WTF is Oil Pulling: The Follow Up + Tips & Tricks

03.13.14

wtf is oil pulling fashionlush

…& we’re back talking about good ole’ Oil Pulling (a.k.a. my new fave pastime)!!!

If you haven’t read the “WTF on Oil Pulling + Why I’m Hooked” post, be sure to check it out for all the how-to Oil Pull deets. As for today, we will be doing a lil’ Oil Pulling follow up. You guys ready??

This is going to be a long one, but I do suggest you read it all cause there are some great tips, tricks, modifications, & mucho more!!

Oh & P.S. I am totally okay with skeptics, but if you are a skeptic w/ a bad attitude– please take your not-so-kind comments elsewhere. I am not claiming to be a medical professional in any sense of the word. I am just a girl who did research on something she found interesting, tried it, got some stellar benefits, & wanted to share w/ the rest of the world!! Fashionlush is a place for positive energy & good vibes only ;). Thanks a milli.

Fashionlush Oil Pulling & Essential Oils

++ Essential Oils & Oil Pulling ++

Ever since I started OP-ing, I have been reading that people often include essential oils into the equation for extra oral health benefits- & I wanted in (obviously!!).

First, let’s talk the “how-to”::  You want to be 100% positive that you are using food grade or therapeutic grade oils. Most essential oils are meant to be used externally & many CAN be toxic if ingested (i.e. tea tree oil). So, be sure to check & then check again, & if you need to- e-mail the company and ask. Also, essential oils are very very very concentrated so you only need to add in 3-4 drops tops. You do not & should not add in essential oils every single time you pull, but instead 1 week out of the month or 2x a week.

Now, just a few essential oils that may prove beneficial to you & your oral health::

+ Myrrh Oil: great addition to OP-ing as it is said to help the mouth, teeth, and gums. Also beneficial for cold, flu, & tonsillitis. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, & antiseptic properties.

+ Lemon Oil: Lemon oil is cleansing & detoxifying. Great for colds & sore throats. It has anti-septic properties.

+ Oil of Oregano: Oil Oregano is helpful with the flu, cold, viruses, a sore throat, swollen glands, cold sores, & herpes. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antibiotic, & anti-viral properties.

+ Peppermint Oil: If you have a sensitive gag reflex & have a hard time Oil Pulling, it has been said that peppermint oil can help. It also will further help with sinus issues & will leave your breath minty fresh.

+ Clove Oil: Beneficial for the mouth & gums, especially if you have a toothache! It has analgesic, anti-biotic, and antiseptic properties.

Oh, & if you want to know the coconut oil I personally use- you can find it HERE.

Fashionlush WTF is Oil Pulling

++ What About Brushin’??? ++

Some people replace brushing with Oil Pulling altogether, but I am not one of those people. Sorry, not sorry.

That said, my brushing technique after starting to Oil Pull HAS changed. Instead of the teal gel Colgate I have used for the past 20+ years (or since I stopped using the strawberry flavored stuff), I have switched to something more au naturale.

Here is what I found out about the toothpaste I USED to use::

+ First off, it’s got fluoride in it. They say that fluoride helps to prevent cavities- BUT word on the street is, it doesn’t do a good job at it. Plus, fluoride can be toxic if consumed in large quantities (so why is it in our water? Beats me!). Oh, & if you get acne breakouts aroundyour mouth- chances are it’s your fluoride filled toothpaste. Fun times.

+ Oh, & it’s full of Titanium Dioxide- the same nasty stuff that made me switch to more natural deodorant (but we can get to that at a later date). Rumor has it Titanium Dioxide has been said to carcinogenic i.e. cancer causing, & the tiny particles of the stuff can easily be absorbed through the mouth into your cells. Over it.

+ & then there is Glycerin. Glycerin is in just about every toothpaste ever made, even the natural ones, so I guess we are going to kind of have to deal with it (unless you make your own toothpaste). It is said to leave a coating on the teeth that prevents them from remineralizing. Ick.

+ Mustn’t forget Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, you know- the stuff that makes your toothpaste get all foamy? Well is is also a chemical surfactant that can cause teeny tiny tears in your mouth which could eventually turn into some pretty painful canker sores. Count me out.

