Why Coconut Oil Pulling Upgrades Your Teeth

coconut oil pulling
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Bulletproof blog reader Morgan Wells asked, “I want to know if oil pulling actually pulls toxins from your teeth and mouth…I can’t find any science on the subject, just testimony and heresay.”

Great question!

Oil pulling was introduced to the Western world twenty years ago; today, it’s a growing trend with many oil pullers boasting fantastic oral and total health results. There are thousands of patient testimonials, but where does the science land?

There isn’t a ton of science on this yet, but here’s what the research so far has to say.

Oil Pulling 101

If you don’t know what oil pulling is, it’s the 3,000 year old Ayurveda practice of swishing a tablespoon of coconut, sesame or sunflower oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for up to twenty minutes daily.  You can also do it with XCT Oil, to enable more lipid absorption through your mucosa near the brain, according to Dr. Bissoon, a NYC anti-aging physician who does it.

In Asia and India, it’s historically been part of a daily wellness regimen to help with more than thirty or more systematic diseases.  This practice is known for detoxifying and cleansing your teeth and gums, making them whiter while reducing inflammation and even halitosis. From personal experience, I notice the difference when I do it with XCT, both in energy and whiteness, but I don’t like spending 20 minutes on it.

Biodentists will tell you that treating teeth is an important gateway to treating the whole body. The theory behind a pulling practice is that the oil “pulls” harmful viruses, bacteria (Streptococcus), parasites and fungi (Candida) and all of their toxic waste products from the mouth, preventing them from seeping into the bloodstream and suppressing immune and overall health. (1) (2) (3)

What The Research Says About Oil Pulling

The majority of small-scale clinical studies around oil pulling have been held in India, the seat of this practice where scientists are readily enthusiastic to perform studies.

Most end with positive results similar to this study published in the Journal of Oral Health and Community Dentistry to demonstrate the effectiveness of oil pulling compared to other forms of oral hygiene. (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)

The subjects in the study had mild to moderate gum disease and plaque accumulation, typical of the population as a whole. They were instructed to continue their normal oral hygiene practices and introduce oil pulling into their routine.

At the end of the 45 days, plaque formation was significantly reduced, with most of the reduction coming during the later half of the study, indicating that the longer you oil pull, the better the results. Gingivitis (i.e., gum disease) was also significantly reduced in all subjects, decreasing by more than 50 percent. The researchers rated the changes as “highly” significant.

The Science Behind How Coconut Oil Pulling Really Works

If oil pulling isn’t magic, what is the biological and chemical process that happens in our mouths to “pull” away these harmful bugs?

During the swishing process, the oil mixes with saliva, creating a thin liquid that travels between your teeth and gums to places where bacteria hide. The oils (especially oils with naturally antibacterial properties like coconut oil, or the stronger MCT oils found in XCT and Brain Octane) bind to the biofilm, or plaque, on the teeth and reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth.

Many of these microorganisms are coated with fat – a lipid bilayer that is attracted to other fats and in this instance, the fat of the pulling oils. Bacteria is absorbed into the pulling oil during swishing and removed during the expulsion of the oil from your mouth.  This is why spitting the oil out instead of swallowing it is an important last step, as you don’t want to reabsorb these toxins.(10)

The consensus from oil pulling experts is that coconut oil is better than other oils like sesame or sunflower.  It has unique performance properties not found in other oils.

  • For one, it works as a natural anti-bacterial, killing disease-causing bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa.  The medium chain fats found in coconut oil are effective in attacking Streptococcus Mutans bacteria which causes cavities.
  • Secondly, they work to maintain healthy levels of inflammation.
  • Lastly, it is a tissue healer when applied topically. It stimulates the recovery of cells and infections. (11) (12)

There are lots of studies showing the antibacterial properties of these oils.(13)(14)(15)(16)(17)

You Can Upgrade Your Coconut Oil Pulling Practice

You use biohacking to make changes to your environment that give you more control of your biology…which means you want to do things that are more effective in less time. That’s why I hacked my own oil pulling process. (I am the first to admit I don’t oil pull every day…more like once a week!)

Step 1: XCT Oil Pulling

Give oil pulling a go with a little of your Bulletproof XCT Oil instead of just coconut oil.  You absorb oils through your mucosa, so if you’re going to go to the trouble of sitting with a mouthful of oil for 20 minutes, you might as well use one that is triple distilled for purity and more quickly converts to energy after it’s absorbed through your mucosa. (It also has powerful anti-microbial properties.)

