30-days of oil pulling resulted in a thumbs up from my dentist, and I loved the experience. Here are the results of my 30-day oil pulling experiment, plus tips and techniques for how to oil pull.
Oil Pulling Experiment:
What did I love?
The number one reason I loved the oil pulling experiment is because my mouth feels dentist-clean (and my dentist confirmed that my teeth are in fact cleaner and my gums look healthier).
I also love that I have another tool in my tool belt to help curb cravings! There is a saying that people research and write about the very topic they need most—and that’s true for me. So I always appreciate adding new tools to support me in remaining in harmony with my human vehicle. Oil pulling has certainly made it to my list of go-to tools!
After 30 days of oil pulling, I am a big fan!
Before this experiment, I had never noticed that my mouth didn’t feel full of vibrant happy energy—I had never really put any thought into it that I can recall. But now, my smile goes beyond my teeth, I literally feel like every cell in my mouth is smiling with me. It’s more fantastic than I expected!
Looking for more fast techniques for boosting energy in a body-loving way? Check out the New Moon and Full Moon Vitality tips I post here each month.
Oil Pulling Experiment: Details
Read on for techniques and tips for oil pulling and about the dental health benefits. Plus, if you are wondering what oil pulling is really like, you can read about my 30-day oil pulling experiment.
How to Oil Pull (tips and techniques)
- Start with quality coconut oil (if you are wondering why coconut oil, check out What is oil pulling and does it work )
- Take a spoonful of coconut oil (the size can range from teaspoon to tablespoon, see ‘Day 1’ below for more details)
- Let the oil sit in your mouth until it reaches the right consistency and then begin swishing (see ‘Day 2’ below for more details)
- Swish for 15 minutes
- Spit it out into a paper towel and throw away in a trashcan (see ‘Day 15’ below for why a trashcan instead of the sink)
- Wash hands thoroughly
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Before we dive any further into the ‘how’ of oil pulling, I thought I’d share a ‘why’ that may pique your interest.
Oil pulling is a time-honored technique that claims many benefits. The most concrete benefit I experienced during this experiment was the improvement in my dental health (less plaque and pinker gums). I looked for peer-reviewed medical studies of oil-pulling experiments, but I did not find any. I DID find many wonderful reviews of the benefits of oil pulling ranging from stories about help with bad breath to stories about overall health improvements. Sometimes the wisdom of previous generations is not officially tested, it is handed down for individuals to experiment for themselves to see how we each individually respond.
I get my teeth cleaned every 4 months because they build up plaque faster than the typical 6-month visit (hope that’s not more information about me than you wanted to know!). Yes, I floss daily. Yes, I brush 2-3 times a day. I even did my ‘2-desserts-a-month’ year-long experiment in 2012, but still, I build plaque.
Guess what. I had a dentist appointment at the end of this experiment and my teeth had noticeably less plaque. And my gums, which were already healthy, are now even pinker. Awesome!!!!!!
As if the dental health benefit was not enough, it is also a tool for quieting food cravings! (see day 12 for more details).
Q&A about Oil Pulling
Does it make you queasy?
See Day 1
Best way to swish?
See Day 2
See Day 3
What to do while you are swishing
See Day 4
When did your teeth start to feel dentist-clean?
See Day 5
What to do if you forgot, and then remember later in the day
See Day 7
Oil Pulling and focusing?
See Day 14
Where to spit?
See Day 15
What if I have to travel?
See Day 25
Does it get boring?
See Day 31
What is it like to oil pull?
Here’s a view into my experience with the hopes that it gives you some idea of what to expect. Plus, you can learn from my experience and the distinctions I made along the way.
Oil Pulling Day 1: Key Learning, a teaspoon was easier than a tablespoon
Oil pulling on day 1 was a mixed bag for me. I had already read about the benefits of oil pulling, so I was excited to try it. I find it helps motivate me to follow through on the experiments if I am clear about why I am doing them. Removing germs and pulling toxins out of my mouth seemed like a very worth-while experiment.
It was a good thing I had a clear “why” because as soon as I put the tablespoonful of coconut oil in my mouth, I felt queasy. I decided that as a newbie puller, a tablespoon was too much. So I did a do-over and used a teaspoon. Much better. It wasn’t as awesome as day 2, but it was do-able.
Those with oil pulling experience say we should swish for 15 minutes. On day 1, I could only make it to 11 minutes and then my mouth was tired. After I spit out the oil, my whole mouth felt awesome and I was totally psyched to do it again.