+ Lastly, artificial sweeteners. Yes, in your toothpaste. Umm… I avoid that stuff at all costs, so I am sorry, but I don’t want it in my toothpaste either.

Here are some pretty good natural toothpaste brands::

1. J/A/S/O/N Powersmile Toothpaste (my personal pick, in cinnamon).

2. Dr. Ken’s Whitening Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

3. Tea Tree Therapy Toothpaste w/ Baking Soda

4. Weleda Salt Toothpaste

Fashionlush WTF is Oil Pulling

++ A Mini-Interview w/ My Oil Pulling Posse ++

1. Why did you initially start Oil Pulling? ::

▹▹ “I started oil pulling because Erica told me it was F-ing amaze. Naturally, I’m obsessed. I can’t even deal with how insane it is. Erica was totally inspiring when it came to pulling the trigger on oil pulling. She’s raved about it!! I have nothing but good things to say about OP-ing.” – Lauryn Evarts, Health & Lifestyle Blogger at The Skinny Confidential

▹▹ “When Erica talks, I listen… so when she raved to me about how oil pulling changed her life I had to get on board STAT!” -Katie Roof, Lifestyle Blogger at The Fashion Bite

▹▹ “Well the girls have been on me for some time about my health because I just cannot get it together. I have been trying and trying to get healthy. After reading Erica’s post, it seemed like a very quick and effortless way to start.” -Jacqueline Brown, jewelry design/owner at JNB Style

2. Do you find the process difficult? Explain. ::

▹▹ “No. Beauty is pain. Suck it up. Take 20 minutes to yourself. Clean the kitchen, read a book, do the laundry. I love it because I’m busy (AKA don’t talk to me) while I’m oil pulling. It’s very therapeutic. I actually look forward to it. Plus the after-effects are so amaze, I don’t care if it’s annoying.” -Lauryn Evarts

▹▹ “Not at all. I actually find that it’s a really relaxing way to start my day. I wake up and oil pull for 20 mins while responding to emails and checking my Insty feed ;).” -Katie Roof

▹▹ “No the process is actually very soothing. Just like Katie said– it is simple, fast, and effortless. I just get a little nervous I swallow the bacteria when swooshing!!” -Jacqueline Brown

3. What have you noticed after 2 weeks of straight Oil Pulling? ::

▹▹ “Def whiter teeth, fresher breath, a cleaner mouth, & I feel more energized. There’s nothing negative to come out of the experience. I even made my boyfriend do it & he’s hooked now too!!” -Lauryn Evarts

▹▹ “Right off the bat I noticed whiter teeth (score!) Over time I am noticing a cleaner feeling mouth, clearer skin, healthier hair, and a significant decrease in my anxiety levels (which BTW are typically off the charts)!” –Katie Roof

▹▹ “I initially felt more clear headed I suppose. My teeth were definitely more white & I’ve seen improvements in my skin and hair.” -Jacqueline Brown  

4. Will you continue to OP? 

▹▹ “Yes. Anything that keeps me calm, I like. This keeps me from babbling & allows me for some time to myself. I also love the benefits. I may or may not have told my whole entire family tree about oil pulling. Ya. It’s that amazing! Check out more of my personal experience here.” -Lauryn Evarts

▹▹ “Absolutely! Oil pulling is seriously one of the best (and easiest) things I have ever done for my overall health.” -Katie Roof

▹▹ “I think I need to do this for a couple months straight to get a better grasp on the exact results. I researched after Erica’s post and found that “oil pulling” has been known to help with headaches and hormonal imbalance as well. I get bad headaches so plan to implement in my routine for the next few months. I usually do it while in the shower or I take the 20 minutes as an opportunity to meditate.” -Jacqueline Brown

++ FAQ ++

Q1: I hate the taste of anything coconut/ I am allergic to coconut. Anything else I can use??:: Absolutely! You can use other vegetable based oils such as cold pressed organic sesame oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil.

Q2: I see that you originally pictured refined coconut oil,  but lots of people are saying you should ONLY use unrefined coconut oil??:: Here’s the deal with this one… unrefined coconut oil is better, but all I had on hand at the time was refined. The main thing that helps with the oil pulling is the Lauric Acid in the coconut oil- the refining process could remove some Lauric Acid & add in chemicals/solvents. Yet, by the time the process is complete, there will still be around 50% Lauric Acid and little to none chemicals or solvents left over- so you will still get the benefits. People will have varying opinions on this, but that’s what I’ve found out about using refined coconut oil.

