Oil Pulling Update

April 16, 2014

oil pulling

Image and text by Gabrielle.

In January, I wrote a post about oil-pulling and confessed that I hadn’t brushed my teeth since the first week of December. It’s been a few months and I thought I would give a little update.

It’s a short update! Basically, I’m still at it. I still oil pull every morning for 20 minutes — even when I’m traveling. I still love it. I still see benefits. I still use this coconut oil. I still haven’t seen the dentist (I know. I know. I need to go!), but I have been to the orthodontist, who took full x-rays. He doesn’t know I’m oil-pulling, but commented that my oral hygiene was (and I quote) “impeccable”. That’s good news! Especially considering my teeth haven’t been professionally cleaned since July 2013.

Most of all, I still think it’s quite crazy that I don’t brush or floss or use toothpaste or mouthwash. And I haven’t for almost 5 months now. Hah!

I promise, I’m not offended at all if you feel like it’s quackery. This is not something I feel like a passionate advocate for — I haven’t asked anyone to try it, even my kids. And I get that other people might try it and decide they don’t like it at all. For me, it’s a pretty straightforward thing and doesn’t involve much mystery — I can see and feel that my teeth are cleaner after oil pulling, I can tell that my breath is better, I can see that my teeth are whiter. If I didn’t experience physical differences after the oil pulling, I’m sure I would have given it up. But for now, I plan to stick with it until I don’t enjoy it anymore.

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are. Have you tried oil pulling? Did you like it? Did you find it impossible to swish for 20 minutes? Have you tried different oils? Does the whole idea make you roll your eyes? Chime in!

P.S. — If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say oil pulling, start with this post, where I explain what I know about oil pulling and link to more sources on the subject.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 4 trackbacks }

Instagram Crushes {plus} The Weekly Recap | Life in Sketch
April 18, 2014 at 5:00 am
April 20, 2014 at 7:31 pm
Squirrelly Minds » Life | On Dental Routines and Oil Pulling
June 11, 2014 at 6:03 am
Body Love: Oil Pulling | The Fete Blog
February 10, 2015 at 7:23 pm

{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah April 16, 2014 at 10:10 am

I tried oil pulling for the first time two days ago. I really wanted to like it but I have to admit I gagged after about 5 minutes! There are a couple of variables.. maybe I used too much oil, or the wrong brand? I might try it again, but for now i need to recover from that! lol. :)


2 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

I would definitely recommend starting with a small amount of oil — like maybe a half a teaspoon for the first time. If you’re using coconut oil, you’ll have to wait until the oil melts in your mouth before you can start swishing it around, and it can feel strange to have a solid clump of coconut oil sitting on your tongue. So a small amount is easier to get used to.


3 Blair May 15, 2014 at 10:12 am

I used too much the first time I tried it. The oil pull adds more liquid with saliva and everything that it’s pulling and by the end I have a mouth full of liquid. I only use maybe a teaspoon. I took me a while to get used to it.


4 krissy April 16, 2014 at 10:20 am

I am currently in the midst of my second foray into oil pulling, but like Sarah, I was gagging and found it really gross at first. I decided to try again because my sensitive teeth were SO INCREDIBLY LESS SENSITIVE (sorry to scream, but I didn’t think it was possible for me to ever drink even slightly cool water) after just a week of pulling. This is so gross, but helps with gagging, I usually brush my tongue or use a scraper before I pull. Also, I realized I was using too much oil, I use a little more than a teaspoon now and it’s great!


5 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

The lessened teeth sensitivity has been a big benefit for me too!


6 Allison April 16, 2014 at 10:37 am

I tried it and do it off and on. I am lazy because of my two small kids…one that won’t sleep. My mornings are tired and intense moving. I want to make it a daily routine though. I will try! Thanks for the update! I did, however, start using it to wash my face and I LOVE it! I will forever do this. My face feels so good. Takes makeup right off and smells wonderful. Not sure I’ve noticed major changes thus far, but I’ve been luckily blessed with nice skin. It does not clog my pores.


7 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I’d love more info on the process of washing your face with coconut oil. I’ve used it as a moisturizer, but I’m unclear on how to use it as a cleanser.


8 The Glamorous Housewife April 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

All you need to do is rub the oil on your face like it was soap. Then wipe it off with a warm wet washcloth. It should break down the dirt and makeup and keep your skin smooth. I use it like I would use cold cream.

Thanks doll,
The Glamorous Housewife


9 mandi@herbanhomestead April 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Hey Gabby! Are you familiar with the Oil Cleansing Method? I wrote a little on it here if you are unfamiliar http://herbanhomestead.blogspot.com/2009/09/cleansing-oil.html
I have a skin care line that includes facial cleansing oils. It has been so neat to hear from women (and teenagers and men!) that the oil has been helping!


10 Candace April 16, 2014 at 10:40 am

I can’t get past the idea of swishing around mouth yuck + oil for 20 minutes without the comfort of the germ-killing zing provided by toothpaste & mouthwashes.

How do you get past it? And do it with littles? Mine are 2 & 4!


11 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm

“I can’t get past the idea of swishing around mouth yuck + oil for 20 minutes”

Hah! When you put it that way, I can’t get past the idea either. If I think about it too hard it’s so gross!

The thing about the swishing is that once the coconut oil is in liquid state, it just feels like swishing water in your mouth. It doesn’t feel strange. I’ve tried it with olive oil as well and it also just felt like water during the swishing.