Oil Pulling Day 2: Key Learning, let it sit in your mouth before swishing
Day 2, I had my teaspoon of coconut oil and I didn’t feel queasy. But, for those of you familiar with coconut oil, you’ll know that at room temperature, it is slightly solid. For me, the mouth-feel was not my favorite. So what I decided to do was let the coconut oil sit in my mouth for a couple of minutes and get into a liquid form before I started swishing. That worked great. Once the oil was body temperature, I began my 15 minutes. Day 2, I got to 15 minutes with no problem. (how? In addition to figuring out my technique, I also did other things while I was swishing—like start writing the what is oil pulling article)
Oil Pulling Day 3: Key Learning, oh toxins- I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting you
Day 3, I could feel the toxins start to release. I am not sure why I hadn’t expected it. One of the benefits of oil pulling is said to be that it pulls toxins out of your mouth.
Everyone’s body is different. And we all have different levels of toxicity and different responses to the toxins releasing. For me, on day 3 I had a mild headache. The release process shows up differently in different people.
In general, the feelings of toxins releasing can last anywhere from 1 day – 1 week depending on how much is releasing. If it feels appropriate to you, then just ride it out and focus on the fact that it is better to have those toxins out of your body than inside of you. But, if you experience something very out of the ordinary or if you are concerned, consult your health care provider.
Oil Pulling Day 4: Key Learning, what to do with your time while you are swishing
I look forward to my oil pulling now! I’ve got the technique down and with a few days of pulling under my belt, I now have that reinforcement that my mouth feels great when I am finished with swishing.
I was thinking about it this morning and realized the other thing I really like about the oil pulling is that I can do other things while I swish. Some days I do the dishes or laundry, some days I write while I am swishing. Obviously you cannot talk or eat, but other than that, there are many things you can do.
Oil Pulling Day 5: My teeth feel dentist-clean
Today after I finished oil pulling, I was running my tongue over my teeth, and they feel dentist-clean.
You know that feeling the day after you’ve been to the dentist and your teeth feel super clean? I am not sure if that’s a universal feeling or not. I happen to love that clean-teeth feeling. Unfortunately for me, I build plaque between visits- so I go to the dentist and/or dental hygienist every 4 months rather than every 6 months. (And yes, I floss every day. I am not sure why, I have just always had more plaque than others). I have an appointment scheduled for the end of this experiment – it will be interesting to see if she has noticed any changes since my last visit. I will let you know—that would be an interesting measure of the impact of oil pulling on dental wellness for this N of 1 experiment.
Oil Pulling Day 6: I may be ready to up it to a tablespoon
I am wondering if I am ready to bump up to a tablespoon of coconut oil. By the end of my swishing today, I started to wonder if more coconut oil would be able to pull out more mouth germs. And while in the beginning a teaspoon was all I could handle, I may be ready for the tablespoon now. I’ll try it tomorrow and let you know how that goes. (skip to day 9 to see results, I got off track on day 7 as you can read)
Oil Pulling Day 7: I ate before oil pulling- not a good idea, but glad I kept up with the routine
It’s amazing how even though I thought I had created an oil-pulling habit, I completely forgot to oil pull until after I had already started breakfast.
What to do? Well, I decided to put breakfast aside, swish my mouth out with water, have a sip of water, and do the oil pulling. I am glad I did that because it reinforced the new habit I am trying to create. Although I have to say, it is a much more enjoyable experience when you have not just eaten a few bites of food. I had a milder version of that queasy feeling I had on day 1, and it seemed like it took longer for the oil to have the right consistency to swish. The good news? I am hopeful this will serve as a reminder for tomorrow and will push me forward on the path to creating a habit since I have 23 more days of oil pulling in this experiment.
Oil Pulling Day 8: Back on track, yesterday’s late-pull was better than no pull
As it turns out, the laws of motion also seem to apply to building an oil-pulling habit. By “staying in motion” yesterday with my better-late-than-never oil pull, I am back on track today!
Tomorrow, it’s time to experiment with a larger spoonful.
Oil Pulling Day 9: the tablespoon worked!
Today I graduated to a tablespoon — I didn’t use a heaping tablespoon though! It took about 4 or 5 minutes for the coconut oil to be a comfortable mouth feel and consistency for me before I could start actively swishing (see day 2 for more about my oil pulling technique and why I let the oil sit in my mouth before I start swishing).
As I was waiting to be swish-ready, I was wondering if it was necessary to add the additional coconut oil to up it to a tablespoon. The way my mouth felt at the end, I’d say upping it was worth it.
The down-side was that after only 2 minutes, my mouth started getting tired (like it did on the first day), but I kept swishing for 10 mins total. Tomorrow, I’ll go for the full 15!
Oil Pulling Day 10: the tablespoon is working well
With only 2 days practice, I am in the groove of using a tablespoon of coconut oil and I think this is the right amount for me. Tomorrow I’ll test it with a teaspoon again, and I’ll let you know how it goes.
