Does Coconut Oil Pulling Work?

Oil pulling is the latest celebrity beauty trend. You may have seen articles on social media, read about it in your favorite fashion magazine, or heard celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Miranda Kerr, and Shailene Woodley credit their bright white smiles to oil pulling. Since we’d all love to have a Hollywood starlet smile, you may be tempted to try oil pulling for yourself. However, does oil pulling work or is it just another passing beauty craze?


What Is Coconut Oil Pulling?

The practice of oil pulling didn’t begin in Hollywood. It’s actually part of a 5,000-year-old Indian healthcare tradition called “Ayurveda”. Oil pulling, traditionally called “kavala graha” or “gandusha”, has been used for thousands of years on the Indian subcontinent to clean your mouth, freshen breath, and strengthen teeth. Ayurvedic medicinal doctors also believe that oil pulling removes impurities and detoxifies the body, reducing the symptoms of other illnesses.


Coconut Oil

How Does Coconut Oil Pulling Work?

Oil pulling is a simple procedure where you swish a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. Though not the most pleasant-sounding activity, practitioners believe that it is worth it for the oral health benefits. Oil pulling may clean oil-soluble toxins from the mouth and remove stains from the teeth. Coconut oil also contains some antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties that may be a benefit to people who have toothaches, dental infections, or an unhealthy buildup of bacteria along the gum line. These claims sound great, but let’s explore what medical professionals have to say about oil pulling.

Is Coconut Oil Pulling Effective?

There have not been many medical studies on the effectiveness of oil pulling. Medical professionals have mixed opinions on its potential benefits. A recent study showed that oil pulling did have an effect on reducing plaque and commonly-diagnosed gum diseases, such as gingivitis. A conflicting study, though, showed that oil pulling was not as effective as using fluoride or herbal mouthwash in reducing bacteria or preventing gingivitis. A third study indicated the importance of how long you keep the oil in your mouth, stating, “swishing the oil in your mouth for approximately 20 minutes is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria, but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria”.


The American Dental Association evaluated the practice of oil pulling and decided that there has not been enough research on it to replace a normal oral hygiene routine. Though they do acknowledge there could be some potential benefits to oil pulling, the study data has not been conclusive enough for a full recommendation. Until additional research can be conducted, medical professionals recommend that everyone should continue their twice daily brushing and flossing routine.


If you want to have a brighter, whiter smile, with clean healthy teeth, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with your local TenderCare dentist. There is no replacement for professional dental care to protect your teeth and smile. Also, with our safe teeth whitening services, you can get that Hollywood smile you’ve always wanted without the unpleasant taste of oil pulling.