Q3: 20 minutes?! There’s no way I can put oil in my mouth for a full twenty minutes!!:: My first bit of advice– try it! I was a little frightened by the number at first too, but once you get going the time flies. I personally find the process to be relaxing. If at any time your mouth is too full of oil, spit out a little & keep on truckin’.

Q4: Do I NEED to buy organic coconut oil?:: Yes yes yes!! The benefits will be greater with organic oils.

Q5: I gag over weird textures- can I melt it first before I swish?:: Sure!! Many people say no no no to nuking in the microwave cause of radiation, yet if it’s just 10 seconds (which is all you really need) I wouldn’t freak out about it. That said, the better option would be to run the jar under hot water & then pour the liquid into a bowl for swishing. Side note: peppermint essential oil could help with gagging.

Q6: Can kids Oil Pull?:: If they are above the age of five they can pull with a teaspoon of oil, but they should be monitored so they do not swallow.

Q7: Can you Oil Pull if pregnant? Breast feeding?:: Their are conflicting opinions on this- but many people say that it should not be an issue. If you are pregnant they say to wait until you are past the 1st trimester. Again, I am not a medical professional so I suggest doing some of your own research so that you can come to a conclusion you are comfortable with.

Q8: Can you oil pull with crowns/ fillings/ braces?:: Again, I am not a medical professional & do not feel comfortable giving such advice as the opinions on this are also conflicting. Some people say they have never had an issue, while others say it loosened their crowns. In regards to braces- the only negative I have heard is that it whitens around the brackets, which can look… awkward when they come off. I suggest doing your own research to come to a conclusion you are comfortable with.

Q9: What about dentures &  bridges:: Take them out prior to pulling.

Q10: What’s the best time of day to pull?:: Morning time on an empty tummy will be most beneficial. After you pull, rinse your mouth & drink a big glass of water- than continue on like normal.

Q11: My jaw/tongue is too tired- what should I do?:: Chances are you are pulling to vigorously. Your jaw & tongue should not get tired, go a little easier.

& if you STILL have any questions– this site is a great resource for all of the most commonly asked questions. Ch-ch-check it.

++ Need a Little Science?? K! ++

Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva

Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis

+ Efficacy of Oil Pulling on Oral Health Status

Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models

+ Effect of Oil Pulling on Halitosis and Microorganisms Causing Halitosis

+ Mechanism of Oil-Pulling Therapy- In Vitro Study

++ Some Recommended Reading/ Watching ++

+ Tooth Brushing, Oil Pulling and Tissue Regeneration: A Review of Holistic Approaches to Oral Health Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine

+ Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D.

+ YouTube Video: Bruce Fife on the Benefits of Coconut Oil

++ Lastly, A Few Testimonials From My Readers!! ++

Thanks for sharing guys!! Every comment you leave about how OP-ing has helped you puts a big ole’ smile on my face. Cheers to Oil Pulling & all of it’s awesome benefits.

++ “I’ve struggled with psoriasis for over a year and nothing I’ve tried has helped, after oil pulling for only 3 days my psoriasis disappeared. It’s been almost a month and I haven’t had any symptoms. Not only that, now my hair, skin and teeth even seem to be healthier! 20 minutes of swishing a day is well worth the benefits! I won’t be stopping anytime soon – if ever!” -Brooke Simpson 

++ “The first day I could only do 10 minutes but am now used to the 20 minutes and do it while feeding dogs and brewing coffee (which used to be the first thing I put in my mouth in the morning). So, first day I had a headache (this is quite typical for me – sinus issues, etc. but this particular morning was aided by the wine the night before)… I was still out of it when I started but about 3 minutes into it I was like “WHAT?” … my headache was significantly better! I am much more aware of how I’m feeling when I start just so I have a basis for comparison AND I’m very intrigued by other possible benefits. I have jaw problems and other “age” related issues. I have noticed that it seems to increase my congestion and phlegm but once I spit it out and am able to further clear out my sinus’ and throat… the rest of the day is much better (wondering if a nightly routine could help with that as well but will wait to try that). Now, one thing I want to mention for me is I’ve noticed what I hope is a benefit and will continue to improve …. the dark circles under my eyes seems to be MUCH better … not gone, but better! It’s only 4 days so I’ll keep you posted.” -Connie

