Benefits of Oil Pulling for a Healthier Oral Microbiome (& How to Start!)

Coconut Oil Pulling

It all started when my gums would bleed whenever I flossed. I started to think it was normal, until I went for my cleaning at the dentist and found out I was in between the stages of gingivitis and periodontitis. OMG. I wanted to cry. My gums were inflamed and unhealthy. I had always been good about flossing and brushing so why would this happen to me?!

There are many reasons this could happen to your gums: genetics, poor diet, bad dental hygiene, hormonal imbalance, etc. All I knew was that something had to change 🦷

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My hygienist sent me home with this big pint of liquid that I was to use when rinsing and brushing my teeth. It was supposed to help. I looked at the ingredients when I got home and was disgusted:

0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate (1,1-hexamethylene bis [5-(p-chlorophenyl) biguanide] di-D-gluconate) in a base containing deionized water, propylene glycol, glycerin, polyoxyl 40 hydrogenated castor oil, mint flavor, potassium acesulfame, FD&C Red #40 and D&C Red #33

I was confused as to how artificial dyes, flavors, preservatives, and propylene glycol could make my gums any better. This led me to start some research on natural, holistic ways I could improve the health of my gums!

Green Beauty Ingredient Glossary

Oil Pulling to the Rescue!

I discovered oil pulling and will never look back.

So what is oil pulling? It’s an Ayurvedic practice in which you take about a tablespoon of oil and swish it in your mouth for about 5-20 minutes. It basically sucks bacteria out of your mouth and is actually believed to cure more than thirty systemic diseases when practiced regularly. Amazing!

You don’t NEED to go the full 20 minutes but the longer, the better. A minimum of 2-3 minutes will suffice!

I mainly use organic coconut oil because it has the most beneficial properties (antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory) and tastes the best, but you can pretty much use any edible oil (such as olive or sesame oil). I occasionally add these tooth serum drops to the oil as well.

Related blog post: “Naturally Healthy Teeth & Gums: The Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Oral Hygiene”

Benefits of Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling Benefits for Healthy Dental Hygiene

I think it’s important to note that oil pulling is not some magical, cure-all solution, but it does have many proven benefits! (studies linked below)

  • Lessens your risk for gingivitis and reduces pathogenic bacteria
  • Can help prevent cavities and remineralize teeth
  • Supports a balanced and healthy oral microbiome
  • Holistic remedy for halitosis (aka bad breath!) and dry mouth
  • May remove stains on teeth that are caused by bacteria (but does not technically whiten teeth, FYI)

Although research is limited as to whether or not oil pulling can help with TMJ, I can personally say that it has helped me! I used to suffer from jaw pain and stiffness and do believe that oil pulling helped strengthen my jaw and alleviate the symptoms. Of course, there are other things that likely helped me such as chiropractic care and mouth taping at night!

Related post: “Why I Swear by Mouth Taping at Night for Restful Sleep & Better Dental Hygiene

Coconut Oil Pulling with Clove Bud

FAQ & things to note:

  • At first, your jaw will get tired and you might want to gag. But stick with it! Some days I forget I am even doing it and have had the oil in for about 25 minutes. You can work your way up!
  • You can do it daily or as little as 1-2 times per week. I try to pull during the week and then take weekends off myself.
  • If you juuuuuust can’t get used to it, try adding flavors such as peppermint oil or organic clove bud oil (make sure it’s real and not artificial flavoring). Alternatively, you could use a swishing serum or oil pulling concentrate!
  • Do it first thing in the morning, before you eat or brush your teeth. That’s when your mouth is the nastiest (yum). To make it easier, try doing it while you’re getting ready to keep yourself busy.
  • After 5-20 minutes are up, SPIT IT OUT. DO NOT SWALLOW IT. Since it has pulled impurities from your mouth, you don’t want to ingest it. Also, make sure you spit it in the trash, not the sink, because it could clog your drain. Rinse out your mouth thoroughly.

NOTE: I’ve read mixed things about oil pulling and amalgam fillings. Some dentists say it’s safe, but others say to avoid it because it loosens fillings. I personally think it’s safe and that that’s a myth. But maybe ask your dentist if you still have the old fillings!

Honestly, oil pulling has been my savior 🙌 I’ve been doing it for years. My gums no longer bleed when I floss. I don’t get cavities. My dental hygienist has praised me for how healthy my gums look. My teeth look whiter (even after all coffee I drink). I truly recommend oil pulling so much. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

✨ Happy pulling! ✨

Becca Signature


Sources & Further Reading:


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Written by: Becca

Becca is a blogger, wife, and dog mom living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Having seen firsthand the benefits of switching to a natural lifestyle herself, she's passionate about helping women make the switch to clean beauty products, organic skincare, and a holistic way of life (without the stress of being perfect about it!).

9 comments on “Benefits of Oil Pulling for a Healthier Oral Microbiome (& How to Start!)”

  1. Funny question but if you do this right when you wake up (before eating/brushing teeth) then do you brush your teeth THEN eat/drink coffee?

    1. yes usually! I oil pull while I’m getting ready in the morning, before eating breakfast. then after eating, I brush my teeth and leave for work, at work I enjoy my coffee! it doesn’t exactly matter what order you brush your teeth or anything, I just suggest oil pulling first thing in the morning because that’s when your mouth is pretty dirty after sleeping!

  2. Is it safe to use when you have dental implants? And do you know how soon after a tooth extraction its ok to restart?

  3. Hey Becca,
    I know this is an older article and I’m curious to know, how long before you and your dentist noticed results from the oil pulling? I just got diagnosed with the same thing, between gingivitis and peridontitis. Booo!! I am starting to do oil with a drop of tea tree EO and a drop of peppermint EO. I sure hope it helps, my gums have always been really healthy so I was surprised to get this. But my dentist said genetics plays a big part, I just have to keep ahead of it best I can. Thanks, Kelly

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