12 Emma April 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

I am curious but have to say the 20 min thing put me off with a three year old and 11 month old not sure when I would have 20 mins that I wouldn’t need to talk but I love coconut oil for a million other reasons and just found out it relieves mosquito bite itchiness and it has saved my life as I get eaten alive


13 Wendy April 16, 2014 at 11:02 am

I have tried it with coconut oil & gagged after about two minutes, but I really cannot stand the smell or taste of coconut anything, so I am planning on trying with sunflower oil. Fingers crossed that it’s not as gross to me!


14 Franca Bollo April 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Wendy, you might consider trying sesame oil. It’s the original oil used in this Ayurvedic practice. Ayurveda is an Indian traditional medicine.


15 Amy from Swag on, Momma! April 16, 2014 at 11:11 am

I tried it, since I would love to have whiter teeth, but the whitestrips available at the store my my teeth unbearable sensitive. I was pretty excited to give it a go, but I popped a small spoonful of coconut oil in my mouth, and less than a minute later I was gagging and spitting it out into the trash! *shudder* That texture still makes me cringe. I should have known–I’m pregnant, and right now my gag reflex is super overactive. I want to try again, though. If I still gag, I’ll wait till after baby is born!


16 Jenny April 16, 2014 at 11:25 am

I tried this after you last posted about it. I didn’t have the oil in my mouth for more than a few seconds before I gagged and threw up everything I’d had for breakfast. How do you manage to do it without gagging?


17 rachael April 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm

try melting it under your tongue! that’s what i did to stop the gagging.


18 Ginger J. April 16, 2014 at 11:26 am

Oh hurray! I was hoping you’d give an update soon. I’ve been oil-pulling for several months now, and I’m having the same kind of experience as you (though I still floss at night and brush with water). I haven’t been as stringent about doing it first thing in the morning though–sometimes if I’m busy working or writing, I don’t do it until late morning or even early afternoon. Do you think this matters?

I hope you’ll give another update after you go for a cleaning.


19 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity April 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

I tried it after reading your original post about oil pulling and I have found that I can only so a small amount (about a teaspoon) so I don’t gag. I also wondered how you make the beds and remember to keep swishing. I do it for about 10 minutes as that is all I can get in while I’m getting ready in the morning and I’m constantly forgetting to swish as I blow dry my hair and get dressed. Anyway, I still find that it has improved my oral hygiene and how clean my teeth feel even though it is less than the 20 minutes you recommended. I still brush and floss as well so this is in addition to what I usually do, but I like the feel in my mouth.

With the type of coconut oil that I use there is no coconut flavour or oily feeling once it melts, so it just feels like swishing water in your mouth. Thanks for the update Gabby as I was wondering what your dentist would say about the not brushing or flossing.

p.s. I think of you every morning as I get ready for work now ;)


20 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 12:05 pm

I definitely take breaks from the actual swishing as I got about my morning chores. Sometimes I get distracted, or sometimes I just swish slowly and then try to swish more powerfully for the last few minutes.


21 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm

And thanks for thinking of me each morning! Makes me happy. : )


22 Summer April 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I’m curious for you or anyone else who continues to brush or floss, what order do you do it in? Like, brush w water, floss, coco oil or floss, coco oil, brush…. So. Many. Questions.

I still haven’t tried it because i read something about it possibly being bad for crowns. Also, i’d want to do it at night rather than the morning, and I’m never quiet for 20 minutes! Haha


23 Christine E-E April 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

Curious? Do you do this each morning before coffee or tea? Or after breakfast? Also, have you tried this at night before bed? Instead of the morning? From what I’ve read, it seems you pull only once a day? Is that correct?


24 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I almost always do it before I’ve eaten anything — I put the oil in once the kids are out the door. But sometimes, I’ll oil pull late in the morning if I have an interruption to my usual schedule. I have tried it once at night and it seemed fine as well. I really don’t know if time of day matters, or how much it matters.


25 Robin April 16, 2014 at 11:34 am

1. Is there a recommended amount to use? 1 tsp or 1 tbsp?
2. Is it weird that the coconut oil is basically a solid when you scoop it out of the jar? Does it just turn liquid in your mouth?
3. I cannot get over the name “oil pulling” brings to mind pulling taffy at the fair.


26 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity April 16, 2014 at 11:37 am

I only use about a teaspoon or I gag and yes the coconut oil is solid and melts when you put it in your mouth. My coconut oil is tasteless so you really feel like you are swishing water. I’m totally with you on the taffy pulling imagery – this isn’t as much fun ;)


27 homa April 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

I’v tried it for three weeks with coconut oil. I found it difficult to swish for 20 minutes so I gave myself permission to start slow and work up to the 20 and I’m almost there. I have a very strong gag reflex and swishing for that long is hard.My teeth do feel better and look better.


28 Wendy April 16, 2014 at 11:45 am

I’ve been oil pulling for almost four months now and continue to see the benefits. I use a teaspoon as soon as I wake up — the only 20-minute period of time when my family doesn’t expect an answer from me. My teeth are whiter and any sign of bad morning breath is gone. I sometimes brush with water at night but otherwise, I am toothpaste free. One interesting note: My husband, who had an almost brown, discolored tooth, joined me in oil pulling two months ago. Already, his once discolored tooth looks several shades whiter and much healthier. We’ve been pretty impressed so far!


