What Is It & How To Do It

I’m really excited to share my new favourite health tip with you! Every now and then, you come across a health tip that’s nice to add to your daily routine, but sometimes you do it for a while, and then it falls by the wayside either because it’s too cumbersome to do, too expensive, or you just don’t have time. But I’ve got a tip for you today that’s easy, cheap, and can have quite a powerful effect on your overall health…it’s called oil pulling.

oil pulling

When I first heard of it, I thought it was some weird oil thing you maybe did to your hair…wrong. Your skin…wrong. Truth be told, it’s basically where you take 1 tsp. of vegetable oil (coconut) and then swoosh it around your mouth for 20 minutes, spit it out, and repeat it daily. Another term that describes it better is oil swooshing since you swoosh it around in your mouth.

Why does it do?

So now that you know what oil pulling is, you may be wondering, “Why in the world would I want to swoosh oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes?” There are many benefits that come from oil pulling, but the main one is that it improves oral health. According to Dr Bruce Fife, author of the book: Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing, oil pulling…

“Soaks up or “pulls” disease-causing bacteria and their toxins out from around the teeth and gums, cleaning the mouth far better than any toothbrush or mouthwash. And when we remove the bacteria and toxins from our teeth, we free up our body to heal other things.”

So, in other words, when you brush your teeth, you may think your brushing away all the germs and bacteria, but in reality, your teeth only represent only 10 percent of the surface of your mouth, so you’ve got a lot of areas left to harbour and grow bacteria. Oil pulling, on the other hand, reaches 100 percent of your mouth, from your gums, your tongue, and all the little crevices between your teeth. Once these little nasties are out of your mouth, your body can say, “Well, it’s clean here; what else needs some work?” See below for more on the various health conditions that oil pulling can help with.

oil pulling in action

Why Oil?

The thing that I had trouble “getting over” when trying to start oil pulling was that I had to put oil in my mouth. Eww. I occasionally use oil in my cooking, and lately, I’ve been using pure coconut oil as lotion, but I never thought I would be okay taking a teaspoon of it and leaving it in my mouth. I read that it took a few times to actually get used to it and get over the “gag reflex” part of it. But truly, after 3-4 times of doing it, I was used to it, and it hasn’t bothered me anymore.

To answer your question about “why oil?”… the oil combines with the saliva in your mouth to make a “cleansing solution” that will act as a magnet pulling toxins, bacteria, and microbes from every crevice in your mouth and are held firmly in the solution. Some of it is attracted to the oil, some of it is attracted to the saliva. No matter what attracts them, they are held in the solution, spit out, and then then the body is free of them.

“Without the burden of constantly fighting off oral infections and infiltrating bacteria and their toxins, the body is freed up to focus on self-healing. Inflammation is quieted, blood chemistry is normalized, damaged tissues are repaired, and healing occurs.”

1 tspn of oil

I like to use Nutiva’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. I get mine from my local health food store, and I always try to make sure and buy it in bulk when it’s on sale. You can save so much money by doing this! I just keep the smaller jars like the one pictured and refill them from the bigger, bulk jar for ease of use.

Also, just a note…here’s what my coconut oil looks like now in the colder months and when I buy it from the store. As you can tell, it’s much more solid and white. This is the same coconut oil featured above, but when I originally filmed this video and took these pictures, it was in the middle of the summer here in the Midwest, so my coconut oil was in more of a liquid form.

coconut oil

same coconut oil

Why 20 minutes?

I know it’s a long time. I get it. But here’s why you’ll want to do it, as mentioned in the Oil Pulling Therapy book: “The longer to you push and pull the oil through your mouth, the more microbes are pulled free. After 20 minutes, the solution is filled with bacteria, viruses, and other organisms.”

A good tip the book stated is that other “oil-pullers” found that if they pulled for a full 20 minutes, certain health problems would go away. But if they reduced their time to less than 10 minutes, their problems returned. The key is finding something to do while you are oil pulling to keep your mind off of it. As I share in the video, you can take a shower, read a book, work on the computer, clean your house, do some dishes…the possibilities are endless. I’ve gotten so used to it over the past few months; it’s become second nature to me.

