I’ve been coconut oil pulling for 8 years now. It’s been one of the smallest yet most significant habits I’ve added to my health routine, and one I love to share with others.
With a regular habit of coconut oil pulling, I and my husband have:
- Whitened teeth and gotten rid of stains
- Reduced sensitivity in our teeth
- Reduced plaque
- And even healed a cavity!
Whenever I blog about it, ya’ll have lots of questions, so I thought the best way to help you begin coconut oil pulling was to take you step by step with a video.
I must really love you guys. I’m about to post a video of me swishing oil in my mouth.
Here’s the run down if video isn’t your thing…
Step One: Get yourself some coconut oil.
For oil pulling, you want to use the highest quality coconut oil you can get your hands on. (Hint: it should smell like coconut oil. That means it hasn’t been over-processed.) I have found good quality coconut oil at Aldi’s, Wal-Mart, and I know Costco carries good stuff. But I also like to purchase mine online because so I get the discount of buying in bulk. I often use Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil, but also like the Carrington Farms brand. I can get both with free shipping off Amazon.
If you’re concerned about gagging over a spoonful of oil in your mouth, you definitely want to go for the purest coconut oil you can find, or consider adding essential oils to flavor it. Message me if you need a source for pure oils!
Step Two: Get the oil in your mouth.
The morning after you get your coconut oil, scoop out about a teaspoon of oil and put it in your mouth. We oil pull first thing in the morning because you’re supposed to do it on an empty stomach, though Dr. Mercola says you can do it anytime. My husband or I will pull out the jar of coconut oil and spoon a teaspoon into our mouths, and then leave the jar out for each other.
Coconut oil is usually hard at room temperature (it melts at 76 degrees) so we chew/mush it around in our mouths till it becomes liquid. If the very idea of chewing a semi-solid oil bothers you, then you can melt it quickly in a small pan on low heat. (I don’t recommend microwaving oil.)
Step Three: Swish…for 20 minutes.
This is the part that intimidates people, but the hardest part is just that you can’t talk while you’re doing it. It’s really actually quite entertaining. We do sign language or write notes to each other if we need to communicate while oil pulling, but since this is first thing in the morning, there’s not usually that much that we need to say, so we just go about our morning routines, swishing away while we get dressed, begin breakfast prep, make a smoothie, check email.
Yes, it takes a few days to work up the muscle tone to swish constantly for 20 minutes, but even if the oil is just in your mouth, it’s in contact with your teeth, so taking breaks between bouts of swishing is OK. You also may experience a build up of saliva when you first start coconut oil pulling–just spit excess liquid out and keep on swishing. Don’t worry, your saliva glands will get used to your new habit and will settle down after a few rounds of swishing.
Step Four: Spit and Rinse
Once you’ve swished that oil around for 20 minutes, it will have been broken down by your saliva into a thin, bubbly stream in your mouth. Spit this out in the trash so you don’t risk clogging your sink with the oil over time. Next you’ll probably want to rinse your mouth out–there’s residual oil and who-knows-what toxins it may have pulled from your teeth. I do a good swish or two with cold water, and then I’m done.
To Brush, or Not to Brush?
I don’t usually brush afterward, and actually don’t brush my teeth regularly since I began oil pulling. Not only have I come to believe that vigorous brushing and especially flossing are invasive and can be harmful to our gums, I find I don’t need to brush as often. The coconut oil pulling has reduced plaque on my teeth and leaves them feeling so smooth and clean, it’s as if food doesn’t stick to them as easily.
How Often Should You Oil Pull?
If you are addressing cavities or other oral infections with coconut oil pulling, you will want to oil pull at least once a day, if not before each meal. My husband had a huge cavity which he healed within a month with daily oil pulling and cod liver oil supplementation. But the cavity left quite the crater in his tooth, so he has to be diligent with oil pulling to keep that spot from gathering more infection.
I, on the other hand, have never had a cavity, so my oil pulling routine is a little more laid back. I think of it as maintenance mode–I oil pull 3-4 times a week, and brush gently with water or this natural toothpaste if I feel my teeth need it in between.
Increasing Nutrition During Oil Pulling
In order to truly heal tooth decay, it’s crucial to increase nutrition during when you are oil pulling. We enjoy a diet rich in traditional foods like bone broth, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, animal proteins, and sourdough. If you need help making the switch to more whole foods in your diet, check out my book. It can also be helpful to supplement with cod liver oil to get extra Vitamin A and D into the diet. It’s important to find to choose a product that has a 10 to 1 ratio of Vitamin A to Vitamin D. This is the ratio at which these vitamins are best absorbed and utilized. When Jeremy and I feel the need to supplement, we take two capsules daily of the Twinlab brand Norwegian Cod Liver Oil which equals 5000 IU of Vitamin A and 540 IU of Vitamin D a day.