29 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm

That’s good news about your husband’s tooth! What a happy side benefit.


30 K April 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I was intrigued the first time Gabrielle wrote about oil pulling, but after your comment, Wendy, I am very tempted to try. I have a dead tooth (past injury) and am sensitive about the discoloration. White strips didn’t make much of a difference. Perhaps coconut oil will!


31 Wendy April 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm

It certainly couldn’t hurt to try. He’s been really surprised at the difference. Good luck!


32 JessK April 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

Thanks so much for the update! I’m fascinated and want to try it, but I am currently pregnant with a very sensitive gag reflex, so I think I’ll wait a few more months.


33 Meaghan April 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I have been doing it since the very first time to mentioned it and I love it! It took a lot of work to get up to the full 20 minutes, but now I can without gagging or getting a sore jaw. I have introduced some friends to it as well! I’ll admit I still brush and floss at night, but I love how clean my teeth stay throughout the day! Thanks for the introduction!


34 Audra Blair April 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I have been oil pulling now for 2 months, and I am super excited that my teeth are visibly whiter, staining is mostly gone, and the sensitivity that I dealt with has vanished. I have been told repeatedly by my dentist that I am an agressive brusher, and was brushing away my gums. Oil pulling has saved me from making my problem worse. I oil pull in the morning for 20 minutes, then follow up with flossing. In the evening I floss again, and about every 3rd day, I will brush in the evening. I have also noticed dewier looking skin on my face and better sleep in the evenings. I thought I would gag as others have described, but I found a mild coconut oil and it really seems like I am swishing water. I have been spreading the word to everyone that I know, especially my fellow agressive brushers! Thank you Gabby for bringing this discussion up.


35 Design Mom April 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Glad to hear it’s help you beat your aggressive brushing. Hooray for a gentle solution!


36 Allison April 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I am really tempted to try this, but a little scared to try it too. I like your tips about starting with a small amount.


37 Franca Bollo April 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Ha! Oil pulling as I read this. I love it, too.


38 Angel April 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm

This must be a sign – I was literally just thinking about oil pulling and here is a post! I really need to try it. I have seen some people brush their teeth afterwards too so I guess it can’t hurt.


39 Rebecca T. April 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm

I noticed whiter teeth immediately when I started oil pulling! Also, I had a pain in my jaw and assumed the worse, but honestly, after swishing with oil two days in a row the pain went away. I haven’t done it in a few weeks, but this is a good reminder to get back to it.

Regarding the gagging, you all should definitely try smaller amounts. I put a little in my house, hold it on my tongue until it melts, then read the news and check email while I swish. I am terrible about swishing though and will inevitably spit oil on my computer screen!


40 Rebecca T. April 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

*mouth, not house. Duh.


41 Layne April 16, 2014 at 12:51 pm

I was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and kept hearing about the magic of coconut oil. So reading your blog post tipped me over the edge and I started oil pulling shortly after. I love it!!! My teeth feel clean and strong. I recommend it to everyone.


42 NicoleK April 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm

I could have written this post! I’m right there with you…

I must share that I have a really hard time with room temp coconut oil… so I use my little candy mold (each mold holds ~1 Tbl.) Melt the oil on the stove, spoon it into the molds, chill then dump them into a cute little container kept in the fridge. It’s sooooo much easier for me to pop one in my mouth and chew it to get it to the liquid/swishing state! I couldn’t do it otherwise =)

Also – my boys HATE brushing their teeth but my 10-year-old will oil pull! Yay!


43 sara April 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

My dentist told me she doesn’t use tooth paste. She said it is terrible for people with sensitive teeth and gums. It does nothing more than make people feel like they have clean teeth.


44 Carrie Willard April 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

How awesome that your Dentist is so honest! It’s true, toothpaste was a marketing gimmick, nothing more. Even the sudsing people are used to was added to make people think their mouth was clean. Interestingly, when I’m forced by circumstance to use a conventional toothpaste, after spitting and all I notice tons of dirty spots I “missed” while using it… the sudsing makes it harder to tell where your brush has been. Brushing with something that doesn’t suds up is so much better, not to mention the toxic ingredients in most toothpaste.

Gabrielle, I didn’t realize until reading this that you don’t brush after. I thought traditionally you’re supposed to brush after? Is this a personal choice or have you read other information about it?

Also, has anyone experienced an increase in mucus in the throat after pulling? I experienced this for a bit, then it cleared. Afterwards I read that this is a GOOD sign… pulling is supposed to pull phlegm out of the nasal passages, so it’s getting rid of it. Cool!


45 Rose April 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I tried it once and although my mouth got tired I didn’t find it nearly as gross as I thought I would. I haven’t done it again,though, because I can’t seem to find a clear answer on what effect it might have on existing crowns and fillings — I have one porcelain crown and fillings of various types in almost every tooth. Will they get loosened or damaged by the oil pulling?


46 liz bohannon April 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I have a TERRIBLE habit of brushing my teeth for WAY too long. I just wander around the house, check my email, tidy up, etc. all while brushing. I know it is horrible for my gums, so this could actually be the perfect substitute! I’ve actually been waiting to hear an update and this just pushed me over the edge. I am getting some tonight and my gums are going to thank me! (and you!)


47 Shalynn April 16, 2014 at 1:37 pm

So I’ve been doing it since your last post (thank you!) and I love it. I still feel plaque on my teeth if I don’t brush at night though. Do you not have this problem? I’d love to stop brushing all together, but there is no way! Any tips for that?


