it. The fresher breath and whiter teeth alone make it worth it to me.

Have you tried oil pulling yet? What do you think?

PS – For extra credit, read this book. It doesn’t talk about oil pulling but it does talk about all the amazing health benefits of coconut oil — cooking with it, eating it, curing illnesses with it, using it as a beauty treatment, etc. It’s an interesting read. I’m about halfway through and have learned a lot.

image via Henry Happened.

Leave a Comment


  1. laurenmarinnm says 3.20.14

    Great post! My mom just finished an Ayurvedic course and got me on oil pulling almost two months ago and I can’t believe I ever lived without it! The benefits for me have been extremely better skin, whiter teeth and healthier feeling gums! Best thing I have ever added to my morning routine! .

  2. Whitney Sanger says 3.20.14

    I started oil pulling it after you mentioned it on your blog and I did some research. It’s only been a week but I like it so far and I do think my teeth are whiter! I also feel a little healthier over all since I’ve started (is that weird?!). I’m definitely going to keep doing it.

  3. comfortablyychic says 3.20.14

    Thanks for sharing your experience Grace! I’ve been thinking about doing it but was honestly a little bit scared about the taste… but it doesn’t sound horrible!

    xx, jen

  4. Abby says 3.20.14

    I just started Oil Pulling too and am obsessed! My mouth feels much cleaner and I feel more energized!


  5. I’ve been reading into this lately. It’s been all over my newsfeed and it’s hard to overlook, but I’ve been nervous about it. I guess worst case scenario is that I use the oil as moisturizer right?

  6. Bobbi-Sue says 3.20.14

    So happy you did a post on this! I’ve been seeing a ton of people posting things on FB and wanted to get your take. Was thinking about it earlier today actually. Definitely going to have to try it out!

  7. Gardenias and Mint says 3.20.14

    I’ve been hearing so much about this, and I’ve been wanting to try! I will definitely give it a shot! Thanks for the extra tips!


  8. Alex D. says 3.20.14

    I now actually really enjoy my morning oil pulling routine! I look forward to it! At first it was weird, I agree, but now that I’m used to it and see the benefits I am glad I started doing it.

  9. Carling says 3.20.14

    I have never heard of this, but it sounds so interesting… I am definetely going to give it a try…. 20 minutes sounds like a long time though!!

    • Grace Atwood says 3.20.14

      sometimes I only do it for ten 🙂

  10. Shipwreck Beads says 3.20.14

    I tried to do the oil pulling thing the other night and as soon as I put the coconut oil in my mouth I started to gag. The texture was just awful and I could not imagine sitting there for 20 min. It is nice to hear that it works though… now if only I had a stronger stomach.

    • Grace Atwood says 3.20.14

      oof – maybe try it with sesame oil!

  11. Recently a friend recommended this. After reading this I’ve decided it must be tried, at least for a week. Thanks for the tips Grace! – Sarah

  12. Heidi says 3.20.14

    I’ve been doing this for about two months and my teeth are the whitest they’ve ever been. Well, they whitest they’ve been since I started drinking coffee 🙂 I know some people give up brushing completely, but I wasn’t ready to go that far. I brush my teeth after rinsing out. I have noticed my skin looks better and I haven’t had a cold since I started doing this. Unsure if that’s connected, but I had a two week stretch where every single person I knew had a sore throat and I was good to go.


  13. jillian says 3.20.14

    this sounds SO interesting…i really want to try it! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  14. Stacey says 3.20.14

    I have been reading about this and I want to try it but I don’t know If I can have the oil in my mouth for that long!

    Five Minute Style

  15. Bee says 3.20.14

    I researched this last week and was surprised that my favorite gals hadn’t written about the subject yet!! Of course you would be the first one!! ;). Well, I am already doing the dry brushing routine so I suppose I will add oil pulling next!! This girl likes all the tips & tricks!!

  16. Leah says 3.20.14

    I just started doing it and my mouth feels kind of awesome. Good tips!

  17. Erica says 3.20.14

    Yep. I have been doing it myself for the past 2 weeks. My eczema on my arm has cleared up significantly & I have been sleeping way better. I feel like my mouth is cleaner too. I am definitely curious to see what happens after a month!

  18. I’ve never tried this. But the fresher breath and whiter teeth are sure making me want to!

  19. After you told me about this I decided I’m going out and buying a tub of oil! I would do it alone just for the teeth whitening benefits — it’s something I struggle with (too much wine…). I wonder if this would work with any type of organic oil? Like, could you do it with olive?

  20. Smash says 3.20.14

    So interesting! I’m really glad you’ve shared. I’ve heard about it before but always thought it sounded a little strange…however I already have it in the house so I’m going to give it a try! Thanks for sharing! xx

  21. bclaire says 3.20.14

    I so need to try this. I wonder where to buy coconut oil? Thanks for posting about it, because I’ve heard of it but wasn’t sure how well it worked. So yay!