Oil Pulling Day 11: the teaspoon experiment
Today, I tried oil pulling with a teaspoon of coconut oil (rather than a tablespoon), and now I am sure that working up to a tablespoon was the right amount for me.
Yesterday I felt like every part of my mouth was clean after the oil pulling. Today, I still was glad I had done it, but it wasn’t quite the same level of awesome.
Oil Pulling Day 12: another tool in my tool belt to combat afternoon cravings
Today I tried something new. The morning was rushed, so there was no time for oil pulling. But I knew ahead of time, so I put a reminder on my calendar for the afternoon to do it a couple of hours after lunch (I figured by then, my lunch would be mostly digested). And guess what, Oil Pulling is another tool in my toolbelt to combat afternoon cravings. Bonus!
Oil Pulling day 13: I wouldn’t recommend oil pulling on a full stomach
I thought I’d test out what it was like to oil pull after eating, rather than on an empty stomach. As you may recall, I oil pulled on day 7 after eating 4 bites of my breakfast. That wasn’t soooo bad. Today– queasy would be the best way I can describe this experience. I would not recommend oil pulling on a full stomach.
Oil Pulling day 14: oil pulling and focus
Today I realized oil pulling is a great tool for focusing. If it resonates with you- enjoy the tip… Sometimes, I can lose my work-rhythm if someone stops by my desk to ask me a quick question. And sometimes the reverse is true—I strike up a conversation in what seems to be a mini-procrastination tactic that I occasionally find myself doing.
Oil pulling works for me as a solution to both. Now that I am 14 days into the oil pulling experiment, I can very easily oil pull while I do other things—including work. When I am oil pulling, I cannot talk, which means I sit behind my computer and get focused. It’s terrific. (one caution, this may not work depending on the company culture where you work! And if you are in an office, be sure to be mindful about where and how you spit when you are finished).
Oil Pulling day 15: where to spit
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my cousin- who studied at the Culinary Institute of America, said it was not a good idea to spit the coconut oil in the sink. He recommended spitting it into a paper towel and throwing it away in the trashcan.
Based on his recommendation, today I experimented with spitting the oil in the trashcan. It was a little grosser for me than just spitting it into the sink, but I can see my cousin’s point, so I am going to incorporate this into the new routine.
Tip: Be sure to wash your hands after you spit into the paper towel. In theory, we are pulling the toxins out of our mouths, which means that swished oil we are spitting out is pretty gross.
Oil Pulling day 16- 24: getting into the routine
Oil pulling has become a flowing part of my morning routine. It’s really nice to have a quiet 15 minutes swishing every day. So far, I am really enjoying this experiment.
Oil Pulling day 25: travel while oil pulling
It’s day 25 and we are traveling. Can you oil pull while traveling? In theory yes, but I chose not to. You can pack your oil in a travel-safe 3 ounce container. But that seemed over-the-top for this experiment, so I’ll just extend the experiment by a couple of days.
Oil Pulling day 28: Dear oil pulling, I miss you.
I was surprised, but I found that while we were away, I was looking forward to getting back to my oil pulling experiment. (I was not, however, looking forward to leaving the 80 degree weather to return to our cold December weather!).
Mouthwash and flossing take you far, but oil pulling takes that clean-mouth feeling to a higher level.
I did start back with a heaping teaspoon rather than a full tablespoon, and I nearly forgot to spit into a papertowel (vs straight into the sink). But all-in-all happy to be back in the routine.
Oil Pulling day 29-30: home stretch
It’s the home stretch of the oil pulling experiment and still enjoying myself
Oil Pulling day 31: getting bored
Wow, this is a surprise feeling. Today I just did not feel like oil pulling. I almost felt like it was a nuisance to find the 15-minutes. Strange? Well, I am just going to push through the feeling and oil-pull anyway
Day 32: finished, but awaiting dentist appointment
It’s day 32. Other than yesterday, I have absolutely loved this experiment. My mouth, teeth, and gums feel so clean.
Am I finished with the experiment? Well, as it turns out, I have a dentist appointment that is already scheduled for next week, so I am going to continue the experiment until I go to the dentist. I feel like my teeth are less plaquey, but I am going to wait and see how the dentist appoint goes—she’s been seeing my for years, so she’ll know if there is a noticeable difference or not.
Post-Pulling Dentist appointment
After what was closer to 40 days of oil pulling, I had my dentist appointment… if you read this entire article, then you already heard the news—less plaque and my gums look pinker than ever! With that news, I am going to continue to keep oil pulling as part of my routine. Maybe not every day, but it is certainly worth it to do it 2-3 days a week.
If you do your own experiment, we’d love to hear about it. Let us know how it goes.
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Wishes for abundant wellness today and always!!