48 Melinda April 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

I started oil pulling about three months ago and I really love the results so far. My teeth feel cleaner and look whiter. My face seems softer and better moisturized. Also, my PMS symptoms have lessened greatly. That was a benefit I did not expect!


49 Katie April 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I noticed that both of my sisters commented on this post (there’s no denying that you started a little movement in our family!). I also tried it, and this might sound funny, but I felt the urge to swallow the oil. Did you have that problem?

I’m wondering if I was either using too much oil? or doing it too soon after waking up? Perhaps it’s better to do it after drinking a few glasses of water?

Am I the only one with this problem?

Thanks for the update! Hearing your positive experience update is giving me the push to try it again!


50 Kari April 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I have that problem too and read somewhere else online that it’s normal. The suggestion I read said to move the oil to the front of your mouth and do a “dry swallow”. Apparently it is just a reflex, maybe due to the saliva you produce while doing it.
I’m curious about the not brushing afterwards too. At first it seemed of to brush the oil off, but then reading about how the oil is actually removing toxins from your mouth made me think I should get rid of all of it. It doesn’t seem to have been a problem for anyone here though!


51 Katie April 16, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Kari – Thanks for the info! I’ll have to try that tomorrow.


52 Sarah R April 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I also started oil pulling after I read your post in January! I love it and definitely feel my teeth are cleaner. I have my next dentist appointment at the end of April, and I am excited to see if they notice any difference.

To answer a few questions, I do it at night after my kids (ages 5 and 1) are in bed. I get the full 20 minutes in. Never had an issue with gagging. I like the Trader Joe’s brand of organic coconut oil. I still brush every once in a while if I want that minty fresh breath. I don’t have any crowns, but my fillings seem to be fine.

Another side benefit: My lips are so smooth and haven’t chapped all winter! This is the first winter I could say that!


53 Kate April 16, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Tried it. Didn’t love it; went back to brushing. However, your posts are kind of making me want to give it another go. : )

I can see how if you could carve out a good time block for the 15-20 min. of swishing that it might become almost like meditation in effect – something to cause you not to talk or do too many other things at once during that 20 minutes. So maybe I will try again.


54 Melissa Camara Wilkins April 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I’ve tried it and I like it, but I haven’t ever worked out a consistent 20min in my daily routine for it! I can imagine doing it more consistently… someday… ;)


55 CiCi April 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Anyone know if there are issues with oil pulling if you have braces? I seem to remember that if you have silver fillings not everyone recommends it as it pulls to many toxins? I’m not sure about it but would also like info on pulling if you have crowns or fillings. Love the possibilities.


56 Willa April 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

It’s great that oil pulling works so well for you, I’m really intrigued by the potential for whitening. It also sounds like you had pretty healthy teeth to begin with if you’re able to go that long between cleanings. I’m very prone to cavities and have weak enamel so definitely would not replace regular brushing and flossing with JUST oil pulling. Probably the simple fact that, if I were oil pulling, I would be spending more time and attention on my oral hygiene than just doing a cursory brush (which I know I am likely to skip or shorten if I’m lazy) would give me a much cleaner mouth in general. Still I think it’s a bit irresponsible to tacitly advocate skipping out on a full medical-science-based oral hygiene routine in favor just oil-pulling. Anyway, I completely understand you’re just speaking from personal experience and I greatly appreciate your non-evangelist approach to this oil-pulling “craze”!


57 Laura April 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm

I’ve tried it and liked the results. The only thing I noticed that bothered me is when flossing afterwards I seemed to have oil pieces stuck in between my teeth. That made me gag a little. Otherwise once I got over the initial difficulty of having the hardened coconut oil in my mouth (Lamaze techniques — focusing on something else like music or a tv program because oh my goodness is that sensation awful), I’ve been really happy with how it’s made my whole mouth feel fresher and cleaner.


58 Anna April 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

I’ve tried oil-pulling a few times. It didn’t make me gag but it felt as if my mouth was ‘saving up’ saliva the whole time. At the end of 20 mins it felt as though I had twice the amount of liquid I started with, which felt pretty horrible and made me think it somehow wouldn’t work so well. Does anybody else have this problem? (Sorry for the gross-factor here, but a post like this does rather invite it :-)


59 Meaghan April 17, 2014 at 9:38 am

The saliva build up happened to me too, but after the first week or so, it diminished. I have been doing it for months now and I don’t have the problem at all any more.


60 jovana April 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

the first time you wrote about oil pulling, i commented that i was intrigued and would probably try it. i told my husband about it and we agreed we might just try together some day. fast forward a few months to two days ago, when i noticed my gums were swollen/bleeding a little, and thought maybe oil pulling would help. then i read this post and went straight to my husband to discuss it with him again.

we’re swishing oil as we speak. it doesn’t taste yucky, but keeping it in my mouth without spitting it out or swallowing it is a bit of a challenge. i’m kind of excited to see what happens!

btw, Anna, i feel like i have twice the liquid in my mouth too!


61 Jenn April 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I’ve been oil-pulling for a couple of months, and I use coconut oil as well. I just hold it in my cheek until it melts, never had an issue with it grossing me out! : ) I also got a good report from my dentist, and no plaque at all – amazing! I found a study done by NIH, too, so there’s some science behind it — http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/ My Tim is trying it too, and never has there been a more sceptical sceptic. It’s pretty logical – oil is a solvent and a preservative (anti-bacterial).


