The Real Food Guide

Oil pulling with coconut oil

0

Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Kris Gunnars’ site, Authority Nutrition. I’ve recently started oil pulling with coconut oil on a regular basis, after a bout of inflamed gums that felt a little too tender to brush and floss easily. After just a few days of oil pulling, my gums felt much less inflamed and after about 4 days went back to normal. It’s now been about a week of working oil pulling into my morning routine, and already I feel like my mouth is a little cleaner for it. My one recommendation: if you’re brand-new to oil-pulling, use less than a tablespoon to start. The first time I tried with a full tablespoon of coconut oil, I gagged. It’s just too much for me, because in addition to the coconut oil, your saliva builds up, so it can be an overwhelming volume of liquid to swish in your mouth.

————–

What is Oil Pulling and How Does it Work?

Oil pulling has been used for thousands of years as an Indian folk remedy. It involves putting about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, then swishing it around your teeth for 10-20 minutes. There are thousands of different types of bacteria in the mouth. Some of them are friendly, others are not. Certain bacteria can cause harm, such as Streptococcus Mutans, which is the main culprit behind plaque buildup, gingivitis and cavities. The bacteria in the mouth create a “biofilm” on the teeth – a thin layer that they use to adhere to the surface. This is what we know as “plaque.” Having some plaque on your teeth is normal, but if it gets out of hand it can cause all sorts of problems.

The way oil pulling works is simple. When you swish the oil around your mouth, the bacteria “get stuck” in it and dissolve in the liquid oil. Basically, you remove a large amount of the bacteria and plaque in your mouth each time you do this.

I Personally Prefer Coconut Oil

Traditionally, the Indians used other oils such as sesame oil or sunflower oil. Oil pulling should work with pretty much any oil you choose. I prefer coconut oil because Lauric Acid (about half of the fats in coconut oil) is proven to be antimicrobial… it can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi (1, 2). The taste of coconut oil is also fairly pleasant compared to other oils. I found it rather disgusting at first having my mouth full of oil, but I got used to it after a few days.

Now let’s look at a few studies on oil pulling…

Oil Pulling and Streptococcus Mutans

Streptococcus Mutans is one of the main bacteria in the mouth and a key player in plaque buildup and tooth decay. In a study published in 2008 with 20 adolescent boys, oil pulling (using sesame oil) caused a reduction in the number of Streptococcus Mutans in the plaque in as little as 2 weeks (3). It was not as effective as a Chlorhexidine mouthwash, but much cheaper and MUCH less nasty.

Oil Pulling Can Reduce Plaque and Gingivitis

Gingivitis is caused by inflammation of the gums and happens when the immune system starts attacking the bacteria in the plaque. Another study compared oil pulling and chlorhexidine in adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis. Both oil pulling and chlorhexidine mouthwash were effective against gingivitis (4).

Oil Pulling Can Reduce Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is in many cases (not all) caused by the smell of chemicals and gases produced by bacteria in the mouth. It makes sense that if you get rid of some of these bacteria, you reduce bad breath. In a third study of 20 adolescents, oil pulling therapy significantly reduced all markers for bad breath and was just as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash (5).

How to Oil Pull

Oil pulling is incredibly simple and effective. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Put about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth.
  2. Swish the oil around your mouth for about 10-20 minutes.
  3. Spit out the oil, then brush your teeth.

If you use coconut oil like me, then you may have to chew on the oil for a few seconds for it to melt, because it is solid at room temperature. It is best to do this on an empty stomach, before you brush your teeth. I prefer to do it while I take a shower in the morning.

I put the oil in my mouth, swish it around while in the shower and try to “push” and “pull” the oil between my teeth. When I get out of the shower I spit out the oil, rinse my mouth with water and brush my teeth. There is no need to use a lot of force here, if doing this causes pain in your facial muscles then just relax a bit. Try using less oil next time and don’t swish it around too forcefully.

It’s important to spit out the oil. You don’t want to swallow it because it is full of bacteria and nasty things.

What to Expect with Oil Pulling

I’ve been doing this for about 10 days now. I’ve definitely noticed that my breath is fresher and my teeth look a lot cleaner… both whiter and more shiny. I’ve never had any dental problems, but I can see how this could have benefits for people that have them. There are a lot of wild claims out there about oil pulling and how it “pulls” toxins out of your bloodstream. I really don’t think that makes a lot of sense. However, oil pulling IS effective at reducing the harmful bacteria in your mouth and improving oral and dental health.

I have to say that I am really surprised at how effective this is. I plan to continue doing this for a long time.


Like this article? Click here to join our newsletter and get notified about new posts. You can also download a Free Recipes eBook that includes all the recipes listed on this site as a thank you!

Kris Gunnars is the authority behind AuthorityNutrition.com. He is a medical student, personal trainer and someone who has spent years reading books, blogs and research studies on health and nutrition.

Facebook Twitter Google+ 

All of the links on TheRealFoodGuide.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by The Real Food Guide.

May 28 |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Download Your Free Recipe eBook

Get all the recipes from The Real Food Guide in one handy ebook! It’s updated each time a new recipe is added to our site. You will also be added to The Real Food Guide Newsletter so you don’t miss out on other free content.

  • All recipes from the site
  • Stay up to date on new posts
  • Health and wellness info
Skip to toolbar