Oil Pulling for Detoxification

Oil Pulling for Detoxification post image

Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy mentioned in Charaka Samhita and Sushratha’s Arthashastra that has been used for many toxic conditions. It is particularly used as a powerful cleansing and healing remedy for conditions of the mouth, gums and sinuses. It is very simple to do at home and is a great way to help detoxify.

I’m always very skeptical when it comes to something that people claim can cure a lot of conditions. But then another part of me knows that there are folk therapies that really can accomplish many of the things professed.

Although the Detox Challenge is officially over, I am still experimenting with methods of detoxification other than dietary. Now that I am somewhat detoxified by following the GAPS Intro protocol for 18 days (and I feel really good) I want to continue with a different detox protocol. I had heard about oil pulling and was intrigued.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil Pulling was discovered by Dr. F. Karach, M.D., who was suffering from a blood disease. He tried many different remedies, until he came upon oil pulling, a term he coined.

According to Dr. Karach, oil actually has micro-organisms that can treat most medical ailments. This includes everything from dental diseases like gingivitis to digestive diseases.

How to do oil pulling

Simply, the oil is swished around in the mouth for 20 minutes. The oil is worked in the mouth by pushing and pulling and drawing it through the teeth. It is best to do this before meals on an empty stomach. It may be done any time of the day.

The oil is discarded and the mouth rinsed with plain water or salt water. Care must be taken to never swallow the oil as it is filled with toxins.

Sunflower and sesame seed oils are traditionally used for oil pulling, but any vegetable oil will work. People have reported success with olive, coconut, almond, and other oils. If you use a mild flavored coconut oil it is very pleasant in the mouth. Some oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, are so strong flavored that many people find them difficult to use.

When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it “pulls” out bacteria and other debris. The oil acts like a cleanser, pulling out bacteria and other toxins. Start with a small amount like a teaspoon and work up to a tablespoon. Start with only a few minutes and work up to the full 20 minutes. Plan to do this every day for a few weeks to see if it helps you.

Swish the oil around your mouth and between your teeth for 15 – 20 minutes and discard in the trash. Rinse the mouth with water or salt water. Follow this procedure at least once a day.

That’s it. It’s a very simple technique. Our mouths are the home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other parasites and their toxins. These types of germs and their toxic waste products cause gum disease and tooth decay and contribute to many other health problems, including arthritis and heart disease.

Our immune system is constantly fighting these pathogens. If our immune system becomes overloaded or burdened by excessive stress, poor diet, environmental toxins, etc., these organisms can spread throughout the body, causing secondary infections and chronic inflammation, leading to any number of health problems.

The mouth is a foci of infection

The mouth is a foci of infection through bacteria, viruses and fungi.  If there is any decay or infection in the mouth, it can transfer to the bloodstream.  Our mouths incubate billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other parasites and their toxins. Candida and streptococcus are commonly found in our mouths.

From the bloodstream these microorganisms can circulate throughout the entire body. Certain bacteria settle in different parts of the body — some colonize the heart values, some like the joints and so on.

Dr. Weston Price did hundreds of studies on root canal teeth. He found that if he pulled the root canal tooth from a person with MS or rheumatoid arthritis, and implanted it under the skin of a rabbit — the rabbit would get that very disease. Interesting, huh?

Dr. Price’s conclusion was that the root canal tooth carried the microorganism that caused the disease. So I think it is true that the mouth is a foci of infection.

Scientific studies show oil pulling to be effective

In 2007 there actually was a study published in the Journal of Oral Health and Community Dentistry.

The purpose of the study was to assess the effect of oil pulling on plaque and gingivitis and to monitor its safety on oral soft and hard tissues. Ten subjects performed oil pulling along with their other oral hygiene measures for 45 days, using refined sunflower oil. Their plaque and gingival scores were assessed periodically.

They found a statistically significant reduction in plaque and gingival scores from baseline to 45 days.  The conclusion was that oil pulling could be used for oral hygiene.

The proponents of oil pulling would agree and would add that oil pulling could have positive systemic effects on other, more serious conditions. They feel that toxins and bacteria from the body might be expelled through the tongue and trapped in the oil and removed from the body.

There are literally hundred of testimonials about this method.