62 Jenn April 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm

(solvent = removes stains and plaque, forgot to add)


63 Elizabeth April 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I have been oil pulling since your first post! I have been wondering though, and this may be a dumb question, but what do you do at night? Do you oil pull then as well? That’s what’s been keeping me from completely giving up on toothpaste!


64 Alisha April 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Awesome, I’ve tried it before but haven’t done it consistently. You’ve inspired me to start up again. Thanks!


65 Kate April 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm

I have been loving it since you first mentioned it back in January. The only problem I have it forgetting to do it in the mornings in my rush to get out of the house on time. So I got a second jar to keep in the car. I find my drive to work is the best time to swoosh. I just keep a disposable cup (with a lid) in my cupholder to spit into when I get to work. I live in the Midwest and it’s currently cold (actually snowing today UGH) so the cup doesn’t get gross. That might not be the case in the summer though :).


66 Julie April 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm

After being told I had 7 cavities, I couldn’t wait to try it! It was rough at first, but I did it for 30 days. While my morning breath was better, I didn’t have the silky smoothness you had. I found myself needing to oil pull & brush at the end, & then it just seemed like too much work. Wicked bummed. Here’s my experience: http://letterstomylittlelove.blogspot.com/2014/03/30-days-of-oil-pulling.html?m=1


67 Sheri April 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm

I tried it and I liked it, but I still have questions! I have always brushed my teeth after eating, so I brush several times a day. I researched oil pulling and everything I read says do it once a day, in the morning. Do you just do it in the morning, or do you do it after each meal? I don’t think I can go the entire day without cleaning my teeth!



68 Juli B April 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm

I’ve been oil pulling since I first read it on Design Mom! I’ve suffered from Periodontal disease for many years despite flossing and brushing religiously! Anyone that has had root planing knows the pain is enough to inspire strict dental obedience!! I swish morning and night but also floss and brush. I just didn’t feel like my teeth were clean NOT brushing. What I’ve noticed…gum health improvement and decreased sensitivity. I haven’t noticed the teeth whitening – I’m hopeful. But, just to improve my gum health to stop bone loss is a BIG deal. My first dental check up since oil pulling is tomorrow…wish me luck!


69 Tina Ramchandani April 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

So, I picked up coconut oil to try pulling today. I got the liquid kind and not the more solidified version because I think I need to work my way up to it. Not sure if it’s the right thing to do or I should have just gone all in, but I’m gonna try! You’re post today is a great push too!


70 Susan April 16, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I’ve been oil pulling since reading it on your blog. I’m an easy gagger but this has been no problem for me. The 20 min goes by so fast. I wanted to do it for my breath and I have a patch of psoriasis above my eye. It is said it cures that. My husband has noticed a difference in my breath and my psoriasis is almost gone. I’ve been treating it with drugs for almost 5 years with no results until oil pulling. I do brush with toothpaste briefly because I like the minty taste. I highly recommend oil pulling. Thanks Design Mom for msking us aware!


71 Lorna April 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm

GAGGERS – read this. I have been pulling for several months in the mornings and I’m a gagger but not with this. I melt the oil in a baby food glass jar for about 20 second till it barely melts then I add one drop of clove oil which takes away the coconut flavor and is also good for your teeth. When the oil is body temperature there is no gagging because it feels like nothing going into your mouth. After 20 minutes I spit into a Baggie and throw in garbage. I get the phlem thing too which is great! I was getting cold after cold this winter until I started oil pulling. Haven’t been sick since.
FACE – I have a glass baby food jar in my bathroom. I put a little of the solid Coconut oil in my hands and smear on my face and eyes, then I take a wet hot washcloth and place over my face and let everything steam. It feels soooo good. Then I just wipe everything off. Face is moisturized and cleaned in one step. ( I go through a lot of wash cloths) Every other day I use a face brush in the shower to
exfoliate. After I shower I use coconut oil as my body moisturizer. No more chemicals for me. My skin is very soft and I’m 60!


72 Juliana April 16, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Thanks so much for your update. Your blog was the first place I read about oil pulling and I felt compelled to try it after doing random internet reading like you.
It has been about 3 months since I started doing it every morning. I probably only swish for between 10-15 minutes, but have found it very easy to build into my routine. Not only have I seen results with better breath, whiter teeth, clearer skin and overall feeling clean, but I have consistently seen significant increase in my energy level throughout the day. Also, as a DC native and therefore lifelong allergy sufferer (pollen), I have been SHOCKED that I have had little to no allergic symptoms thus far in the pollen season. I urge others to give it a shot! Thanks again.


73 Darcie April 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

I read about oil pulling recently, but the VAST variety of purported health benefits made it sound too good to be true. I tried it out of curiosity and definitely noticed how clean my teeth felt. Didn’t stick with it because of my gag reflex but I’ll try using less.


74 Zhaleh April 16, 2014 at 7:40 pm

This is very interesting. I was looking to see if there were any studies on the technique and the only thing I could find was a controlled trial that compared sesame oil pulling to mouthwash use(presumably the participants continued their typical brushing habits). No data on coconut oil though. FYI The sesame oil did have comparable effects to the mouthwash on halitosis and plaque inhibition.


