WTF Is Oil Pulling?! How to Get Healthier Gums and Whiten Your Teeth

Coconut Oil

Photo credit: via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

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, bad diet, bad dental hygiene, hormonal imbalance, etc. All I knew was that something had to change.

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.

Nasty ingredients 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

(scroll to the next headline or click here if you just want to get to the part about oil pulling)

Wow. Let’s break down those ingredients.

  • Chlorhexidine gluconate: Side effects can be staining of teeth, respiratory infections, headaches, dry mouth, increase in tartar formation, hypersensitivity, allergic reactions…do I need to keep going? (source)
  • Propylene glycol: A petroleum plastic product (ew) that acts as a preservative and is also found in antifreeze and acetone. It can lead to brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities and can be an irritant to the skin. (source)
  • Glycerin: Not horrible depending on how it’s used, and generally okay in small quantities. Mainly used as a preservative or sweetener. A lot of it can cause a laxative effect. (source)
  • Polyoxyl 40 hydrogenated castor oil: The name alone just scares me. It seems to be used as an emulsifier and there are concerns about toxicity and impurities that can lead to cancer. (source)
  • Mint flavor: Not even real mint, just mint flavor. Come on! Artificial flavors are not good for you. Side effects are “nervous system depression, dizziness, chest pain, headaches, fatigue, allergies, brain damage, seizures, nausea, and much more. Some of the popular flavorings can also cause genetic defects, tumors, bladder cancer, and many other types of cancers.” (source)
  • Potassium acesulfame: A sweetener that is also a carcinogen and has a lot of horrible side effects as well. (source)
  • FD&C Red #40 and D&C Red #33: Anything with numbers in it is assumably bad. And why would I want red coloring in my mouthwash anyway? Color additives are toxic and have been linked to tumors and cancers.

So tell me what about that product would make my gums better? I have no idea. This led me to start some research on natural ways I could improve the health of my gums.

Oil pulling to the rescue!

Oil Pulling

So what is oil pulling? You take about a tablespoon of oil, and swish it in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes, and it sucks all the toxins out of your mouth. Amazing!

  • I mainly use coconut oil and sometimes sesame oil. I occasionally add this Dr. Tungs Oil Pulling Concentrate to coconut oil as well.
  • 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 40 minutes.
  • I try to do it about 5 times a week.
  • If you just can’t get used to it, try adding flavor such as peppermint (make sure it’s real and not artificial flavoring).
  • 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 15-20 minutes are up, SPIT IT OUT. DO NOT SWALLOW IT. It’s toxic, after all. Also, make sure you spit it in the trash, not the sink (It could clog your drain). Rinse out your mouth thoroughly.
  • I’ve also heard that if you have amalgam fillings, you should avoid oil pulling!

My happy gums

There are sooooooooo many benefits to oil pulling. Since coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory, there are a lot of things it can do for your health.

  • Prevents bad breath.
  • Strengthens teeth, jaws, and gums.
  • Prevents mouth diseases like cavities and gingivitis.
  • Holistic remedy for bleeding gums.
  • Avoids dryness of lips, mouth, and throat.
  • Holistic treatment for jaw problems.
  • Whitens your teeth and removes stains.
  • Overall better health and less sickness.
  • Helps clear acne by getting rid of bad bacteria that could eventually get to your gut. (source)
  • Many more! The more research I do, it seems there are endless benefits.

Honestly, it has been my savior! ? I’ve been doing it for about a year. 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 are whiter (even after all the wine and coffee I drink). My skin has gotten clearer. It’s a miracle and I can’t tell you enough how much I recommend oil pulling! Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

✨Happy pulling!✨


Make sure you buy a good quality coconut oil. I use this one.

Here’s a graphic I found that might stick with you:
Oil Pulling

5 comments on “WTF Is Oil Pulling?! How to Get Healthier Gums and Whiten Your Teeth”

  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!

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