To help motivate you to want to oil pull for a full 20 minutes, here are some of the health problems that oil pulling can help with, along with overall detoxifying of the body (as listed in Dr Fife’s Oil Pulling Therapy book):

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Bad Breath
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Chron’s Disease
  • Constipation
  • Dental Cavities (after a month of oil pulling, I had a check-up at the dentist and was cavity-free!)
  • Dermatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Mucous Congestion (I feel like oil pulling really helps me get lots of mucous out)
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • PMS (I noticed a difference between my pre-oil pulling cramps and my oil-pulling cramps, they were so much milder than before)
  • Periodontal Disease (my gums looks much healthier)
  • Tooth Abscess

The list goes on and on…but truly, it is worth the 20 minutes to get relief from some of those chronic conditions that you may have struggled with your entire life.

Let me show you how I do oil pulling and how easy it can be…

Special Tips:

  • I often oil pull once a day, first thing in the morning. But after reading this book, I’ve been more motivated to throw in a second oil pulling session right before I go to bed so that all those bacteria, toxins, and mucous are hanging out in my mouth all night long, just making themselves comfortable!
  • Word to the wise…it’s hard to talk (as you saw from the video) while oil pulling, so don’t do it during a time when you need to be talking. I make sure to oil pull when Avery’s asleep┬áso that I don’t have to try a talk/pull and play with her. It’s a bad combo…you’ll end up either spitting the oil out or swallowing it accidentally.
  • If you forget to do it one day, don’t worry…just pick it back up again tomorrow. I’m notorious for late-night oil pulling┬ábecause I’ll go the whole day without doing it and realize it right before I go to bed, so before I pull the covers…I grab some oil to swoosh as I finish getting ready for bed.
  • Some sources say to do it on an empty stomach; this is mainly due to the “gag reflex” aspect of it all and not wanting to have food on your stomach if you might be tempted to throw up. But if you’re past the “gag” feeling (which I only slightly felt the first time I did it), you can easily do it any time of the day.
  • There’s a cool chart in the book (pg. 111) that shows the times of the day when bacteria in your mouth is the highest, and the top one is first thing in the morning, and the second is before meals like lunch. This is good to know so that you can get the most “bang for your buck” from oil pulling. So instead of oil pulling when bacteria is low, you can oil pull when bacteria is high and really have an impact on your oral health. It’s like “Ghostbusters” for your mouth! ( :
  • While swooshing, push, pull, and suck the oil/saliva mixture through your teeth and gums. You don’t have to be very vigorous with it to the point that your mouth gets tired doing it, but you do want to keep it gently moving for the full 20 minutes.
  • Be sure not to swallow the oil. Some may seep back your throat on accident; that’s okay; just try not to.
  • Once your done, spit it out into a trash can (not the sink or toilet, we don’t want it messing with the pipes). If you’re wondering, it will look milky white once you spit it out.

oil saliva mixture

  • Rinse your mouth out with water and spit that out, too, after swooshing.
  • Oil pulling is very safe for anyone to do, no matter what your state of health or what other medications you are on. Considering the fact that all your doing is swooshing vegetable oil around in your mouth (you don’t even swallow it), it is very safe! So pregnant women, nursing mamas (that would be me!), and anyone else is safe to try oil pulling. As long as you are capable of swooshing the oil for 20 minutes without swallowing it, you are good to go. *As always, I am not a medical doctor, so if you feel inclined, talk it over with your health care provider…but they will probably just look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them what you want to do with the oil. My advice is to research it on your own and decide if it will work for you.*

So that’s oil pulling in a nutshell, and although I’ve probably explained it to death, you may find it helpful to read more about it Dr Bruce Fife’s book: Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing. It taught me a lot more than just random tips I found about it online. It also opened my eyes to how connected oral health is to wellness in the body, because as it is stated on the cover of the book, “All disease starts in the mouth.” Something to think about, right?


Have you ever tried oil pulling? Or do you already do it? If so, what’s your oil pulling routine like? What ailments has it helped alleviate for you? Share below. Also, if you have any questions about oil pulling, you can post those below, and I will try to answer them the best I can. Happy oil pulling!

Recently this post was linked up to…

  • Frugally Sustainable as part of the “Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop.”


  • “Your Green Resource” at The Greenbacks Gal, A Delightful Home, Live Renewed, or Sorta Crunchy.

green resource

  • “Living Green Tuesdays Link Up” at Green Idea Reviews or Like a Mustard Seed.

living green tuesdays

  • “Thank Your Body Thursday” over at Thank Your Body


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