Another study published in the African Journal of Microbiology research, found that there was a remarkable reduction in the total count of bacteria. The process of oil-pulling reduced the susceptibility of a host to dental caries. The in-vitro antibacterial activity of sesame oil against dental caries causing bacteria was determined.  Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus acidophilus were found to be moderately sensitive to the sesame oil.

What to Expect from Oil Pulling

The first thing that most people notice when they start oil pulling is an improvement in their oral health. Teeth become whiter, breath becomes fresher, and the tongue and gums take on a healthy pink color.  Even problems such as bleeding gums, tooth decay, and gum disease are greatly diminished or completely healed.

Changes can happen after the very first usage. There may be an increase in the flow of mucus from your throat and sinuses. This is an indication that the body is clearing toxins.

Sometimes when you are pulling, mucus may build in the back of your throat. You may need to expel the oil before the 20 minute mark. If that happens, simply take another spoonful and continue.

There may be transient symptoms such as nausea and even vomiting. These will pass along with any other symptoms. With any detox protocol, there may be a worsening of any symptoms you have before improvement. Oil pulling should become part of your daily routine.

Note: Caution should be taken if you have any lose fillings in your mouth. You may want to address those before you attempt oil pulling.

Dr. Bruce Fife has written a book about oil pulling. While oil pulling reduces the amount of total bacteria in the mouth, it is not the complete answer. One must change the environment of the mouth in order to change the balance of good to bad bacteria and to effect a lasting change. Dr. Fife has developed oil pulling into a therapy that is designed to heal the mouth and the body by altering the oral ecology in a healthy permanent way.

What do you think about oil pulling? Are you willing to give it a try? Leave a comment and let me know!

Just to let you know, my friends at Orawellness are celebrating their 24th anniversary and giving a whooping 24% off all their products! Hurry! The sale ends August 27!

This is when I stock up on my favorite Healthy Mouth Blend that saved me from having gum surgery from pockets!

I also love their love tooth powder Shine!

If you are just getting started you might want to order the Healthy Mouth System.

Use coupon code happy24 at checkout!

Where to buy Oil Pulling Therapy Detoxifying and Healing the body through Oral Cleansing by Dr. Bruce Fife

The key to good health is a healthy microbiome. You may be shocked (or surprised) to find out that there are 10 times that amount of bacterial DNA in each and every one of us.

That makes us more microbe than human. Perhaps we are just walking containers for the bacteria – many of whom are essential to human life.

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Leave a Comment

  • MotherLodeBeth November 6, 2014, 3:19 am

    Should someone on antibiotics or other medications not do oil pulling? Have some high quality coconut oil and wanted to try it, but have some crowns and was wondering what effect that would have on the teeth they are connected to.

    • Jill November 6, 2014, 9:59 am

      Hi MotherLodeBeth,
      Crowns or other permanent dental work should not be a problem. Most people are on some medications. I don’t see how oil pulling would interfere.

  • yagoda November 22, 2014, 6:08 pm

    I started oil pulling 7 days ago, with cold pressed organic coconut oil. I’ve been doing 20min 3 times a day, in the morning, after work and before bed.
    First thing I noticed is my breath kept fresh all day. It’s not that I had problems with my breath but I drink lots of coffees and teas, addiction from when I used to smoke. The freshness in my mouth is incredible so it’s worth it just for that. Washing my teeth with toothpaste doesn’t have the same lasting effect. And I wake up in the morning with fresh breath too. Also, my teeth feel squeaky clean, literally 🙂
    Some people mentioned about their tongue being coated after pulling. Well, I brush my tongue each time I wash my teeth and have been doing so for years, so my tongue is pink and the coconut oil has not have any negative effect on it, on the contrary. For those that have white tongues, overcome your gag reflex and start brushing your tongue daily with the toothbrush whether you oil pull or not. You could have been also drinking or eating too many acidic things. I may get that for a day after a night out on beer or when I eat oranges/citrus fruit a lot but it’s fine the day after.