Oil Pulling Long Term
Some people are concerned about the idea of making coc0nut oil pulling a long term habit. Our personal experience after 8 years is that oil pulling is a gentle and sustainable tooth care routine. Our teeth have been stronger and cleaner since we began, and we have never experienced any negative side effects.
However, oil pulling should be done in conjunction with a healthy diet so that our teeth actually have the nutrients they need to remineralize and stay strong. A truly nourishing diet includes quality proteins, raw and cultured dairy, and probiotic rich foods–which you can find simple instructions for in my book, Your Real Food Journey.
So, that’s it, folks–how to start coconut oil pulling if you’ve never done it, and what our oil pulling routine looks like after nearly two years. If you want to read more about this amazing technique, visit my Guide to Oil Pulling page. If you have a question, be sure to check out those posts first. And if you have an oil pulling success story, please share it in the comments!
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uma mehra says
Can the whey of coconut milk curd or d curd b used for oil pulling?
What else can the whey b used for?
uma mehra says
Hello Triana, I’m a denture wearer with 2 implants in my mouth. How safe will oil pulling be on my implants
I don’t know–you’d have to google that. I don’t have dentures and only have shared my personal experience on this blog
is it safe to pull with amalgam fillings? I’ve heard conflict reports.
From my research, I’ve concluded that it would be a support to your system, helping to detox from the amalgam.
I am wondering how long you have to oil-pull before a cavity is healed. Do you know?
Hello, Trina. The oil pulling sounds interesting. Do you know if it would work for someone who has a raw vegan diet? Also, would it work if you have a cavity between your teeth and not on the top of the tooth? (The cavity I have is on the side of my tooth, next to another tooth, so I can’t really see it, but I can feel it.) Thank you for your response!
Yvette, I don’t know if it will work, it all depends on if your body is getting sufficient nutrients to be able to rebuild and I know that that takes real intentionality to get all the minerals and complete protiens when on a vegan diet. Oil pulling helps pull out infection, but you may want to research more ways you can up nutrition if you want to see the tooth rebuild.
Thank you for your response, Trina.
P.S. The oil pulling has been going well. I make a game out of it… I watch funny movies and practice laughing with my mouth closed.
My teeth are so much whiter and feel more cleaner since I’ve started this (almost 2 months now). Still have to floss, though. No getting around that! (At least not in my case.)
Lisa in Tahoe says
I HAD A SIMILAR CONCERN ABOUT REMINERALIZING A DEEPLY DECAYED TOOTH. TURNS OUT THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE THAT CONSUMING ORGANIC EGG SHELLS WITH COMFREY ON A DAILY BASIS WILL CAUSE TOOTH REGROWTH — COMFREY IS DANGEROUS TO THE LIVER IN HIGH CONCENTRATIONS AND MUST BE USED SPARINGLY AND FOR SHORT COURSES. I BELIEVE THAT THE FILLING MUST BE REMOVED BEFORE THIS COMBO COULD BE EFFECIVE WITHIN THE TOOTH CAVITY SPACE. BUT HEALING THE NERVE IS CRITICAL TO AVERT TOOTH LOSS OR EXTRACTION OR WORSE A COSTLY ROOT CANAL THAT WILL ULTIMATELY RESULT IN AN INFECTED TOOTH. I AM ABOUT TO ATTEMPT THIS BECAUSE THE TESTIMONIAL EVIDENCE , THOUGH LIMITED, SAYS THAT REGROWTH CAN OCCUR IS AS FEW AS TWO WEEKS! IN MY CASE I AM TRYING TO NOT HAVE A ROOT CANAL AND NOW HAVE A TEMPORARY FILLING IN PLACE. I BELIEVE USING A FOOD GRADE ANIT-MICROBIAL AND ANTI-BACTERIAL OIL PULLING PROCEDURE WILL WORK BEFORE AND AFTER THE FILLINGS IN MY TEETH ARE REMOVED BY A BIOLOGICAL DENTIST. IN THIS TYPE OF PRACTICE, THE AMALGAMS ARE REMOVED AND AN ANTIBIOTIC COMPOUND IS INJECTED BELOW THE GUMLINE TO ATTACK THE BROAD INFECTION. THE NERVE IS THEN GIVEN A CHANCE TO HEAL ON ITS OWN FOR A FEW WEEKS. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE SPACE WHERE THE DECAY IS REMOVED WITHIN THE TOOTH IS FILLED WILL A BIOCOMPATIABLE, INERT MATERIAL TO GVE THE TOOTH STRUCTURAL STRENGTH, PARTICULALY FOR MOLARS. BECAUSE THE TOOTH ITSELF MAY BE TOO ROTTED AWAY IN THE CASE OF A MOLAR, A CROWN IS TYPICALLY PLACED OVER THE ONCE-DECAYED TOOTH — BUT HERE’S THE GOOD PART — REGROWING THE TOOTH ENOUGH TO SUPPORT SUPERFICIAL FILLING OR REGROWING ENOUGH TOOTH MATERIAL TO COVER UP THE GAP ENTIRELY, IS A LIKELY OUTCOME INSTEAD — THIS IS A HUGE DEPARTURE FROM WHAT STANDARD DENISTRY WILL TELL YOU. KEEP IN MIND THAT YOUR TEETH ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THE STRONGEST BONE MATERIAL IN YOUR BODY SO IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE THAT IT COULD NOT BE REGENERATED. NO NEED FOR 3RD PRINTING — BUT I SUPPOSE THAT TOO COULD BE DONE TO EXPEDITE THIS WHOLE PROCESS!