++ “I pulled twice and two days later notice my jaw problem diminished. I also had a pain in my neck, now nearly gone. I had organic coconut oil on hand and just took a teaspoon of the solid in my mouth and YES the 20 minutes do fly by.” -Wendy Dexter

++ “Started it 2 days ago , and noticed my sinus was cleared up :)” -Douglas Slauenwhite

++ “Ok I tried it twice so far, both times I used about 1/2 a table spoon of Coconut oil for 15 minutes (too hard to do the 20), the first time I noticed my teeth a bit whiter, the next day (after going out the night before) I felt instant relief from my hangover! It sounds weird but it almost got rid of the entire hangover” -Jorge

WHEW!!!!! Can you tell I am just a bit COCO-NUTTY for Oil Pulling? Ha!!

I REPEAT:::::: there have been quite a few “internet-bullies” giving me a hard time for sharing this post, even referring to me as “idiotic” (so rude!). So please, let me re-iterate for the 10th time, I am not a medical professional. I am simply sharing an experience that worked for me. If you have any PRE-EXISTING conditions that you are worried may be effected by Oil Pulling, please please please contact your GP. I have heard that there CAN be adverse effects with Oil Pulling, so if anyway you are weary I suggest researching further, discussing it with your doctor, or finding an alternative way to help you with the issues you are facing.

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leave a comment

  • Could you give a brief “how-to” OP? I just feel like I’m doing it wrong ha! How long does it take to liquify in your mouth? I get a teaspoon out, insert into coconut oil jar and go to put the teaspoon in my mouth and freak EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    -Anna

    • Erica Stolman

      After swishing just a few seconds it should turn to liwuid!

  • After I saw your article on Oil Pulling, Snopes.com claimed that the whole thing is false. I’m curious what your thoughts are on this, mainly because based on your experiences it sounds like a great idea but Snopes says otherwise.

    • Erica Stolman

      You know- there are always going to be skeptics out there & they can/will claim it is false all day long. All I know is that I have seen really positive results along with thousands of other people out there who pull, there is also medical studies done that show it helps improve oral health (which are listed in this post!).

    • Cheryl

      Check out Dr. Mercola. He’s an MD, that is a widely known leader in the field of natural medicine. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/08/coconut-oil-combats-tooth-decay.aspx

      • Erica Stolman

        Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Im so glad i found your blog!
    I started this from the day you posted about Oil Pulling and i can tell the difference in my teeth!
    Love love love! Cant wait for your future posts <3

    • Erica Stolman

      thanks!!

  • Ann

    Love your blog and LOVE the OP post (and follow-up). A buddy of mine shared this with me today:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18408265/

    As for me, I knew when I read your original post that there was absolutely no harm in trying it. Ayurvedic medicine has been around for centuries. I like ancient health remedies.

    Thank you again! OP has changed my life!

    • Erica Stolman

      Good to hear :) Thanks for the kind words! xo

  • courtney

    I have only OPed 3 times and absolutely LOVE IT! just went to the dentist and he said my teeth are perfect so I’m mostly wanting to OP for other benefits but hey I do love a pretty smile! I was wondering other uses for coconut oil, like grown my eyelashes?? If anyone has any other tricks please share!
    *Obsessed!*

    • Erica Stolman

      I do rub it on my eyelashes sometimes :)

  • hailey

    Just discovered your blog and I absolutely love it! Great article, the science articles are much appreciated. Question though -what brand of essential oils are featured in your photos? They look different than the links provided…just trying to find the best oils out there since there are sooo many to choose from!

    • Erica Stolman

      The brand of the ones posted are Uncle Harry!

  • Rachel

    I have been OP-ing for a little over 3 weeks now. Whiter teeth, no film on my teeth at the end of the day, I’M HOOKED!! I do have a question though. I am currently using an organic extra virgin olive oil from a health/vitamin store. Does it matter that its extra virgin?