    I have crowns and fillings in my mouth, all white. They’ve been staying in place so far. I am not worried about that because they are subjected to all types of food and chewing in my mouth so I don’t see how swishing some sort of liquid will make them suddenly pop out unless they are loose to start with.
    Another positive thing I noticed is I sleep better. I have had insomnia since I remember myself, or rather very light sleep and wake up from the minimum of things and can’t fall asleep afterwards. I’ve been sleeping relatively well this week except for some vivid dreams a few nights but I feel way more rested than usual. I didn’t wake up 3 nights in a row which is unusual for me.

    Also, I have very sensitive skin on my face, have had minor acne on and off all my life as well. This weak my skin was totally clean. It may have been a coincidence, we’ll see…but if it keeps up like this consistently I’ll know it’s not a one off thing.

    I have been also taking pictures of my teeth to see if there’s any whitening effect. So far I am not sure. They do look whiter but it could be because I am taking the pictures when the light amount is different. I’ll keep taking pictures as it goes to at least convince myself one way or the other.

    Now to what could be negatives from oil pulling. My teeth became very sensitive, not to the point I can’t eat or drink hot and cold but if I hear a whistling sound it drives me nuts right now. I normally feel the exactly same after a dentists cleaning so for now I’ll attribute that to my teeth being stripped off the plague 🙂

    At the end of the first week(today) I also had what feels like “heavy head”, like a hangover without having been drinking. Some say it’s detox. I am not so sure about that but hopefully. It may as well been a coincidence too, only that I don’t normally get headaches at all.

    Regardless, this is not stopping me. I think I am obsessed with it right now and I love how my mouth feels. I feel good about it too for some unknown reason and makes me feel uplifted which is most definitely in my head and not because of swishing oil, but hey, whatever makes us happy 🙂

  • yagoda November 29, 2014, 2:29 pm

    Hi again, I just wanted to update on oil pulling a week after I posted the above comment as things kept improving.
    I mentioned I took pictures of my teeth before and after. After 2 weeks of oil pulling it is clearly visible on the pictures and in the mirror that my teeth are way whiter. I was afraid to believe it but OP definitely lifts stains and whitens teeth. Mine were actually stained by years of smoking a pack a day which habit I lost a couple of years ago, but had previously done for 20 years. My partner also confirms my teeth look very white now. It’s not a placebo effect so believe it when you read it and try it out for yourselves. It works that fast to see the difference.
    Also, I mentioned my teeth becoming very sensitive. Well that was a temporary effect, sensitivity is totally gone. I think at first the oil pulling irritated my teeth and especially gums when I started. Just like a dental cleaning does. It actually felt at times exactly like when putting disinfectant on a wound. It stung in some places on my back molars. At the end of week two sensitivity is totally gone and my gums are as pink as in a child’s mouth and I never felt my mouth so clean in my life or as long as I can remember. Bleeding from my gums has stopped everywhere besides around one bottom molar who had the worse looking gum to start with, slightly receded, or rather detached, not receded as I can’t see the dentin on the root yet. I am sure in time the bleeding will stop on it too. In fact it doesn’t bleed each time I brush anymore so it’s days are numbered. I am glad I am doing something about my mouth before it’s too late.
    The other great thing is that my breath stays fresh all day and I have totally lost the morning breath too 🙂 And I don’t need to chew gums during the day anymore.

    I also got a comment from my colleague that my skin has improved and looks great. She sits next to me so she sees me from a close distance all the time and has seen all the spots, dry patchy skin, etc.. that I used to have two weeks ago. I couldn’t mention about OP to her in case she thinks I am nuts but she informed me that she started putting coconut oil on her face 🙂

    So people, go for it and try OP, have patience, take pictures if necessary to see the difference. I wish I was brave enough to post my mouth/teeth pictures online but it feels too personal for me to do. However, being an honest individual, I can assure you in my case OP is working wonders for my mouth.

    I have also gone against the general rule and besides the morning pull when I do it straight out of bed before brushing and eating, the other two sessions I’ve been doing after meals, not before them as suggested. We’ll see how this works in the long run but it works wonders for my mouth in the short run.

    Good luck to you all whatever you decide to do.

  • Kirk Faycurry December 19, 2014, 4:38 am

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  • Kathy February 4, 2015, 11:47 am

    How would you do oil pulling if you wear dentures? My husband has upper and lower dentures, I think oil pulling would help him with his digestive issues. Does wearing dentures affect pulling?