Can you suggest another coconut oil that had the minty flavor? The one in the article does not seem to be in business? Thanks!
you can flavor your own coconut oil if you have a good essential oil. email me if you need help sourcing therputic grade peppermint oil!
For some reason I felt my teeth looked more yello after oil pulling for 2 days which made me stop. Is this normal?
Good morning. I just watched your video &started oil pulling about a hour ago. I’ll keep you posted. I plan to do it every other day. Thank you
I have a lot of tooth decay and receding gums and just found out that I have severe jaw bone loss. which I had no idea of, and I am at risk for loosing my teeth. I have been oil pulling for about 4 months and I think it is helping, I also learned not to brush you teeth until half an hour after eating as they have to re-harden after eating or you can damage the teeth. I am also trying some nutritional things like fermented cod liver oil. But I didn’t realise that oil pulling also softens the teeth and had thought it was best to brush right after – I guess that is a bad idea. Why do you suggest oil pulling before meals instead of after? I am also trying swishing with comfrey tea. Any other tips for me to heal my teeth, gums and jaw bone?
Juliana, I recommend a nutrient dense diet with lots of bone broth–the book “Nourishing Broth” is a great read on the astounding healing and building properties of bone broth.
Tamara, RDH says
I have been a dental hygienist for 17 years. My healthy patients floss daily and brush 2 times a day. These are not invasive habits if done properly. Actually, the patients that have healthy brushing and flossing habits have no problems with tooth decay or periodontist (gum disease or bone loss). Coconut oil pulling may have great benefits for oral health, but should never replace brushing and flossing daily. It should be an adjunct.
Omg yes! This needs to be said.Thank you!
Ima Walrus says
Hi there, I had a question. I read in an Andreas Moritz book awhile back that you should spit it out after 4-5 minutes cause it helps also detoxify your liver but after a certain time point according to him you would start absorbing those toxins so he advised spitting it out after 5 minutes max, and then recommended that it could be done 2x more for another 4-5 minutes and he recommended rinsing with salt water or baking soda or something. Does anyone have any thoughts on the timing though? Thanks, and thanks for the article. I will be planning to start this practice again soon.
I oil pull until the texture of the oil changes…which is usually 15 minutes. That’s when I know I’m done. I can feel the detoxing begin by 10 minutes (nose starts to run). So I wouldn’t do it less than that.
What is the reason that you spit it out when it thins? When I oil pull it always takes a different amount of time to thin, sometimes it is very sudden and quick when it goes from thick to thin. What does it mean when it turns thin? I have just been doing it for 20 minutes regardless. I have also heard though that you should do it for 10 minutes, then spit out and then do another 10 minutes with new oil so you don’t keep recirculating the toxins for all that time?
Juliana, I think this is personal preference. I feel like the oil gets more affective toward the end of 20 minutes. You may experience something different.
Hi thank you for the step by step instructions.. Also what type of cod live oil supplement does your husband use? Thank you!?
Lala, It’s important to find to choose a product that has a 10 to 1 ratio of Vitamin A to Vitamin D. This is the ratio at which these vitamins are best absorbed and utilized. When Jeremy and I feel the need to supplement, we take two capsules daily of the Twinlab brand Norwegian Cod Liver Oil which equals 5000 IU of Vitamin A and 540 IU of Vitamin D a day.
oh my goodness Dear! TOTALLY loved your concise humerous and specific instructions…will start tonight! Thank you 🙂
Cleo madrid says
Using Coconut Oil for brushing teeth.. hmmm interesting… Loved it! 🙂