Oil Pulling: The Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Myth

Most people associate a beautiful smile, with one being bright white and perfectly straight. Almost every ad, celebrity, and model is boasting a beautiful smile that nearly everyone is envious of. This leads many of us on the quest to obtain a brilliant…

Most people associate a beautiful smile, with one being bright white and perfectly straight. Almost every ad, celebrity, and model is boasting a beautiful smile that nearly everyone is envious of. This leads many of us on the quest to obtain a brilliant smile. However, most of us want to find the most budget-friendly way of achieving those results—que oil pulling.

This is a pretty recent development and method. Some can brighten your smile. But does it really work? In this article, we’ll explore the coconut oil whiten teeth myth, how’s it done, and options for you to obtain a whiter smile.

What is the coconut oil whiten teeth myth?

What is the coconut oil whiten teeth myth?

So the myth goes, coconut oil can remove stains and other discolorations. It is said that the coconut oil will attach to the bacteria or stain and then be rinsed away. The term oil pulling came about when used to describe swishing oil in the mouth and to pull it through the teeth.

A person would need about a teaspoon or so of edible oil, like coconut. They would then swish around the oil as a means to care for their teeth. Many have claimed that coconut oil has tremendous benefits for the health of gums, the ability to remove plaque, and lastly, white and teeth. But many of these myths have been busted, including the ability for oil pulling to reveal a brighter whiter smile.

What is the origin of oil pulling?

While it may seem like a relatively new home remedy for getting whiter teeth, oil pulling has been around for hundreds of years. It has deep roots in Southern Asia and Indian medicine. These cultures have all considered oil to have significant health benefits, including removing bacteria that can lead to plaque and gingivitis. Another significant benefit that the southern Asian and Indian medicine groups have claimed is coconut oil can decrease sensitivity in teeth.

How is it done?

The method for naturally whitening your teeth with coconut oil is a straightforward process. All you need is a few teaspoons of coconut oil. You can directly apply the oil to the fronts of the teeth. Then with your mouth closed, swish around the product, ensuring it coats every tooth.

This process will take anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes, or as long as 20 minutes. After swishing, you can wait a few minutes for the oil to “soak in”, then rinse.

There are several types of oils that can be used for oil pulling. Edible oils commonly used are sesame, oil, coconut, and sunflower.

What does science say about this method?

What do experts say about the coconut oil whiten teeth myth? According to the American Dental Association, there are not enough studies or scientific evidence to prove oil pulling is beneficial to your oral health nor it is an effective method for teeth whitening. The conclusion is that swishing oil around your mouth is ineffective.

While mainstream media has made grand claims that oil pulling is exceptionally effective at teeth whitening, and at a great low price, those that would try it may be disappointed.

If you’re eager to have a whiter smile, the best thing to do is to discuss it with your dentist. They will walk you through what options are available and which ones will work.

Whitening teeth solutions

Whitening teeth solutions

Are you curious about what options are available to give you a brighter, whiter smile? Of course, one of the first methods individuals try is over-the-counter strips. These do provide results, but they can take weeks, and often the desired results aren’t achieved. Most will comment that by using whitening strips, they have a patchy lightening.

Another home remedy that is cost-effective and actually works for lifting some stains is hydrogen peroxide toothpaste. Brushing with hydrogen peroxide whitening toothpaste can lift stains in a few weeks. Many brands on the market promote whitening effects. When purchasing, look at the active ingredients to determine how powerful the whitening impact could be. Brands with a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide may be more effective at removing extrinsic stains.

Teeth whitening is something many individuals look for to improve the appearance of their smile. One of the best ways that offer the fastest results is with in-office teeth whitening services. There is simply no comparison for professional teeth whitening against other options on the market or things you can do at home.

Dentists help millions of patients discover a beautiful smile; they can’t wait to show off. Many offer two options for their patients. The first is their in-office teeth whitening, and the other is an at-home kit. These are much more effective at lifting stains than over-the-counter options, and provide up to eight shades lighter much faster.

Preventing stains and discolorations

One of the best ways to have a brighter smile is to take preventative action. Avoiding things that may stain your teeth, such as heavily dyed food and drinks are an easy method for stopping certain stains. For example, coffee and wine are known contributors to making teeth appear dull. Those that smoke may also find that their teeth may look dingy or yellow.

No matter what type of teeth whitening system you use or try, it’s important to look at the factors contributing to the staining. Remember to visit your dentist every six months for cleanings, as excellent oral health can keep your teeth looking their best.


A whiter smile is something many look forward to having that they would try anything to make it happen including oil pulling, over-the-counter pastes, and strips. Still, the most effective way of obtaining a consistently brighter smile in a shorter amount of time is with professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office.

Are you unhappy with your smile because of discolorations, stains, or it isn’t as bright as you’d like? Contact Image Dental for an appointment today! You may request an appointment online by clicking here or by giving us a call at (209) 955-1500 during regular business hours.

Stephen Nozaki, DDS, MPH, DIDIA

Dr. Stephen Nozaki is the owner and lead dentist at Image Dental in Stockton. He is a dedicated professional born and raised in California's Central Valley. With a commitment to his community, he brings advanced dental techniques learned from extensive education and continuous training from around the world. A third-generation Japanese American, Dr. Nozaki has a rich background that includes international living and a deep passion for both dentistry and outdoor activities. His focus in dentistry aligns with his passion for cosmetics and dental implants.