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Get the Facts on Oil Pulling


The first time I heard about “Pulling” coconut oil for health reasons, I had visions of being harnessed up to a large container of oil, then straining like crazy to manually pull this heavy load of oil across the beach. I still see that vision, even though I now know the truth. The so called “pulling of coconut oil” is for oral health and hygiene – but before you start thinking about my vision, and changing it to someone tugging the container with their teeth, I’d better explain more fully.

Interesting musings

Pulling coconut oil is an old established way of using the oil as a mouth wash. But this isn’t just a quick rinse and spit jobbie; you have to swill it around in your mouth for 20 minutes! Now you wouldn’t want to stand there looking at your reflection in bathroom mirror for 20 minutes – or would you? Are you that good looking? Even so, you’d probably get pretty bored, so you just have to get into the habit of doing something else for that 20 minutes to pass the time. No – not that! Although it’s an interesting concept – passing oil back and forth between each other? – Sorry – I digress.

Where did the practice of oil “pulling” originate?

Using oil as a mouth rinse has been around for centuries as part of the Ayurvedic medicine culture of India. It was first adopted into the US as an oral health methodology in the early 1900s, courtesy of a gentleman by the name of Dr. Karach. The oils traditionally used in India were, and still probably are, sunflower oil and sesame oil. As types of oil have proliferated, people now use many different types for “pulling” all over the world; but the one that many Americans favor best, because of its many health benefits, is coconut oil.

Oil “pulling” comes to the US

When we first adopted oil pulling here in the US, it was strictly for oral hygiene, for combating and treating conditions such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth decay

It is also used by many Americans for natural teeth whitening too.

The full extent to which Ayurvedic medicine puts Oil Pulling

In Ayurvedic medicine however, it’s used for far more. Ayurvedic medicine holds the belief that the different areas of the tongue have a connectivity and relation to different part of the anatomy;

  • The colon
  • The heart
  • The kidneys
  • The liver
  • The lungs
  • The small intestine
  • The stomach

This is rather like the theory of reflexology, and because of this belief, devotees of Ayurvedic medicine therefore use oil pulling to treat other conditions such as:

Artery thrombosis

  • Arthritis
  • Blood disorders
  • Eczema
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Leukemia
  • Peritonitis
  • Women’s hormonal disorders

In terms of oral health, several studies have been carried out into the effectiveness of oil pulling, but the evidence is patchy.

Benefit of Pulling Coconut Oil # 1 – Combating Streptococcus Mutans

Coconut oil pulling combats bad bacteria known as Streptococcus Mutans. Bacteria play a fundamental role in the build-up of plaque, and the development of tooth decay. Any good quality oil can be used to combat Streptococcus Mutans, but because of the exceptional antimicrobial, and antiseptic characteristics of Coconut oil in particular, this is the one that many people prefer to use.

Benefit of Pulling Coconut Oil # 2 – Reduces plaque

Pulling with coconut oil has the ability to reduce the build-up of plaque on your teeth. It does this by killing of the majority of Streptococcus Mutans, the bad bacteria that accumulates in the mouth.

Benefit of Pulling Coconut Oil # 3 – An effective treatment for gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the gums. It’s a reaction of the autoimmune system which goes into action when it detects any harmful bacteria in the mouth. Because Pulling with Coconut Oil destroys much of these harmful bacteria, this stops the immune system from having to kick in.

Benefit of Pulling Coconut Oil # 3 – A cure for bad breath

If you suffer from halitosis that is caused by the bad bacteria in your mouth, (not to be mistaken by bad breath caused through cigarette smoking or eating certain smelly foods) regularly Pulling Coconut Oil will deal with the problem. Incidentally, bad breath can also be caused by crash, low or no carb dieting. When your body is forced to burn too much fat too quickly, it produces chemicals known as ketones which can be smelt on the breath. Pulling will not cure this problem. You simply need to stop dieting that way. You can read more about this by following think link to an article on the WebMD website.

Benefit of pulling coconut oil # 4 – A cure for gum disease

Gum disease is a condition that attacks the bone that holds your teeth in place. It sets in when

plaque infiltrates below the gum line, or your gums are loose around your teeth, allowing bacteria to penetrate, and is characterized by your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth. Regular use of coconut oil can kill off the bacteria and halt the disease’s advance. But please note that if the problem is caused by plaque below the gum line, you need to get your dentist to remove the offending plaque.

The 4 benefits that we’ve listed above are all well documented and have been backed up by various bits of well conducted research. There are a couple of other benefits that many people who do Coconut Oil Pulling swear by, but just to be clear, there is not yet any credible research to back this up. It doesn’t however necessarily mean that these “apocryphal” claims are not true.

Apocryphal Benefit of pulling coconut oil # 1 – Aids detox

Many very credible people have claimed that Coconut Oil Pulling helps their bodies to detox. There may be a lot of truth in what is being passed around, but there’s nothing substantial to back this up. But if you’d like to find out more about this claim, you can follow this link through to the Coconut Research Center website.

The one thing we can say for sure, and that is proven, is that Coconut Oil Pulling does detox your mouth. This also infers that by doing so, you’ll be minimizing ingesting any of these toxins that would otherwise be in your mouth.

Apocryphal Benefit of pulling coconut oil # 2 – Speeds up your metabolism

Although I’ve seen this mentioned on several websites, it’s another claim that isn’t backed up by any research. It may be that people are getting confused with eating coconut oil rather than “Pulling” with it.

By the way, it seems that “Pulling” may refer to the fact the oil you use PULLS the toxins out of your mouth. It certainly sounds feasible.

Spit it out!

One last point I’d like to make regarding Pulling Coconut Oil is that once you’ve finished, you should spit it out rather than swallow; not you’d probably try to swallow it anyway. But once you’ve finished with it just bear in mind that it will be loaded with all of toxins that it’s “pulled”, so why ingest them?

The holistic health alternative natural mouthwash that boosts oral hygiene

When compared against chlorhexidine mouthwash in clinical research, in most instances, Pulling with Coconut Oil was just as effective. So from a holistic health lifestyle point of view, it’s a great wholly natural alternative.


NCBI website: Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/

The Health Website; Oil pulling – should you try it? – http://health.india.com/oral-health/health-benefits-of-oil-pulling-d114/

WebMD website: Low-Carb Diets Can Cause Bad Breath – http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/low-carb-diets-can-cause-bad-breath

Authority Nutrition website: Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil to Transform Your Dental Health – http://authoritynutrition.com/oil-pulling-coconut-oil/

Coconut Research Center – Oil Pulling for a Brighter Smile and Better Health – http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article%20oil%20pulling.htm

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Source: Healthy Holistic Healing