75 Kathy Ellen Davis April 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I love oil pulling!
I use olive oil because I don’t like the taste of coconut.
I’ve been doing it for about 4 months now.
I feel like my teeth are stronger.
I like having the twenty minutes in the morning to be quiet and not talk and just think things over…it’s almost like meditating!


76 Zoe - SlowMama April 16, 2014 at 8:51 pm

When you posted the first time about this, it reminded me to start oil pulling again. I managed it again for about three weeks and then just couldn’t find the 20 minutes in the morning. So, I need to start yet again because I really want to do this for an extended period of time. Just need to figure out how to get that 20 minutes when I don’t have to be available to my daughters!

Thanks for the update — impressed you have stuck with it so long!


77 Ann Kenny April 16, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I found out about oil-pulling from your website, and I’m very grateful to you. I have been doing this with unrefined sesame oil for a few months now, and it really seems to be helping with my advanced gum disease. Thanks for the recommendation!


78 Megan April 16, 2014 at 10:23 pm

I’ve been oil pulling since January and love it! Just went to the dentist last week and they hardly had to do any scraping–I was out in less than 20 minutes! For gagging, I melt the coconut oil in the side of my mouth, as others have said. I love that oil pulling made my allergies DISAPPEAR, and seems to have made my skin smoother and less prone to breakouts (just from swishing in my mouth for 20 minutes a day). I was on vacation and forgot to swish–then got a cold and a few pimples, which could have been caused by traveling or by skipping the oil pulling. Either way I went straight back to coconut oil once my virus allowed me to breathe through my nose again. Skeptics should try it before they dismiss it!


79 Fabiola April 17, 2014 at 1:23 am

I would like to give it a try do you think the coconut oil form trader joes will work for this oil pulling thing?


80 Mary De Bastos -my life in Scotland April 17, 2014 at 1:59 am

I’d never heard of oil pulling until your January post. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Now I have to do it. I’m getting some coconut oil today!


81 Ewa April 17, 2014 at 2:47 am

I have been pulling since your first post about the oil pulling. I started with the morning pulling, but then swapped to the evenings as I found it easier- I can read in bed while doing it. I do however brush my teeth in the morning. I didn’t find anything wrong with my teeth, neither did my dentist. I quite enjoy the whole process and don’t find it unpleasant. I did use too much oil at the very beginning, and I struggled breathing but I found the right balance and now feeling fine. I will definitely continue oil pulling! :)


82 Erin April 17, 2014 at 4:18 am

After being intrigued by your initial post on oil pulling, I also came across a kid’s cookbook (http://www.simple-balance.ca/cookbook/) that uses coconut oil in a lot of the recipes. It makes baking so much yummier (and hopefully healthier), but the real benefit of coconut oil came next when I happened to hear that coconut oil is good for combatting headlice. After months of off and on struggles with head lice using pesticides and all sorts, we tried it and within 24 hours we didn’t have a problem anymore. We’ve used it a few times since as a preventative measure, when we were aware that they were doing the rounds again, but (knock on wood) we rid ourselves of them. It turns out coconut oil is toxic to lice! Cleaner teeth, healthier (and yummier cookies) and lice free! Thanks for pointing us in the right direction!


83 Christine April 17, 2014 at 6:13 am

So timely! I just finished swishing this am. I find it helps me clear my sinuses better than I could before. I am currently battling a sinus infection and wondering if it’s ok to oil pull when sick? I figured it was natural so couldn’t hurt. Breathing slightly better just wish it would last.


84 Maggie April 17, 2014 at 6:37 am

I’ve started oil pulling at night. I’ve been surprised by how much I like it. My mouth feels so much cleaner!


85 Katie Harding April 17, 2014 at 6:50 am

This intrigues me so much! I have read countless things about oil pulling but I’ve never read a true “testimony” about it and now that I have I may try it for myself! I’m very interested to see what your dentist has to say about it!!


86 Cecilia April 17, 2014 at 7:11 am

I’ve been doing it since January and still love it, though some mornings I am dying to get straight to my tea! I do still brush my teeth twice a day, but I have switched toothpastes. I am now using one called Earthpaste, which doesn’t have fluoride. It also doesn’t have any glycerin. In theory, glycerin coats your teeth and helps prevent plaque from attaching to them, but I have read that glycerin also makes it difficult for the teeth to “remineralize,” part of the natural growth cycle of teeth. I wonder if some of the whitening effects people are seeing are in part due to no more glycerin (bc they’re not using toothpaste)? I love this toothpaste by the way and don’t think I could ever go back to the “regular” kind: way too many chemicals and way too sweet!


87 Sara April 17, 2014 at 7:45 am

I started oil pulling after your first post and have continued ever since. Sometimes I pull morning and night so I feel like my mouth is especially clean. I still floss and brush my teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste after pulling, mostly because while I feel my teeth and mouth have been cleansed by the oil I still feel that “fur” on my tongue and like to thoroughly brush it off. I got my husband hooked too because after my mouth was fresher I really started to notice how unfresh his smelled and well, that just didn’t sit well. So now he’s hooked and we’ve started making out again! HA! It’s not just for the teens!

But here’s the real kicker. We live in Ethiopia with our small children and there are lots of colds and respiratory infections that go around. Lots of viruses and with the pollution in Addis Ababa, we have a lot of sinus issues and I used to get tonsillitis very often. But since pulling, I don’t get the colds my kids bring home, my tonsils are clean, I never have that funky gross third world phlegm in the back of my throat now when I wake up. The pulling really disinfects and it’s nice not getting the full-on runny nose sore throat colds that the kids bring home from school! So thank you!


