Today, I’m talking health…and teeth!

coconut oil pulling 2

I am slightly obsessed with my teeth. I blame my Mom. She always stressed how important it was to take care of them + has essentially brain washed our family when it comes to all things dental. I’m totally okay with it though, there’s nothing like a healthy pair of pearly whites. Not to mention it took nearly one third of my life to get my teeth into the shape they are today [8+ years of orthodontia anyone?!]

Do you SEE what I was working with?

Like most people, I try to keep my teeth as healthy + as white as possible. In college, I was a devout Crest Whitestrips user until my dentist told me to knock it off since my enamel was on it’s way out. SCARY. I stopped immediately and have never gone back. Since then, I’ve used whitening toothpastes, as well as some other natural options. Baking soda has been a recent favorite, but there’s one interesting technique that not only whitens your smile, but can improve your overall health!

Oil pulling.

Coconut Oil

What the heck is that you ask? Well, in a nutshell…on an empty stomach, you place a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth, swish it around, push/pull it through your teeth + then spit it out. It claims to help strengthen + whiten teeth, prevent cavities + gingivitis, help with bad breath, strengthen gums, reduce jaw pain, help with sleep or sinus issues, and reduce headaches + skin problems. Um, sold.

I have tried pulling a few times in the past, but recently had a conversation with my brothers wonderfully brilliant girlfriend Kathryn, who’s studying to become a dentist [she just interviewed at NYU for their DDS program!] + asked her to spill all the deets with me! 🙂


Here’s what you need to know:

 What is Oil Pulling? What does it do? So it’s called oil pulling because it’s supposed to pull the toxins from your blood stream. The MCT which is the medium chain triglycerides (chemistry nerd term) is the antibacterial/anti fungal part of the coconut oil which helps kill the bacteria in your mouth. Coconut oil is also good for absorption which makes it a good oil to pull with.

How long do I need to “pull” for? You do it for 15-20 minutes. As the blood circulates the body, you get a lot of the toxins through the mouth.

How often do you pull + do you have any tips for lasting 20 minutes? I try to do it 5 times a week while I’m showering in the morning!

How long before you noticed a difference? I definitely noticed whiter teeth without any sensitivity you get with whiteners. Also, I haven’t been breaking out on my chin nearly as much.

THANK YOU for sharing, Kathryn! I enjoyed picking your brain on this one! 🙂

Oil pulling is definitely a little bit tricky for me, but I have a couple of personal tips that help!

  1. I melt the oil first! The texture of the solid oil bugs me out! It’s similar to that of vaseline. You can’t really begin pulling until it melts anyways, so I just bypass that whole melt-in-your-mouth part by popping into the microwave for a few seconds.  melt oil
  2. Be prepared to fill your time! I love Kathryn’s suggestion of pulling in the shower…I’m going to have to try that! But usually, I’ll dedicate the block of time to answering e-mails, catching up on some blogs, or editing pictures/posts! bottoms up
  3. Don’t use too much! Only take what you can handle. Your mouth will gradually fill with additional saliva + you don’t want to find yourself trying to work with too much liquid. swish4

One last note…be sure to spit the oil into the trash or outside afterwards. This is important, because it will clog your sink.

And there you have it, oil pulling 101. Are you down to try it!?


What are your thoughts on oil pulling? Have you ever done it before?



44 comments on “Improve Your Health in 20 Minutes!”

  1. Omg I jumped on the oil pulling train a while back with sunflower oil! I’ve been wanting to try with coconut oil but I keep forgetting! Need to give it a try soon.

  2. I have been wanting to try this for so long and your tutorial is the first I’ve found that actually helps me understand, so thank you! Since you do this on an empty stomach, do you typically pull in the morning?

  3. I use coconut oil in almost all of my cooking. When I was in my Paleo phase I did give oil pulling a try. The initial part didn’t bother me, but around the 5 minute mark it was so gross that it made me want to gag, and I wasn’t about to swallow it. (Seriously though, who can waste good coconut oil?!) Now putting it in my coffee, I’m totally down with that! 🙂

  4. I’ve never tried it, but I hear so much about it. My teeth are really sensitive so most whitening things like the Crest White Strips are too much for me. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try it though!

    • You should try!! Crest White strips whitened, but ruined my teeth. They stripped so much enamel off…although I’m pretty sure I was over-using them lol. This is a kind of strange method, but I’ve heard so many amazing things from devout pullers! I’m also a huge fan of brushing my teeth with baking soda [before toothpaste] – it’s definitely gentle and has helped to remove stains/whiten for me too 🙂

      • I have done the baking soda before but it’s been a while. I had my teeth professionally whitened at the dentist office. Not only was it expensive, but it was so painful. It made my teeth so sensitive and they hurt so bad. NEVER AGAIN. Getting my wisdom teeth out was less painful than that. I will stick to home remedies from now on!

        • Oh my gosh!!! I’ve always wanted to get them professionally whitened, but you’re not the first person to tell me they had a less than stellar experience. I definitely want to get better about more natural, regular treatments – if done consistently, I think they really do work just as well! 🙂

  5. I’ve definitely tried this because of all the kick ass benefits but I cannot get over the texture. I can hold it in my mouth for maybe 30 seconds before I need to spit it out. I wish I could keep it up!

  6. I’m so glad you posted this! I have been seeing this trend everywhereee recently and didn’t know what it was all about. I love my Plus White 5 minute whitening system, but I think I’m gonna have to try this since it’s natural and has all of those extra benefits. Does it leave an oily residue in your mouth afterwards? And if so, do you have any recommendations to get rid of it?

    • Aw yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed!! Definitely give it a try! Afterwards, just rinse your mouth out really well with water — salt water works great too! I’m excited to see your coconut oil post tomorrow!! 😉

  7. Oh man! I just bought teeth whitening gel yesterday. If this post was just a day earlier. However, I don’t know if I could hold coconut oil in my mouth for a whole 15 – 20 minutes, I’d probably gag. It’s worth a try though. Thanks for the tip hon. Xoxo

  8. Why have I not heard of this yet?!?!?… Lol – I am a Crest Whitestrips whore so I might have to “close my mouth” and rid of them and move on to bigger and better things!!! Totally trying this… thanks for sharing girl 🙂

    • It’s one of those things I was shocked I had never heard of either, but once I did, felt like I saw it everywhere! It does take some getting used to + patience [currently “pulling” as I’m answering comments…and staring at the clock…7 minutes in LOL] But it’s worth a try!! 🙂 Let me know if you go for it!!

  9. I’ve heard of this before, but I’ve never been brave enough to try it! I actually just bought some coconut oil, so maybe I should just nut up and try it!! Lol.

  10. Hey! What other stories have you heard about oil pulling?
    Among the (very) few things in my cupboard right now are a sweet potato, cinnamon and coconut oil. Perfect. Thanks for that.
    Before reading this I thought it was just the gunk under the gums you pull out. I’m sure it gives me more energy so if you say the whole blood, I hear you.
    I change the oil every five minutes. Sometimes I just do it for five minutes a few times spread through the day. Still seems to work.
    Have a fun day!

    • It’s a really great habit to adapt! I’m trying to get better about doing it regularly. 20 minutes is certainly a long time, but I think doing it for 5 minutes is better than none! 🙂 Thanks for reading, love! XO

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