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How-To: Oil Pulling

Today I want to share a practice that has done wonders for my dental and oral health, oil pulling. This ancient Ayurvedic practice known as kavala or gundusha, helps reduce bacteria and plaque in the mouth as well as strengthen teeth. I started oil pulling a few years ago and have been doing it regularly for the last year. My last three dental visits were amazing and my teeth are super sparkly.

Oil pulling is super easy. Swish 1-2 teaspoons of  coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes and spit it out. The oil pulls out the toxins stored in your salivary glands. The less toxins you have in our mouth the less bacteria and plaque will accumulate.


There are many folks out there that make all kinds of claims about oil pulling. Traditionally it was done with sesame oil but I prefer coconut oil as it has so many antibacterial and antiviral properties. Here are two studies one regrading gingivitis and this one on microrganisms that go into more detail. I’ve tried all sorts of seemingly odd health remedies and oil pulling has worked really well for me. Oil pulling along with daily flossing, brushing, and morning tongue scraping has my dentist asking me what I do. I actually educated him on oil pulling a while back and now he’s recommending it to his patients!

The first few times I tried oil pulling I couldn’t do it for more than ten minutes, my jaw was tired and I was scared I was going to swallow all of the toxins back down. Now I can do 20 minutes no problem. It’s totally fine to work your way up. If your jaw is exhausted you are probably swishing too hard, slow and steady here! The oil will get thicker as you swish (it doubles in size) and according to Dr. Bruce Fife it takes about 20 minutes for the plaque in your mouth to breakdown. Not to worry though, that isn’t long enough for the body to reabsorb the toxins.

Some folks prefer to start with melted coconut oil. I use it as-is, it will melt quickly in your mouth. Whatever you decide be sure to purchase high quality, raw organic oil.


Oil pulling has become part of my morning ritual. I like to do it after I meditate while I am making my breakfast. It’s important to spit out the oil into the trash as it can eventually clog the drain. Afterwards I rinse my mouth well with water and brush my teeth. I oil pull about five times a week and that has worked well for me, it is safe to do everyday if you like.



  • Susan Magnolia

    I love it and strive to do it daily. I added this to my routine in the spring and feel sort of yuck when I skip it. It can be hard to make it to twenty minutes because I have a little one around to care for but it all works out in the end. Since I drink coffee I always contemplate swishing when I first wake or after I drink the black coffee. Do you have a reccomendation?

    • ashley

      Hey Susan! It is great to hear from you and I am glad you are loving this practice. I can relate to feeling off when I skip it. I would suggest oil pulling after coffee as coffee has a tendency to stain teeth. This way you will keep all of the benefits!

  • It is so funny, my mom has been doing oil pulling since I was a child and I always thought it so odd. Only recently, seeing it pop up in lots of places definitely helped, I started to think about taking it up. Just goes to show again, mom knows best :)

    • ashley

      Hey Maja! Your Mom definitely knew what she was talking about! That made me laugh. My Mom fed us loads of sprouts when I was a kid and I thought they were so weird. Now I grow them in my kitchen ;) Funny how things shift. Have a wonderful rest of the week. xoa

  • Interesting! I had heard about oil pulling before but wasn’t too sure about it, but reading your post gave me the courage to try it. I am actually doing it right now as I type this! I won’t lie – having a mouthful of oil feels a little odd…!
    I have a question for you – you said your last few dentist visits have been great and that’s super-encouraging. I worry a bit about my teeth because I have switched to a non-fluoride toothpaste…is that what you are using/would recommend? I decided to make the switch after reading several studies about the potentially harmful side effects of fluoride. Just curious to see what toothpaste you use in addition to the oil pulling, flossing, and tongue scraping. Thanks in advance!

    • ashley

      Isn’t it interesting? I love this practice, it really has helped my teeth and over all oral hygiene so much. Yes, I use a non-fluoride toothpaste because there is so much fluoride in the water here and it can have those side effects you read about.

      I’ve tried nearly every toothpaste on the market and these two are my favorite. They are both Ayurvedic, herbal and have no harsh ingredients. This one doesn’t foam like most toothpastes and it’s a off putting color but it’s amazing. Been using it for the last year. This is another great option and is more like the consistency of regular toothpaste.
      Happy brushing!


  • I’ve tried oil pulling once and loved it. My mouth felt cleaner instantly! I’m not sure why I stopped, but after seeing this post, I am going to do this tomorrow morning. :)

    • ashley

      Hey Alyssa! Isn’t it amazing? Glad to hear you are jumping back on the wagon. Happy oil pulling! xoa

  • Hi Ashley,
    I’ve been thinking about trying it out for weeks, but the only oil I am having is olive oil, which I am thinking is a bit too much “oil”. So thanks for the coconut oil tip! :-) Corina

    • ashley

      Hey Corina,
      Yeah you definitely want to use coconut oil for pulling. When you get some and try it keep us posted! It’s a pretty incredible practice. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. xoa

  • Hi Ashley, I did it! Using coconut oil! First it was a bit weird having all that oil in my mouth and I was afraid of getting sick. But it melted really fast and then it was quite easy. And after 20 minutes of “chewing” everything fehlt so light. ;-)

    • ashley

      Hey Cornia! Awesome, so happy to hear it! The oil melts so fast right? It definitely feels off at first but after a while becomes easy. Notice in a few months how white your teeth are! xoa

  • Meagan Ober

    I realize my comment comes many years after the original comments and story but a year ago I was diagnosed with gingivitis. The lowest number from around your gum to your tooth can easily be a 1 to 3 and that’s safe. The highest number and pretty much the number people rarely come back from is 9. I lost my first tooth due to gingivitis 6 months ago. Now, I’m a neurotic tooth brusher. I use only soft bristles so I don’t damage my enamel from brushing so much. I love brushing, I close my eyes so I can enjoy every sensation from all senses while cleaning my teeth. So I lose my first tooth and it had the root on it. The tooth was perfect besides some yellowing due to coke and coffee drinking. No cavities, no black, no holes, natural or instead, etc…. When I saw that I could still lose my teeth even though I brushed flossed rinsed and when having insurance, went to all preventative appts. I have another tooth that is recently measuring a nine completely around my tooth where the gun line is pulling away. What about coconut oil helps gingivitis. I understand it’s antimicrobial and has antibiotic properties, but what is the science behind it. I’m def going to try the rinsing first then look for the documentation. If I can save my teeth….

    Thank you for taking the time to post this

    • ashley

      Hi Meagan,
      Thanks for writing and sharing your story. I suggest taking a little time to search articles online, there are several studies out there! Wishing you all the best and and I’m glad you’re going to give this a try. x

  • […] Improve dental health Have you tried oil pulling? It’s an ancient Indian technique used to pull toxins from the mouth and freshen the breath. […]

  • I’ve tried oil pulling once and loved it. My mouth felt cleaner instantly! I’m not sure why I stopped, but after seeing this post, I am going to do this tomorrow morning. where to buy sesame oil

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