Does Oil Pulling Actually Work? 

There has been a lot of talk recently about the supposed benefits of oil pulling, as usual it starts from a relatively ‘light on the credentials’ source and then begins to make some pretty bold statements.  In this case it was a pretty well-read fashion blog and an ‘info’-graphic that suddenly sparked the oil pulling friendzy….If you wish to base your nutritional information off of a fashinista than be our guest however if youre actually wondering about the actual benefits and possible dangers than continue reading. 

Oil Pulling With Coconut Oil 

Now Coconut Oil as a food is an incredibly healthy choice and we recommend it regularly as a source of quick energy, as well as a good source of beneficial fatty acids Lauric, Caprylic and Capric Acid. Not to mention its multitude of uses for cooking and baking. –Have You Ever Cooked Your Eggs in it? –Delish! 


Does Oil Pulling Work 

After reviewing the literature (or lack-there-of) and looking for any proof to the various claims in the infographic; here is what we were left with. 

                                The claims were as follows:

  • Whitens Teeth –No Literature but this is the most commonly reported benefit
  • Strengthens Teeth, Gums & Jaw –No literature at this time
  • Prevents Cavities & Gingivitus- There is a lot of Hype from a Research team in Ireland that mention it may help prevent tooth decay, but that study isn’t available yet.
  • Relieve Headaches & Hangovers- No Literature: This claim is likely being based off the claim that it can remove toxins ie. Alcohol from the blood. We address this below.
  • Helps You Sleep Better-Now they are just making stuff up (No literature)
  • Clears Sinuses-Nope Still no evidence
  • Detoxifies the Bod- Yes they said bod. And here is where we know this is mistaken. 

-"The exact mechanism of the action of oil pulling therapy is not clear. It was claimed that the swishing activates the enzymes and draws the toxins out of the blood. The bottom line is that oil pulling actually cannot pull toxins out of the blood as claimed because the oral mucosa does not act as a semi-permeable membrane to allow toxins to pass through." [1] 


What Oil Pulling Can Do

We found that there is evidence that demonstrates plaque inhibition and reducing S. mutans (bacteria which resides in the mouth) but it did not out perform mouth-wash. 

-"The mechanism by which oil pulling therapy causes plaque inhibition is not known. The viscosity of the oil probably inhibits bacterial adhesion and plaque co-aggregation. The other possible mechanism might be the saponification or the 'soap-making' process that occurs as a result of the alkali hydrolysis of fat" [2]


Can Oil Pulling Be Harmful 

We also stumbled onto an study titled  Recurrent lipoid pneumonia associated with oil pulling. We do not have the full text so it is hard to extrapolate the details and severity of risk but if you’re are prone to pneumonia oil pulling may not be the best for you. [3]  


Referenced Material 

Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study


Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study


3  Recurrent lipoid pneumonia associated with oil pulling.


 Plus You Look and Feel Like this for 20 Minutes!...Trust me


By Jeff Moriarty