General Dentistry |6 min read

Is Coconut Oil Pulling Safe for Your Teeth?

Facts and myths of coconut oil pulling

Are you looking for a natural way to improve your oral health and overall well-being?

Have you heard about the ancient practice of oil pulling and its potential benefits?

If so, you may be interested in learning more about the practice of coconut oil pulling.

Coconut oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth for several minutes daily.

This practice is believed to have a range of health benefits, including the following:

  • improved oral health
  • boosted immunity
  • reduced inflammation

This article will explore the science behind coconut oil pulling and its potential benefits for oral health and overall well-being.

Whether you are new to the practice or an experienced oil puller, this article will provide valuable insights into this ancient practice and its potential health benefits.

Facts and myths of coconut oil pulling.

While it may seem like the latest trend, oil pulling has existed for more than 3,000 years.

It was used in ancient Indian medicine for essentially everything.

Oil pulling was believed to treat numerous diseases and illnesses, freshen your mouth, and more.

But that doesn’t necessarily qualify oil pulling as safe, especially for your teeth.

Luckily, you’ll learn all the facts and uncover myths about oil pulling in this blog.

What is coconut oil pulling?

Oil pulling involves swishing around oil in your mouth, similar to mouthwash. The primary objective is to remove harmful bacteria from your teeth that cause plaque.

For oil choice, many people choose coconut oil due to its favorable taste and additional benefits.

Unlike other oils, coconut oil is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse. It also contains lauric acid, effectively killing bacteria related to tooth decay.

How to coconut oil pull:

  • Put one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth.
  • Sit upright and swish coconut oil around for 15-20 minutes.
  • Spit out coconut oil in the trash – not down the sink, or it may harden and clog.

So far, so good! But the danger of coconut oil pulling happens when you’re not educated on the myths vs. the facts.

Myths about coconut oil pulling.

First off:

You should note that everything you’ve read about oil pulling is either a myth or based on short-term studies…Click to read more in a new tab….

There have yet to be any long-term studies on the benefits of oil pulling. We advise you to always consult your preferred dental provider on the best oral health routine.

Now, the bad news first …

1. Coconut oil pulling does NOT whiten your teeth.

As much as we love a shiny, white smile, no studies prove this claim.

This myth is likely based on people believing their teeth are whiter after oil-pulling removed stains from bacteria. If you want to whiten your teeth, consult your dentist on your best teeth whitening options.

2. It’s not medicine.

In ancient times it was believed oil pulling could cure 30 conditions. And now, some oil-pulling fans claim it can improve diabetes, migraines, arthritis, and more.

Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to prove this.

3. It’s rated PG-13.

We mean coconut oil pulling is NOT safe for babies and children. If choked on or swallowed, the oil fat can make its way into your lungs and, in rare cases, cause lipoid pneumonia…Click to read more in a new tab….

4. You still have to floss and brush!

There’s simply no alternative for brushing and flossing your teeth.

But coconut oil pulling does offer some benefits (more to come).

So instead, think of coconut oil pulling as an added piece to your oral health routine, NOT a replacement.

A cracked open coconut with a jar of oil behind it

Facts about coconut oil pulling.

Now, the good news …

Coconut oil pulling hasn’t been around 3,000 years for no reason. Here are the beneficial facts about coconut oil pulling:

1. Coconut oil pulling can remove harmful bacteria.

When coconut oil is swished around your mouth, it adheres to harmful bacteria and removes them from your tooth. These harmful bacteria can often lead to cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and worse.

Coconut oil pulling also leaves behind good bacteria, ensuring optimal oral health.

One study…Click to read more in a new tab… found that coconut oil pulling could be a safe and effective alternative to Chlorhexidine, the main ingredient in mouthwash.

2. Coconut oil pulling can help prevent gum disease.

Likewise, gingivitis-causing bacteria can be removed with coconut oil pulling. This bacteria can turn into plaque, leading to gingivitis and other diseases.

Coconut oil also serves as an anti-inflammatory, one of the main symptoms of gingivitis. A study…Click to read more in a new tab… on oil pulling related to oral hygiene, published in 2016, details the possibilities.


Coconut oil pulling, flossing, and brushing alone won’t protect you.

You still need to visit your dentist regularly for a cleaning and checkup.

Gingivitis is serious and can become periodontal disease, the leading cause of adult tooth loss. If you notice symptoms of gingivitis, notify your dentist right away.

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3. Coconut oil pulling can eliminate bad breath.

Properly known as halitosis, bad breath is caused by the smell of chemicals and gases produced by bacteria in your mouth.

As mentioned above, coconut oil pulling can remove bacteria from your mouth, reducing your chance of bad breath.

A study…Click to read more in a new tab… on the effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms, published in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice in 2017, covers the impact of oil pulling on this issue.

Think again if you’ve been trying to mask your bad breath with mouthwash.

Mouthwash kills all good and bad bacteria and dries out your mouth. Whereas coconut oil removes harmful bacteria, keeps good bacteria, and supports your saliva in keeping your mouth fresh.

So, is coconut oil pulling safe for your teeth?

Now, you can separate myths from facts.

Based on the website, ask the dentist…Click to open website in a new tab…, the latest research on coconut oil pulling can be a safe addition to your oral hygiene routine.

Like flossing and brushing are not the same thing but work toward the same goal, coconut oil pulling has unique benefits that can help you achieve optimal oral health.

In conjunction with flossing, brushing, and regular professional cleanings and checkups with your dentist, coconut oil pulling can help benefit your overall and oral health.

A review article…Click to read more in a new tab…, on the effect of oil pulling with coconut oil, published in August 2020, found that the effectiveness of oil pulling with coconut oil could potentially have huge benefits.

To find out if coconut oil pulling will benefit you, visit your preferred dental provider today.

Dr. Greg Pyle has the experience, knowledge, and skills to keep your smile beautiful and healthy. His one-on-one, patient-focused approach allows him to recommend the best treatment for you.

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Our dental office, University Avenue Dental, is in Muncie, IN… This text opens a new tab to the Google Maps website…, and serves the surrounding communities of Anderson, Yorktown, Selma, Middletown Park, and New Castle.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on April 1, 2019, and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness. The content on this blog is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions about medical conditions.

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