Coconut oil on a wood spoon

Coconut Oil Pulling for Whiter Teeth & Healthy Mouth

I’ve been in the business of helping people find the healthiest, absolutely best alternatives to looking and feeling their best for a long time now. So at this point, little surprises me.

I’ve seen “miraculous” spray vitamins come and go, the finest healing elixir from the Himalayas fall from grace, and the rarest and finest rainforest “fountain of youth fruit” take a nosedive. I’ve seen the air diet, dirt diet — you name it diet — come and go.

So, when I hear about swishing around coconut oil in your mouth to remove harmful oral toxins, strengthen the gums and whiten the teeth, I think well, maybe.

Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley swear by this practice. There are some that even claim relief from migraines, eczema, arthritis and bronchitis, and more supple skin and relief from hangovers.

When I did my research, though, I found there was nothing new here. In fact, coconut “oil pulling” is a traditional Indian practice of more than 2,500 years.

Here’s the logic: Within the human mouth, billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi —  including streptococcus and Candida — reside. Left unchecked, these undesirable inhabitants can cause serious gum diseases, leading to inflammatory processes, which may spread to other systems of the body.

You know I’m always harping on the fact that almost every modern-day disease process circles back to inflammation. Well, the inside of your mouth is another conduit for inflammation to take hold. With that on the table, I was all in. I started swishing every morning.

My results: After about three months of “oil pulling,” I definitely notice a difference. My mouth feels fresher and cleaner, and my teeth are definitely brighter. What’s interesting is once you’re done “swishing” the oil around, you feel like you have a sweeter taste in your mouth and fresher breath. It’s like your mouth gets an intense cleanse everyday.

Even better, “oil pulling” is a relatively simple and very inexpensive process to follow.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Upon arising each morning, prior to breakfast and regular tooth brushing, actively swish up to 1 tablespoon of natural organic coconut oil through teeth and around gums for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Just for the record, you can use any pure oil like sesame or olive. However, coconut oil is the most popular because of its powerful healing properties.
    Fair warning: When you first put the coconut oil in your mouth it’s often not fully melted, so it has a weird “thicker” sludge like consistency. Just hang tight, the oil will melt in a second and be reduced to a thinner oil base with a much kinder taste. Second option. You can warm the coconut oil before hand so you don’t feel like you’re chomping on Crisco for those first few seconds. If you still feel like you’re going to gag, you may want to opt for pure sesame or olive oil.
  2. If pressed for time, continue swishing while taking a shower, moving about the house, or conducting other morning routines. Rinse and brush well when you’re finished.
  3. Be very careful not to gargle or swallow the coconut oil so you don’t ingest the bacteria, viruses and fungi you have so carefully swished loose. After 20 minutes, spit the oil into a trash receptacle, but not the sink, because the oil could solidify and clog your sink.

Just a handful of research can be found on the topic, which generally just states that there is improvement in receding gums and that “oil pulling” works as well as some mouthwashes, but nothing on larger health issues. National Institutes of Health database.

I’m hedging myself anyway and will continue to swish, no matter how much insanity is involved.

Keep thinking big and living bold!

-Dr. Kellyann