Gwyneth Paltrow: The benefits of ancient coconut oil pulling


SAN DIEGO, April 22, 2014 — Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic method of orally swishing coconut oil between the teeth and around the gums, and is less widely known in Western cultures.

Believed by many to whiten teeth, freshen breath and increase oral health, the benefits of oil pulling may also extend to improving overall health.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has recently been quoted in a variety of news features touting the benefits of oil pulling.

Photo courtesy of Georges Biard
Photo courtesy of Georges Biard

According to Paltrow in an interview with E!News, “I just started ‘oil pulling’ which is when you swish coconut oil around (in your mouth) for 20 minutes, and it’s supposed to be great for oral health and making your teeth white.”

This traditional Indian practice of over 2,500 years is a natural method by which harmful oral toxins are removed. Moreover, it is believed to also help strengthen gums.

Oil pulling will help remove harmful bacteria from the mouth by swishing through the teeth, according to

Within the human mouth billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi, including streptococcus and Candida reside. Left unchecked, these undesirable inhabitants can cause serious gum diseases, leading to inflammatory processes which may spread to other systems of the body.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that moderate gum disease affects 40 percent of children over the age of12 years; nine out of every ten people have tooth decay; and 33 percent of adults over the age of 65 have lost all their natural teeth.

The standard recommendations for maintaining oral health, such as daily brushing, regular flossing, and use of a chemically based oral mouthwash might not be entirely effective.

Oil pulling is a relatively simple and very inexpensive process to follow.

Upon arising each morning, prior to breakfast and regular tooth brushing, actively swish up to 1 tablespoon of natural organic coconut oil through teeth and around gums for approximately 15 to 20 minute.

If pressed for time, continue swishing while taking a shower, moving about the house, or conducting other morning routines.

Be very careful not to gargle or swallow the coconut oil so you don’t ingest the bacteria, viruses and fungi you have so carefully swished loose. After 20 minutes, spit the oil into a trash receptacle, but not the sink, the oil could solidify and clog your drain.

Devotees of oil pulling report a sweet taste after having swished, and fresher breath.

Fleischer Dental Group,, offers some of the following tips for increasing oral health:

-Eating calcium rich foods.

-Consuming high fiber vegetables.

-Eating fibrous fruits provides natural cleansing and astringent properties.

-Drinking lot of water daily helps remove sugars and acids from teeth.

-Whole grain foods are not only good for teeth but also help prevent heart disease and diabetes.

-Herbs such as neem, ginger, and holy basil encourage healthy teeth and gums and serve as plaque prevention.

-Coconut oil may be used for oil pulling which helps break down bacteria and germs.

It is further recommended to continue following basic dental guidelines of regularly brushing teeth, flossing, using a mouthwash, and having regular dental check-ups.

The World Health Organization proactively incorporates the principle of good dental hygiene as a critical component of overall general health and disease prevention worldwide.

Paltrow’s pearly-white smile is a great example of one of the many possible oral and general health  benefits of oil pulling, with its unique ability to serve as an effective, natural and affordable tooth whitening process.

With the promise of naturally whiter teeth, fresher breath, healthier teeth and gums, and potential overall health, adding a big swish of coconut oil to the daily morning routine just might be worth a try!

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2014 by At Your Home Familycare

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare
  • Rachel Zachariah


    I think you did a good job explaining the health benefits of oil pulling. I have read many of Dr. Fife’s books and I love his work. I’ve been oil pulling for over five years and it has definitely improved my health. My teeth are whiter, my breath fresher, and it has helped my joints as well since oil pulling prevents arthritis. I prefer to use coconut oil when I oil pull. Thank you for your video!

    • Laurie Edwards-Tate

      Thanks for your comments, Rachel. It is good to know that this information was helpful to you.