    • bclaire says 3.20.14

      Aaand apparently missed your link to the one from Amazon. Added to cart!

  22. jessie says 3.20.14

    I’ve been oil pulling since 11/13 and I have experienced similar results! However, I don’t wash with salt water after. Do you know the rationale for doing this?

    It’s super interesting for me (a soapmaker), bc the process of swishing saliva and coconut oil creates a chemical process called saponification. In soapmaking, this the precise moment when soap is formed between an acid and a base. So technically, the teeth are really being cleaned… with “soap!” On days when I don’t oil pull feel like I have bad breath! (perhaps it is just psychological though)

    • Grace Atwood says 3.21.14

      I never wash with salt water after… I just brush my teeth and floss!

  23. Sarah Lagen says 3.20.14

    This Oil Pulling is so interesting!! I want to try it but I’m just not sure that I can make an entire 20 of swishing!! Thanks for sharing!

  24. I have read about this before but I couldn’t imagine keeping oil in my mouth for that long. I am really curious about the benefits though. Thanks for sharing your experience. I might have the courage to try it soon

  25. Tamika says 3.21.14

    Wow this sounds very interesting…let me ask, do you have to warm the coconut oil up first to get it in its liquid form??

    • Grace Atwood says 3.21.14

      Nope! It warms up in your mouth.

  26. Gina G says 3.21.14

    Are you swishing for the entire 20 minutes or just holding it in your mouth? I think my mouth would get so tired! Let me know. Thanks!

    • Grace Atwood says 3.21.14

      I try to swish it the whole time but sometimes I don’t. Also some days I only do it for ten minutes!

  27. Anne says 3.21.14

    Thanks for this info! I just started oil pulling a few days ago and haven’t seen any noticeable improvements yet, but keeping my fingers crossed! I love the way coconut oil tastes, so it’s sort of enjoyable for me (weird, I know).

    xoxo, Anne
    Rays of Rossi

  28. The timing of this post could not be more perfect. I almost commented on one of your instagram photos just this week about how white your teeth are, so now I’m sold! Can’t wait to try it.

  29. Rachel says 3.21.14

    I hate the term “oil pulling”- do you? It sounds so weird and gross to me! 😛 I’ve been very curious about this, so this write-up was super helpful. I use coconut oil on my face/hair a lot (and sometimes when cooking), so I might as well give this a shot

  30. fashionsbit says 3.21.14

    hmm, thats the first time I heart about it. But I think its not applicable for me 🙂

  31. Diana says 3.21.14

    I never heard of this before you posted about it but I really want to try it now. Really really.

  32. I never heard of this before!! Love learning about new things on your blog 🙂 I just started using coconut oil in the shower as a moisturizer and now I’m definitely trying this. Whitening strips make my teeth so sensitive I can’t stick with them

  33. Holly says 3.21.14

    I’ve never actually heard of oil pulling before. Such a weird name for it 🙂 I’m so interested in trying it out though!

  34. Amanda Elizabeth says 3.21.14

    Thanks for this review! I have been doing a lot of research on this but I’m still a little weird about the whole process I guess I just need to take the plunge already!

  35. franki durbin says 3.22.14

    Doing it & loving it! Been at it for about two months. I didn’t do any “before” photos, so it will be difficult to document exact progress… but it is an oddly satisfying ritual.

  36. I want to try this out! I’m not sure when…

  37. Susan says 3.22.14

    I’ve been hearing more about oil pulling lately. Have any of you whose doing this experience any side effects (e.g., I heard some people felt headaches)?

  38. laura says 3.23.14

    I love the idea of this. I really like the taste of coconut, but the feeling of oil in my mouth made me gag after 2 minutes. Any pointers? So bummed! i would love to reap the benefits.

  39. This sounds amazing. How long should you wait to eat or drink afterwards?

  40. Armand says 3.23.14

    I don’t see how this works other than creating vast amounts of saliva in the mouth…which is the agent that your body uses naturally to reduce bacteria in the mouth and this reduce bad breath, bad gums, a produce whiter teeth.

  41. A Girl, A Style says 3.24.14

    I don’t know how I’ve never heard of this, but now you have my intrigued! I just bought a fresh jar of coconut oil, so I’m going to try this tomorrow!

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

    Briony xx

  42. Billy says 3.27.14

    I followed the procedures and the first time I tried I felt like I’m going to puke out. It is so challenging but in the end I felt so refreshed, so clean and I’ve been doing this most of the times now. I suggest you try it too guys. Thanks for this post again.

  43. Julie says 5.5.14

    I’ve been op for approximately 6 weeks and just love it! It was very weird the first week and hard to keep coconut oil in my mouth for 20 minutes but after a week, I was a pro and I just put on makeup, feed the cats and the time goes by pretty fast. I love the way my mouth feels, my skin is glowing, I’m sleeping better and my brown spots on my hands are disappearing (very cool)!!! I also have so much more energy. I’m going to the dentist next week and can’t wait to hear what they have to say.