Here is a FAQ of all the questions I had and the answers I came across throughout my research and experience.
- What time of day should you be oil pulling?
- Do you have to use coconut oil?
- Is it okay to use melted coconut oil?
- I struggle to swish for 20 minutes, what should I do?
- How much coconut oil should I use?
- I think my coconut oil has gone bad…
- What is the science behind oil pulling?
- Does oil pulling remove cavities?
- Can oil pulling substitute brushing teeth?
- What coconut oil should I use?
What time of day should you be oil pulling?
It is said that the best time to oil pull is in the morning on an empty stomach before you brush your teeth or eat anything. The reasoning for this is that you won’t be producing as much enzyme-containing saliva on a full stomach. These enzymes are supposed to improve the oil pulling process.
These enzymes help break down starches in your food and is considered the first step of the digestive process.
Personally, the time of day that I oil pull is after my daily cup of coffee and a light breakfast. I tried it on an empty stomach in the morning, but I didn’t feel any significant difference in the process or feel to justify doing it at that specific time of the day.
At the end of the day, being consistent with oil pulling is more essential than when you do it. So don’t skip your oil pulling session even if you can’t do it at the “ideal” time.
Do you have to use coconut oil?
No, you don’t have to use coconut oil for oil pulling, however, it is the oil that has additional benefits through its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Any oil will do the job of pulling bacteria from your mouth, but coconut oil has the added bonus of being great for your health. You can use any type of oil you like for oil pulling, but we recommend using cold-pressed or virgin coconut oil for the best results.
Is it okay to use melted coconut oil?
There are no disadvantages to using coconut oil melted. I actually melt it intentionally by leaving it exposed in the living room so that I may store it in an easy-to-dose bottle for my oil pulling needs.
In its liquid form, it becomes simpler to measure how much coconut oil you need as you just drink it straight from the container. Simply fill your mouth with coconut oil straight from the container and stop when it feels moderately full. It should not be so stuffed that your cheeks are pinched. It also should not be so sparse that you cannot properly swish it about.
So should you be dosing your coconut oil as a liquid directly into your mouth? Well, there’s one disadvantage to this system. When using a bottle or container to dose your melted coconut oil, germs from your mouth may be transferred into the coconut oil. To me, the advantages of accurately and swiftly dosing my coconut oil outweigh the concerns about germs, so I just make sure to have a clean mouth when dosing my coconut oil.
I struggle to swish for 20 minutes, what should I do?
If you find it difficult to swish for the entire 20 minutes, here are a few things you can try.
- Have a glass besides you and spit the oil out and give yourself a small break before swishing again.
- Keep the coconut oil in a melted state making it easier to dose the right amount.
- Pause your swishing and bring the tongue to the roof of your mouth, pressing all the coconut oil forwards. This will allow you to do the swallowing motion without actually swallowing the oil and give your mouth a short rest.
Like any skill, oil pulling takes time and practice to get used to. Do not be discouraged if you find it difficult at first, just keep at it, and eventually, it will become second nature.
How much coconut oil should I use?
It’s important to make sure that you’re using the right amount of coconut oil. Too much and you struggle two swish the oil around and your cheeks get strained and tired. Too little and there is not enough swishing of the coconut oil.
Because we all have different mouths, the dose is different for all of us. If I had to quantify it, I’d say that 40% of your maximum mouth capacity is a sufficient amount of oil for oil pulling. Keep in mind that as you swish it around, the coconut oil mixes with your saliva and expands, which is why you need to use the correct amount of coconut oil.
I think my coconut oil has gone bad…
Coconut oil has a one-year shelf life when stored correctly. However, if it is not stored properly, it can go bad and lose its beneficial properties. Look for these signs to know if your coconut oil has gone bad.
If your coconut oil has any of the following signs, it has gone bad and should be discarded:
- The color has changed from white to yellow or brown
- There is mold growing on the surface
- The texture has changed from smooth to lumpy
- The oil has a rancid smell
If you notice any of these signs, it has sadly enough gone bad and I recommend you throw it away.
What is the science behind oil pulling?
There isn’t a definite answer to this, however this study lists the three theories as to how it might function.
- “a mechanism involving alkali hydrolysis of fat, resulting in saponification or “soap making” process.”
- “the viscous nature of the oil inhibits plaque accumulation and adhesion of bacteria.”
- “…antioxidants present in the oil cause detoxification by preventing lipid peroxidation, resulting in an antibiotic-like effect.”
Does oil pulling remove cavities?
There is no scientific evidence to support claims that it removes existing cavities, however, it is said to prevent cavities as it reduces streptococcus mutant counts. Streptococcus mutants are the bacteria in one’s plaque and saliva, which are commonly found in cavities and is a big contributor to tooth decay.
Can oil pulling substitute brushing teeth?
The majority of opinions say that oil pulling cannot substitute brushing teeth. and that it should be treated as a supplemental practice to one’s normal oral hygiene routine.
That being said, I enjoy defying convention, so I decided to test just oil pulling for my oral hygiene regimen (no flossing, brushing, or mouthwash) twice per day for two days and observed that the plaque began to build up on my teeth. Oil pulling alone was not enough in terms of plaque removal. So no, oil pulling cannot fully substitute brushing teeth and should be used as a supplemental practice.
What coconut oil should I use?
There are many kinds of coconut oil available on the market, so which one should you choose? The key property of the coconut oil that you pick is that it is either cold-pressed or virgin coconut oil. These are the coconut oils I have tried that worked great for oil pulling.
- Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- Kirkland Signature organic virgin coconut oil, 84 oz (2.62 QT), 2.48 L
- Grace Virgin Coconut Oil
- President’s Choice Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
I love the convenience, price, AND size of Kirkland’s Signature organic coconut oil. When oil pulling, you will quickly go through coconut oil, and being able to get a supply of it that is both in bulk, relatively cheap and at a convenient place (at Costco here in Canada) is a big plus for me.