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Gwyneth Paltrow: The benefits of ancient coconut oil pulling

Written By | Apr 22, 2014

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


Laurie Edwards-Tate

Since 1984, Laurie Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm and children. Laurie is Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.