    • Jill February 4, 2015, 8:29 pm

      Maybe take the dentures out first?

  • Laura May 2, 2015, 7:35 am

    I’m on my third day of oil pulling using a natural organic coconut paste from the health shop. Oh my god….. It was so strange when I put it in my mouth as I had to stop myself from gagging from the Lard consistency but after it heated up in my mouth I had no problems swishing for 20 mins. I had a severe headache whilst pulling and still am experiencing them on my third day and I’m having mild heartburn which I expect is down to the pulling. My mouth though feels so clean and my teeth look brighter already. I decided to do pulling for the sake of my oral health and as I hate the dentist I’m hoping it will keep cavities at bay in the long run. I will continue to oil pull as I love the idea of detoxing myself to improve my overall health.
    I loved reading up on your views of oil pulling so thanks for writing a helpful piece on the facts.

  • Pravallika Menon August 6, 2015, 4:49 am

    Hi jill,

    I found your site on “naturenatureblog” . I tried when I was at my grandmother home. After completion of this process my mouth have oily feeling. How to overcome this. Is there any easy tip?

    • Jill August 6, 2015, 9:57 am

      You need to rinse your mouth out thoroughly and/or brush your teeth. Do NOT swallow the oil as it is full o9f toxins, as stated in the post.

  • T. Olson August 26, 2015, 12:25 pm

    Thanks for the article! I tried OP on Saturday, today is Wednesday. I woke up Sunday morning with a full on sinus and respiratory infection mainly due to heavy wildfire smoke enveloping the city. I have pulled everyday since and because I am home sick, I am doing nothing much besides noticing the effects of the OP. I have been doing it first thing in the morning. I wake up congested and blowing and coughing aren’t very productive. Immediately after the pull, I cough up tons of phlegm and use my neti pot with excellent results. The effects are so immediate, I must attribute them to pulling. Also, my mouth does indeed feel and look cleaner, my teeth have already lost some of the tartar buildup, and it seems as though the oil is eliminating the need to floss(I will continue regardless). All in all, I think it’s working and I’m going to keep the experiment going.

    • T. Olson August 26, 2015, 12:29 pm

      p.s.p I used cold pressed virgin coconut oil. I would like to try the traditional sesame oil.

  • Sherry Stuurman August 31, 2015, 5:09 pm

    Since starting Oil Pulling several days ago, in the middle of the night I vomited (which I NEVER do!), and today feel some stomach upset, in the stomach arwa and beloe, in the pelvic area.

    I am recovering from a severe case of diverticulitis for which I got treatment in the ER and prescriprions taken at home. I’m on my 10th and final day.

    I’m concerned about the vomiting and nausea. Is this a result of “Oil Pulling”?

  • Coco November 17, 2015, 1:12 pm

    I’ve been doing it for over 6 months, sometimes with Hemp oil too if I even run out of coconut unexpectantly.
    I release a lot of phlegm by it, but it feels better when I do that. I was checking to see if that is useful since some articles say that phlegm is needed.. I suppose my body is regulating itself

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  • Jill June 28, 2016, 4:50 am

    Hi. I discovered OP recently by googling why my tongue wasn’t really pink. I started 2 mornings ago and 2 days on trot I’m extremely tired and this morning fell asleep in front of tv. I feel really tired and the only change I could think of was OP. Is this because my body is detoxing?

  • Nikki September 28, 2016, 3:39 am

    Hi! I’ve tried oil pulling twice now and both times I vommitted which is extremely unlike me (twice in past 15 years!) is it likely that this means that I have heaps of toxins that are being brought forward? (I don’t live the healthiest lifestyle but trying!!)



  • Shane February 2, 2017, 8:26 am

    Thank you for talking about the coughing and mucous. I’ll keep trying.