XCT Oil is made with zero solvents ever, and it is triple distilled in a non-oxygen atmosphere so it is completely free of C6 MCT which irritates mucosal membranes.  Considering how porous your mouth is, a daily oil pulling routine with the cleanest most effective ingredients makes the most sense. (18) (19)

Step 2: Just Add Oregano Oil

Add a drop of essential oil of oregano. Oregano oil is a well known powerful antifungal and antimicrobial, and there’s even a study of the combined effects of oregano oil and the rarest type of MCT oil (caprylic acid, which is 70% of XCT, and 100% of Brain Octane). The combination was tested (on meat, not in our bodies) to reduce bacteria in meat stored over time better than either alone. (20)(21)

This isn’t an in-vivo study, but since we know they each work separately to achieve the goals of oil pulling, it makes sense to combine them.

Step 3: Clean Up Your Diet

Whether or not you decide to give oil pulling a go with XCT or just plain coconut oil, all dentists – both Western and functional biodentistists –  agree that a clean, low sugar diet improves your oral health.  The Bulletproof Diet intentionally avoids the foods that can cause cavities, infections and unhealthy gums.  Kryptonite foods to avoid: sugar, flour and grains, hydrogenated oils, non-grass fed meats, fish and non-farm raised eggs.

So let’s see more studies done!



Click to read the complete list of references.

(1)  http://www.americanbiodental.com/

(2)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18408265 Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study.

(3)  http://www.asiaph.org/admin/img_topic/6096Sroisiri.pdf Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models

(4)  http://www.ijdr.in/article.asp?issn=0970-9290;year=2009;volume=20;issue=1;spage=47;epage=51;aulast=Asokan Amith, H.V., et al. Effect of oil pulling on plaque and gingivitis. JOHCD 2007;1:12- 18.

(5)  http://www.ait.ie/aboutaitandathlone/newsevents/pressreleases/2012pressreleases/title-16107-en.html AIT researchers show coconut oil could combat tooth decay

(6)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25838632 Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – A preliminary report.

(7)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25584309 Comparative efficacy of oil pulling and chlorhexidine on oral malodor: a randomized controlled trial.

(8)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911944 Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial.

(9)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19336860 Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study

(10) http://www.piccadillybooks.com/oil-pulling-therapy.htm Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxing And Healing Your Body Through Oral Cleansing

(11) http://www.nature.com/bdj/journal/v213/n6/full/sj.bdj.2012.856.html

(12) http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/05/oilpulling-coconut-oil.aspx

(13) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16162522

(14) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21355735

(15) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21333271

(16) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24284257

(17) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC444260/pdf/aac00361-0029.pdf

(18) http://www.learnyourlipids.com/lipids/  Learn Your Lipids, National Lipid Association

(19) http://wellnessmama.com/17951/coconut-oil-pulling/  Coconut Oil Pulling: How To Use Coconut Oil To Improve Oral Health

(20) http://www.curetoothdecay.com/  Ramiel Nagel, Foods that Inhibit Tooth Decay (Cure Tour Part III)

(20) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23743028

(21) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0309174013001952

(22) Interview: Dr Bill Glaros is a practicing biological dentist based in Houston, Texas He’s a former president of the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM), and he’s also an accredited member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association


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By Dave Asprey

  • Chris

    A co-worker of mine used this technique with some gauze, to really get that 20 min + length of treatment. She’s older, and has had problems with pain in the back of her mouth, gums & teeth there. She told me stories that the gauze came out brownish-dark in some areas! Can’t remember exactly the oil combo, but man was she ever shocked with the results! as was I! Something to do this mouth oil thingy.

  • Vytautas Alech

    Great article. Will need to introduce this to my daily protocol as an experiment

  • Justin

    If fats are being absorbed thru the mucosa there…do we want increased absorption since the fat is going to be attracting all the nasties to it?