88 Constance April 17, 2014 at 8:31 am

I have done oil pulling on and off for several months – mainly b/c I can never seem to find a good 10-20 min chunk when it works for me to not be able to verbally respond to one of my kids (the 2 yr olds favorite activity is to “play” with me while I’m getting ready for work in the morning). It’s total laziness on my part that brushing is just faster. I also have really like it every time I’ve done it. When I was at my most consistent with it, I still didn’t get to the tipping point where I felt like I didn’t need to still brush my teeth — I found myself brushing quickly and then oil pulling or vice-versa, but maybe that was a mental connection. Making me want to try it again!


89 Elisabeth April 17, 2014 at 9:42 am

I’ve never tried oil pulling, but I recently attended a lecture at my college by a very well-known dentist, who mentioned that she thought it worked VERY well. She said she thinks it is a completely acceptable alternative to brushing. Hope that helps clear up any concerns about what dentists might think of it.


90 Valerie April 17, 2014 at 11:17 am

I’ve been doing it for almost 3 months now and I love it! My teeth are definitely whiter and feel so clean afterward. We did just move to Arizona, so I no longer have to wait for the oil to melt in my mouth, I can just take a swig from my jar–which sounds even more gross, but it works.


91 sarah k April 17, 2014 at 11:40 am

I tried it after reading your original post about it! I did it faithfully for a couple of months until we adopted a newborn :) and I got out of the routine. I just started it up again today!

I do find that it seems to make my teeth a bit whiter, and it also really seems to help when I am starting to get a sore throat. I usually just oil pull in the morning and brush as normal at night, because at night the oil pulling just doesn’t seem to get my teeth clean. No matter how vigorouslly I swish, I still have gunk stuck between my teeth. My teeth are quite straight (thanks to braces years ago) but maybe they are somehow more prone to plaque buildup than other people’s?

Two things I wanted to say about the gagging: I definitely found I got used to it over time. I also learned that sometimes I gagged if my mouth got too full. What helped me with that: I try to carry around a small cup or glass with me so that if I start feeling like there is too much liquid (I know, gross to talk about) and I’m close to gagging, I can immediately spit out a little into the cup without having to run for the closest trash can. Early on I always seemed to start with too much oil, not allowing for how much saliva would build up.

I also think it helps to oil pull while doing something that keeps my mind distracted: like cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast. If I have too much mental energy to spare I will focus on the fact that I can’t swallow for 20 minutes, and then the gag reflex sets in fast!


92 danielle @ this picture book life April 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I’ve been at it somewhat regularly for a handful (mouthful?) of months thanks to your inspiration! I dig it. But I still do the normal brushing/flossing at night.


93 Laura April 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm

I’m going to try it tonight! I am weirdly excited about it, because I too have suffered from tooth sensitivity since I was pregnant with my son.

One other “weird” thing I tried on a whim that totally stuck was the oil face washing method, which a few other commenters mentioned. I have tried different combos of oils, and finally settled on jojoba oil. I put about a teaspoon in my palm & spread it on my face, then hold a warm, wrung out damp washcloth on my face until it cools, and then rinse the cloth and wipe any remaining oil off my face.

My skin feels perfectly balanced afterward — not oily, not dry — which is usually a big problem for me. I’ve tried to go back to regular face wash a few times, but I am always disappointed!


94 carrie April 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

I’ve been oil pulling off and on. I also sometimes have the gagging reflex all of a sudden towards the end. Thanks for all the suggestions. I think it will help me make oil pulling more of a routine.
I find doing oil pulling in the shower and while getting ready creates a good amount of time to “swish”. I’ve also just started using the coconut oil to wash my face and as a moisturizer on my body and so far I really like it! It makes my skin very soft – helps my wrinkles and hasn’t caused any blemishes.


95 Jen April 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Long comment alert!

Thanks so much for posting an update about your experience with oil pulling. I started trying it with coconut oil about 3 weeks ago, and found that I also really just love doing it. I incorporate it into my day first thing when I get up, and since I shower daily, I just swish while I am showering, drying off, moisturizing, and choosing an outfit (which takes about 15-20 minutes, sometimes longer if I cannot figure out what to wear, haha). I get up before all the rest of my family, so it’s not affecting needing to communicate with anyone at that time, which was a hesitation I had before realizing I could just do it right after waking up.

Embarrassing confession: my main reason for wanting to try oil pulling is that even though I practice good dental hygiene (I’m a champion brusher and flosser), I have always nevertheless been aware of always having bad breath, and I have also always been very self-conscious about it. It’s not bad breath that smells of decay (I haven’t had a cavity in years), but more just sour bad. Even after brushing and flossing really well, my breath would never stay minty fresh, or fresh at all. I’ve always been hyper aware of it but am not sure if others have been (at least I hope others haven’t been!). So reading that fresher breath is a benefit of oil pulling is what really motivate me to try it. Plus I loved the fact that coconut oil is a natural product, not a conventional mouthwash, which I have also tried to use for fresher breath, without any noticeable success.