  • Carla June 18, 2017, 2:06 am

    I am on day 4 of Oil Pulling. I have some very bad cavities & broken teeth from 20+ years of long term medications for Lupus, Sjogrens, Fibromyalgia, Neuropathy, Restless Leg, Hypothyroidism, Degenerative Disc Disease, Insomnia, Acid Reflux, Depression & Allergies. Last year, I switched to an Organic Plant Based Diet, added the One Minute Cure (Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide), detoxed with Food Grade Diatamaceous Earth and slowly weaned myself off of THIRTEEN prescription medications including high doses of Prednisone and Fentanyl Patches. I have now realized that my immune system was not attacking healthy tissue/organs…..it was attacking built up TOXINS stored within my tissue/organs because as soon as I stopped poisoning myself & detoxed, my immune system took a MUCH NEEDED BREAK! This is the only explanation that I can think of.

    I also drink Distilled Water & take the usual supplements as well as a daily Spinach/Banana/Pumpkin Seed Smoothie. I take extra Magnesium/Potassium with a Sodium Bicarbonate Mixture that is made with Milk of Magnesia. I found the recipe online but I have to add extra Potassium to prevent leg cramps which I have never had a problem with until recently but the extra Potassium works great.

    I can actually CONTROL my Lupus Flare Ups by avoiding TOXIC CHEMICALS in food, bath/body products & cleaners and by giving my body the nutrition that it has missed out on for so many years. The hardest thing to address was my Acid Reflux & Neuropathy and I tried every natural remedy that I could find online until I ran across You Tube videos by Montreal Healthy Girl & Dr Eric Berg about Betaine HCL Acid for heartburn, Acid Reflux/GERD. I have been on Proton Pump Inhibitors AND lots of anti-acids for as long as I can remember (over 15 years) to treat TOO MUCH STOMACH ACID. Well, I don’t have too much stomach acid….I had and still have TOO LITTLE stomach acid which compromised my digestion & prevented the assimilation of nutrients and absorption of vitamins/minerals.

    I immediately stopped the PPI & anti-acids and basically bombed my stomach with 6 & & HCL tabs with meals just to get it digested (often up to 18 – 650 mg HCL Acid w Pepsin tablets DAILY) for about a week until I was able to taper down. I can now digest a meal with 2 HCL tabs because my body is producing some stomach acid on it’s own BUT I want to share ANOTHER miraculous discovery — my Neuropathy pain (TERRIBLE BURNING/STINGING) has been reduced GREATLY! I have no idea why unless my body wasn’t getting the nutrients it needed for proper nerve function. I have been taking Alpha Lipoic Acid & B Vits for months that didn’t help. I still take them when I think about it but it was ADEQUATE stomach acid with the additional HCL that made the difference. EVERYONE should research the importance of stomach acid because without adequate amounts, our body basically rots from lack of nutrition which is why I now have bone & teeth problems. This brings me to another discovery….

    Back to Oil Pulling — I am on day 4 and on day 1 & 2, my cavities hurt worse so I used a Clove Oil. On day 3 of Oil Pulling, my cavities no longer hurt. I am also experiencing a headache a couple hours after Oil Pulling but my jaw & mouth aren’t sore so I assume this is from detoxification. I will have to tough it out.

    Today, I remembered that my teenage niece used to have migraine headaches (often daily) especially during Nursing School. Her Nursing Instructor told her to get a Daith Ear Piercing….so my niece took $50 to a local Tattoo Shop and got her ear pierced and SHE HAS NOT HAD ONE SINGLE HEADACHE IN ALMOST TWO YEARS (since the piercing).

    After I remembered this, I immediately pinched the Daith Cartilage area on my ear and my “Oil Pulling” headache went away! Anytime, I feel it coming back, I pinch it again for about 30 seconds until it goes away and so far, it is working! I don’t want to get a Daith Piercing but this is a drug free solution that will help me get through the detox period of Oil Pulling!

    Additional thoughts: My teeth already appear to be whiter but it may be my imagination! Haha! Many Oil Pullers report being cavity free at dental check ups AND their dental hygienist does a LOT less scraping to remove tarter build up. I can (without a doubt) tolerate cold drinks better & I actually had ice cream today which has caused discomfort for several years so I stopped eating it. BTW – I have only pulled Coconut Oil for 10 minutes for four days in a row but I am going to work up to 20 minutes. Oil Puling (Coconut Oil) will be a daily ritual for me from now on!

    • Dr. Jill June 18, 2017, 4:19 pm

      Hi Carla,
      Thanks for sharing! Sounds like you have come a long way!