    • Hazel

      I started working at home, completing various simple jobs which only requires from you desktop or laptop computer and internet access and I couldn’t be happier… It’s been 6 months since i started this and i earned so far in total $36k… Basicly i make 80 dollars each hour and work for three to four hrs daily.Best part to whole this thing is that you can manage time when you work and for how long as you like and you get paid at the end of every week -> If you think this could be for you then Work from home opportunity! <-

    • Sally

      I st­arted wo­rking over internet, by comple­ting some simpl­e jobs which onl­y required a PC and internet conn­ection and I am ha­ppier than ever… Afte­r si­x mont­hs on t­his jo­b and i mad­e tot­al of $36,00­0… Bas­icly i profit cl­ose to 80 buck­s/hour and wo­rk for three to four h most of the days.And awesome thing about this job is that yo­u can decide when to work yourself and for h­ow long an­d yo­u get pa­id at the en­d of ever­y we­ek -> If thi­s got y­our attent­ion th­en ch­eck it out he­re… <-

    • Sally

      I’ve bee­n wo­rking from h­ome for some ti­me now, working basic jobs which onl­y requires from you a compu­ter and internet conn­ection and it’s the bes­t job i eve­r had… Afte­r si­x mont­hs on t­his jo­b and i got paid so far tot­al of 36,00­0 doll­ars… Bas­icly i e­arn abo­ut 80 buck­s/hou­rly and wo­rk for 3 t­o 4 hrs most of the days.And awesome thing about this job is that you can manage time w­hen you work a­nd for h­ow lo­ng as yo­u lik­e an­d yo­u get pa­id at the en­d of ever­y we­ek -> If you a­re interested in tr­ying this fin­d out more here… <-

    • HeatherENowak



    • Mildred

      I’a­m freelan­cing f­rom hom­e, co­mple­ting so­me si­mpl­e jo­bs that only require­s from you a PC an­d inte­rnet access an­d I am s­o ha­p­py with it… A­fte­r 6 mo­nt­hs o­n t­hi­s jo­b an­d i got paid i­n to­tal 36,0­0­0 bu­cks… Bas­icly i pro­fit 80 buck­s/hou­rly a­n­d wo­rk for th­ree to f­our hour­s d­aily.A­nd awes­ome thin­g about this job is th­a­t y­o­u ca­n ma­na­ge ti­m­e w­he­n y­ou w­o­rk a­nd fo­r h­ow l­o­ng a­s y­o­u li­k­e an­d t­he pa­ym­ents a­r­e w­eek­ly -> I­f thi­s go­t y­our att­ent­ion th­en c­h­eck it o­u­t h­e­re… <-

    • Depends on whether the “nasties” are capable of passing through the mucosa along with the fats, or whether it’s just the fats.

      That said, I don’t know whether the “nasties” do get absorbed through the mucosa – or more easily – due to the fats.

    • Angela Neil

      I learned an insane amount about coconut oil at http://WWW.USECOCONUT.INFO – because of that website, healing coconut oil is now part of my everyday life. Coconut oil truly has health-promoting powers. Coconut oil contains the healthiest substance on Earth! To start, it fuels your metabolism, boosts your thyroid, protects and beautifies your skin, and fights cancer! I’m so glad I discovered that website and made coconut oil a part of my life… I highly recommend you do the same! You’ll be amazed at what Mother Nature already provides for us 🙂

  • Jenny

    I’ve just upgraded to oil pulling with ozonated oil.

  • Mark

    Does anyone add Upgraded Charcoal to the mix?

    • Justin

      Cool thought…curious about this myself. I’ve started doing oil pulling again the past two days and plan on sticking with it. Just using straight coconut oil right now till I restock on daves mct oil. Aside from the toxin pulling attributes of it, I’m wondering if the charcoal would enhance whitening effecst…

    • Lynda

      Yep – I add charcoal every now & then if I feel I need it and for added whiteness

  • Colin Cody

    Any evidence that pulling hurts the good bacteria that helps in digestion which starts in the mouth

  • Charles

    would be better to eat a little bit before bed and leave it counting your mouth?

  • GiGi

    If you have any type of toothache, add 1-3 drops of Clove essential oil to the oil being pulled for 20 minutes. Got rid of a mild toothache twice for me. Really works!

  • Hi there i have just launched a coconut oil pulling site please check it http://www.cocodiamondz.com/ it has lots of information and the largest range of oil pulling products online. Thank you very much

  • littleblacksnake

    Does it have to be a tablespoon? I have a small mouth and find a tablespoon is too much.

  • What are the actual ingredients in Bulletproof XCT Oil? When I click on the ingredients tab there is no actual list of ingredients. Is it just triple distilled coconut oil? Thanks, Paula

  • Randy Peterman

    Isn’t this method similar to using antibacterial soap? Aren’t we progressing to the point where we understand now that there are supposed to be good bacteria throughout our bodies, and we shouldn’t try to sterilize everything? Your advice here seems contrary to much of what you say about the gut, the skin, etc. The addition of oregano oil only seems to compound this problem. Wouldn’t you suggest at least using the oregano oil in moderation?