Does Oil Pulling Really Whiten Your Teeth?

Oil pulling.  Have you ever heard of it?  It’s an Ayurvedic practice whereby you swill and pull oil - coconut/sesame/olive - around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes each morning before you brush your teeth.


I had been deliberating over doing it for some time but during my January trip to Sri Lanka, I met a lovely couple from Italy who had the healthiest looking teeth (I have a bit of a thing for teeth after having spent most of my teenage years in braces).  When I found out they oil pulled every morning, my mind was made up and when I returned to the UK, I began right away.


Improves breath
Prevents cavities
Prevents gingivitis
Removes harmful bacteria from your mouth
Whitens teeth
Strengthens jaw
It has also been said to help improve skin conditions such as eczema and acne


- In the morning before eating or brushing your teeth, put one tablespoon of your chosen oil into your mouth.  If it’s solid (coconut oil usually is), you might need to chew a bit to melt it.  This can make some people gag, so be prepared for that.  You’ll soon get used to it, though.

- Swill, push and pull it around your mouth and in-between your teeth for 15-20 minutes.  You’ll notice the volume of liquid increases as you go, due to the added saliva.  I started by timing it on my phone.  Now I know it’s approximately the time it takes me to dry skin brush, shower and moisturise. 

- Spit it out.  Don’t swallow – you don’t want all the toxins you’ve just removed from your mouth going into your gut.  Spit in the bin, not down the plughole, as it will likely block the drains. 

- Brush and floss as usual.


At first, it was quite odd and made me want to gag, but I quickly got used to it.  Straight away my teeth felt SO much cleaner, a bit like when you switch from a manual to electric toothbrush. 

I began using Cocowhite - a brand that sells individually packaged sachets of coconut oil mixed with an essential oil such as mint or lemon to flavour.  The convenient sachets make the whole thing a little more bearable.  You can warm the sachets in between your hands to liquefy the oil before squeezing into your mouth, which is a lot more pleasant than chewing on solid oil.  Once I’d finished my 1-month round of Cocowhite, I went on to using the same coconut oil I cook with (cheaper, less waste packaging etc.)



As you can see, my teeth whitened considerably (each photo was taken 1 week apart and the lighting differs a bit so they are not 100% accurate).  They also feel stronger.  The dry skin around my jaw line (remnants of eczema) has gone, but that could be a coincidence due to a few other changes I have made.  I also got my boyfriend, Eliot, to give it a go.  He reported a noticeable improvement in his gum health, whiter teeth and better breath in the morning.

I’m sticking with it – the benefits are too great to stop now.