I’m so happy to say that I have had really amazing results from oil pulling on the fresher breath front, and hope that it with continued swishing that it keeps on improving even more. Each morning after swishing, I spit the oily saliva mixture into a little dish so that I can allow the oil to re-harden for a while, instead of spitting spit directly into the trash. I just place the little dish on a high shelf in my bathroom, so that I can later scoop out the hardened “mixture” with a tissue and put it into the trash. At the start of oil pulling, I noticed that the dish itself smelled horrible after I emptied it! Just like my bad breath–very sour, totally yucky. It was sort of shocking and quite humbling–perhaps my breath has been more offensive than I knew! But I decided that if the bad smell was in the oil and the dish (which is easily cleanable), that the bad smell was getting out of my mouth! And over the weeks of doing this, I have really noticed that the yucky sour smell in the dish has definitely diminished. On most days the dish smells just fine now when I sniff it after removing the mixture. Some days it’s still a little sour, but not anywhere near as offensive to me as it had been at first. I don’t know if I would have been able to track this improvement if I had been spitting directly into the trashcan, so I’m glad I did it this way. More importantly, I find that my mouth, in general, feels much cleaner and much fresher (more neutral would be a good way to describe it, actually), and for most of the day. I’m super happy with the results and will definitely keep oil pulling. I still brush and floss too.

I’m not exactly sure what all is at play with this improvement (which is having a really positive effect on something as simple as me just talking with a co-worker or with a fellow bus commuter–I don’t have to reach for a mint first), but I know it’s helping to give me a cleaner breath, and therefore a cleaner mouth. I haven’t noticed whiter teeth so much quite yet–I wish I had taken a before picture, actually–but if I do, then all the better. As for gagging, which others are worried about, I have had no issues with that. Ooh, and also, I have noticed that my complexion feels awesome. Velvety! I have a fine complexion already, but wouldn’t have ever described my cheeks as velvety before oil pulling. : )



96 Azra April 18, 2014 at 8:52 am

I have started it 2 months ago. It has been strange at first; just to get used to coconut oil in my mouth.
At the beginning I have tried with no brushing and flossing, because that is what you’ve said you are doing. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. My gums started bleeding and became sensitive and my teeth near the gums had a film of dental plaque. Benefits that I saw were: whiter, shiny teeth and no bad breath.
I have continued oil pulling but started flossing at night and brushing my teeth (no toothpaste) after oil pulling. It took some time, but my gums were healthy again, my tongue looked amazing (not white like before), and I have continued to see the benefits I have mentioned above. Here and there I miss flossing and brushing and my gums don’t seem to mind. They look healthy. I will continue oil pulling because I definitely see the benefits, above all, healthy looking tongue and no bad breath were the best.


97 Tami April 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

I was having constant tooth pain for about 4 months which was giving me constant headaches. I went to the dentist – they found nothing. I also went to the doctor about headaches- nothing. I was up for trying anything so I decided to try oil-pulling with coconut oil. I did a fair amount of research and found that it was best to do it in the morning. For 2 weeks, I did it every morning and in the evening — amazingly my toothache went away as did my headaches. After that, I dropped down to mornings only. After pulling, I rinse with water and brush my teeth. Brushing just works for me. I am beyond happy with the outcome and anyone who mentions toothaches I tell them to oil pull. It’s amazing that I don’t have headaches anymore and I can now chew on the side of my mouth that had the toothache. I am thinking of trying out sesame oil.


98 Jeaneane April 19, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Anyone but me thinks the name is soooo dumb? Let’s rename it, shall we? Any good ideas? (-:


99 Joy April 20, 2014 at 6:06 am

I started oil pulling right after your post about it. I had heard of it earlier, but hadn’t heard about any of the benefits.

The first day was hard–I gagged because of the coconut oil in my mouth, but since day two, it’s been easy sailing with no adverse reactions. The benefits I’ve seen are whiter teeth, better breath, and less teeth sensitivity. I LOVE this. Now the swishing is just a part of my morning routine.

So thank you so much for posting about it, and for posting an update.


100 Carolyn April 20, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I started oil pulling after your first post on it and am a fan–teeth are definitely whiter and feel cleaner. Some people have mentioned gagging–I melt the coconut oil in the microwave first to avoid that. Also, I find 20 minutes goes fast when I’m getting ready and doing morning chores. Thanks for getting me started with this!


101 Stephanie Marie April 20, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Okay, I saw a flurry of oil pulling posts a few months ago and haven’t heard much about it since, so seeing your update re-inspired me to try this out. I did my first 20 minutes tonight and although I had a few moments now and then of gag reflex, I made it through! Excited to see how it goes… thanks for being my inspiration!


102 Dennis Wright June 2, 2015 at 11:07 am

Hi Design Mom,

My wife and I have started. It seems to begin working fairly soon. REMEMBERING to do it regularly is has been the challenge. What I find most compelling about your case is omitting brushing. That is VERY encouraging. Not that I would but just that it can be that powerful! We have also used Young living essential oils for bone gain but again, it requires dedication, comittment, REMEMBERING! Thanks for your blog. Our 21 year-old lives where we raised her in LA (CalState Northridge). We live in NH. Well….it is what it is. Next move – South America – just for hoildays……of course(:


103 Cate February 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Gabrielle, I would love to hear a 3rd update on your oil pulling experience, especially what your results were at the dentist! I do it on & off, and definitely can feel how much cleaner my teeth are. I also have some gum recession, so more oil pulling & less brushing should help with that. I pull in the shower or while watching TV at night after the kids go to bed, and sometimes in the car too. I just spit it out into a small dixie cups, let it harden, then throw away.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: