Does Oil Pulling Work?

does oil pulling work

I’m one of those people who rolls their eyes when I hear about most of the crazy beauty trends people rave about. No, I will never put mayonnaise in my hair no matter how great you say it is. So when I heard all the hooplah about oil pulling last month, I figured it would be a fun experiment. My goal was to try it out for a month and report back with my honest results. I had high hopes that oil pulling would work mainly because the supposed benefits are awesome, but also secretly hoped it didn’t work so I could make fun of everyone who raved about it. I know, I’m a terrible person.

If you’re not familiar with oil pulling (which means you’re probably a dude or someone who doesn’t read Allure- no judgement here), I’ll give you a brief lowdown. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that is supposed to help improve your oral health. Basically swishing the oil around in your mouth helps to remove toxins from your body.

So you’re wondering how to oil pull? It’s simple. Take a tablespoon of your favorite coconut oil (you can find it at most grocery stores, health stores or the nearest Target) and put it in your mouth. “Bite” the oil so it’s less chunky and turns into a liquid. I don’t have a bad gag reflex, so this was fine for me, but many people can’t get past this point. I also enjoy the taste of coconut oil, so I didn’t mind the taste, either. Then swish the liquid around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, as you would with a mouthwash. Yes, your jaw will hurt a little but you’ll get used to it. After the time is up, spit it out. You’ll notice the liquid is now milky after being swished around and mixed with the toxins. DO NOT SWALLOW IT.

What are the benefits of oil pulling? Everyone and their mother has their own list of the potential benefits, with some as weird as curing hangovers or eliminating migraines. Yeah… ok. Other, not-so-far-fetched benefits of oil pulling include whiter teeth, better overall oral health and digestion help.

So, does oil pulling work?

After a month of oil pulling, I have found that my teeth are whiter. No, not crazy white like Crest White Strips would get them, but I did notice a change of a few shades. Overall I think my oral health is pretty good- I haven’t had any canker sores, sore gums or weird mouth issues since I started. As far as all the other supposed benefits? I think it’s too hard to trace those to swishing oil in your mouth, but that’s just me.

I’m curious to read other’s experiences with oil pulling, so spill! Would you ever try it? Have you tried it? What were your results?


  1. I was talking about this with my coworker yesterday (I swear to God), my other coworker that is from India heard our conversation and was telling me that a few years ago oil pulling was very big in India, and was popular for about 5 years. Now she said no one really does that anymore.

  2. Thank you for posting this! I’ve been planning to try it, but wasn’t sure if it was worth it/if it actually worked. I guess it’s worth a shot because coconut oil has so many alternative uses so the jar won’t go to waste if this doesn’t work out. The idea of swishing something around for 20 minutes doesn’t sound particularly appealing if there are zero results, so glad to know it does something!

  3. There is no way I could do this…the thought of having that in my mouth makes me want to barf! I think I’ll stick to Crest white strips instead 🙂

  4. Haha I must be a dude because I honestly haven’t heard of this until your post! Interesting… I definitely could use whiter teeth right now, and I would love a more natural way to do it. I think my oral health is pretty good too, but who knows. If it could cure a hangover, I would love it 😉

  5. I’m sorry, this whole thing is weird to me. I guess it’s because I don’t like anything with coconut to enter my mouth!

  6. Thanks for sharing this- I’ve been hearing a lot about pulling lately, how it’s supposed to “change your life.” Haha. I’m glad to hear you experienced some benefits, though!

    I cook with coconut oil often because it’s a great medium-chain fatty acid (or something) which means it has a decent amount of good-for-you fat. 🙂 Maybe I’ll swish some around in my mouth while I saute some veggies?

  7. I couldn’t imagine swishing anything in my mouth for 15 minutes, let alone something I couldn’t swallow or that sounds gross! haha…if I want whiter teeth I’ll just use the white strips…I’ve never heard of this before, so thanks for sharing!!

  8. Conconut oil can be used for everything! I put it in my hair once a week before I wash my hair and I use it as an eye makeup remover. I’ll have to add this to list of things you can use coconut oil for. Although I don’t think I could get past the texture and taste.

  9. Yikes…I had never heard of oil pulling before this post, but it looks like there are a lot of benefits to it! I really want to try it and I’m hoping my horrible gag reflex doesn’t get in the way lol! Have a great weekend girl

  10. I have nothing against oil pulling but I gave it a shot and just couldn’t get past 5 minutes. Not sure if that has any benefit, since the ~20 minute timing is supposed to be important from what I’ve heard. Oh well!

  11. I’ve done this once or twice, but my schedule doesn’t really allow me to be consistent with it. Its definitely a weird experience, but if it helps oral health, I would be on board!

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