Have you heard of Coconut Oil Pulling?

What is coconut oil pulling?

A poll on Instagram (@offthemat_withemma) suggested that 60% of the audience have heard of coconut oil pulling but 40% had not. Here are the facts and you can see if oil pulling is for you and your overall health.

Where is coconut oil pulling from?

Oil pulling originates from Ayurvedic medicine which is one of the oldest holistic and natural healing systems of ancient Indian tradition. Ayurvedic medicine has been studied to not only prevent cancer, but also to treat cancer. (1) The mouth has been found to inhabit billions of microorganisms. Some microorganisms studied, uncovered a relationship of the development or progression of diseases within the human body. (2)

How does coconut oil pulling work?

In oil pulling, for adults a full tablespoon of coconut oil is swirled around the mouth. Preferably best conducted early in the morning on an empty stomach and for approximately 15-20mins. In children >5 years old a teaspoon is an adequate amount to reduce choking risks. The oil is then pulled in the mouth by swirling it around and in between teeth, causing the oil to turn from a clear thick consistency to a white thinner milk like consistency, when done correctly. (2) Any remanence of remaining oil should not be swallowed, to avoid digestion of pulled toxins and bacteria. The randomised studies that have been conducted are observed to have multiple health benefits. Including improved oral hygiene, reducing plaque and gingivitis. One study found that oil pulling is as effective as using chlorhexidine mouthwash. (3) However, It can be concluded that oil pulling when performed as recommended, can be a natural, safe, inexpensive adjunct to maintain good oral hygiene. Though coconut oil pulling does not replace current western dental regimes as more clinical trials need to be conducted. This encompass the continuation of teeth brushing and flossing twice daily.

What celebrities swear by coconut oil pulling?

Reading on in articles like, you have celebrities like Emma Stone, Mirada Kerr, Gwyneth Paltrow and more depend on coconut oil pulling like an electric blanket in winter. 

Fact or fad?

In most studies all conclusions point to further research to be done. So why not try a new, natural and chemical free way to potentially improve your oral and overall health. 


  1. Aggarwal, B.B., Ichikawa, H., Garodia, P., Weerasinghe, P., Sethi, G., Bhatt, I.D., Pandey, M.K., Shishodia, S. and Nair, M.G., 2006. From traditional Ayurvedic medicine to modern medicine: identification of therapeutic targets for suppression of inflammation and cancer. Expert opinion on therapeutic targets, 10(1), pp.87-118.
  2. Shanbhag, V.K.L., 2017. Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene–A review. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 7(1), pp.106-109.
  3. Peedikayil, F. C., Remy, V., John, S., Chandru, T. P., Sreenivasan, P., & Bijapur, G. A. (2016). Comparison of antibacterial efficacy of coconut oil and chlorhexidine on Streptococcus mutans: An in vivo study. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, 6(5), 447–452. doi:10.4103/2231-0762.192934

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