By Cathy Logan, CHC, COT, CECP

The health of your mouth directly correlates to the health of your body. A natural way to extract the bacteria in your mouth is called ‘oil pulling.’

What is it? Oil pulling is rooted in Ayurvedic medicine, dating back more than 3000 years. It’s essentially using pure oil like a mouthwash.

Benefits of Oil Pulling

Candida and Streptococcus are commonly found in the mouth. These germs can cause plaque and tooth decay, as well as secondary infections and chronic inflammation throughout the body.

Oil pulling can lessen this toxic burden on your immune system – by preventing the spread of harmful organisms from your mouth to the rest of your body via the bloodstream. Like foot reflexology, your tongue is ‘connected’ to organs, so oral care can prevent illness and may be curative.

In addition to boosting the immune system, benefits associated with oil pulling include:

  • Preventing cavities and tooth decay
  • Whitening and strengthening teeth
  • Improving breath and easing halitosis
  • Deterring gingivitis and healing bleeding gums
  • Lessening jaw pain/TMJ
  • Alleviating sinus problems, sleep issues, headaches and skin conditions

When pulling is combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, you have a very powerful health tool.

Oil Pulling at Home: How-to Guide

I recommend doing oil pulling 3 to 4 times each week, on an empty stomach: it’s best to do this process in the morning before you eat or drink anything.

It’s actually very simple:

  1. Put about 1 tablespoon of organic, unrefined coconut oil on a spoon
  2. Put the spoon in your mouth (the oil will melt/soften right away)
  3. Swish the oil inside your mouth like mouthwash, pulling the oil through your teeth and around your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes
  4. Spit out into a trash can (not the sink): do not swallow
  5. Rinse with warm water to eliminate residue
  6. Brush and floss teeth as you normally do

It’s important to remember that when you’re finished “pulling” you must NOT swallow, as it’s VERY toxic (all of the toxins you pulled from your mouth should not be swallowed). I strongly suggest spitting it out in the trash can, because oil can clog your sink drain.

You may find a whole tablespoon of oil seems like a lot at first, so try starting with 1 to 2 teaspoons. Why? As the oil pulls in saliva and bacteria from your mouth, the amount of oil-mix in your mouth will increase.

I know 20 minutes will feel like a long time! So, start with 5 minutes and gradually increase the time you keep the oil in your mouth.

If you’re not a fan of coconut oil, sesame oil is equally effective. You can also add essential oils to the coconut oil. As these oils get absorbed by the oral mucosa, your body will enjoy the antioxidant and medicinal powers:

  • For everyday use, try one drop each of clove, orange, lemon and peppermint
  • When battling an infection or sickness, try one drop each of clove, cinnamon, oregano and tea tree as a homeopathic remedy

As always, we at Chesapeake Holistic are here to help. Please call with any questions about oil pulling or other natural health practices.


Cathy is a Certified Health Coach, and a Certified ONDAMED® Technician and Emotion Code® Practitioner.