    • Erica Stolman

      Extra virgin is great! I am glad it’s been working for you :)

  • can you do two sessions of oil pulling like if you only start at 10 can you spit then do a second set of 10 mins?

    • Erica Stolman

      If they are consecutive- yes!

  • Mimi

    Hi there, just wanted to add my 2 cents as a dental hygiene student. The information you have about fluoride is a bit off the mark. Absolutely correct that fluoride is toxic in large quantities, but you are likely never to reach that high level. The 50kgq(110lbs) person would have to ingest a liter (4 cups) of the fluoride gel dispensed clinically (which is very highly concentrated) for toxicity to occur. Though wallowing all the gel in a fluoride tray might be enough for some people to get temporary stomach pain. Fluoride is also naturally occurring, in well water in my area it can even reach 11mg/L while the city adds only up to .8mg/L. The science for the protective benefits of fluoride are very sound, the reasons why it might not be effective though is that most people/clinicians do not properly use the product. Fluoride should be applied for 4 minute to get >95% absorption to the tooth, yet it is often only done for a 1 so only 70% gets in and for it to reach deeper and be more protective no drinking/rinsing for 30min even for toothpaste at home. Which honestly I can’t imagine anyone not rinsing after brushing so yes, people are not getting as much benefits from fluoride as they could. Keep in mind that this reason is also why it is added to water, since then low levels of fluoride are washing over your teeth and demineralizing whenever you drink. A lot of people are concerned about fluorosis as well, usually caused by kids swallowing toothpaste when unsupervised and it causes teeth with a mottled appearance (but also very acids resistant) which is costly to repair.

    TLDR fluoride does not necessarily = toxic as long as not ingested in copious (almost impossible amounts), and effective as long as used properly.

    Now to the other part about toothpaste, we are actually being taught the most important part of brushing is the mechanical removal of bacteria (plaque), so the action of the tooth brush and the tooth paste has no role in this. In fact my instructor himself has said he doesn’t use toothpaste since he doesn’t want the abrasives (which polish the teeth and prevents stains) and he gets his fluoride from tablets. He’s a dentist and he just brushes with water, other suggestions are mouthwash (for antibacterial and taste) and baking soda occasionally (not everyday b/c its abrasive) or diluted bleach (1: 10 water, he used this when he was in the volunteering abroad apparently: antibacterial). So in your case if you want to go the natural route you could forgo all toothpaste, which I think is great since the natural ones are quite pricey (for me anyway) and you can get away from SLS which is even in the natural ones. Beyond fluoride toothpastes really only offer abrasives to polish the tooth (makes it harder for plaque to adhere), surfactants (smoother feeling while brushing) and taste. These are things that I think you could either replace naturally (and cheaply) or do without. Since toothpaste has no antibacterial effects and according to the articles you posted oil pulling is helping with that.

    TLDR: Toothpaste is not necessary! (Imagine that coming from the dental profession) You can even go without the natural ones, the act of brushing itself is more important (manual should be 4min total a day, 2min if using an electric toothbrush).

    End of dental hygiene lecture!

    I’ve tried oil pulling for a week now, and I’m definitely loving it. Not too sure about all the supposed benefits (its early though), but I do feel it helps with bad breath and its actually really relaxing and satisfying one you spit. I don’t see any harm coming from it and have no problem keeping this up since it does just feel good. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mimi

      Oops that should say that fluoride is remineralising! Sorry big mistake, total opposite is happening fluoride is replacing the calcium in the tooth that was taken away by acids and it becomes stronger when remineralized not demineralizaing. Damn autocorrect..

    • Ted

      Thank you for the interesting outlook Mimi! Some food for thought!

  • Bertist

    can liquid coconut oil be used for oil pulling

    • Erica Stolman

      I haven’t heard of liquid coconut oil, but if it is organic & unrefined it should be okay!

  • I agree with your opinion, I am going try. As I search the internet, I am looking high quality websites that have useful information.

  • Thanks for a detailed post. I’m going to try this to see for myself.

    • Erica Stolman

      You’re welcome! Let me know how it works for you <3 xo

  • after I saw your article started using this oil in my teeth, they were beautiful, thanks for you share!

  • I only use SLS free toothpaste too! The results I have had since changing is truly remarkable.