Sign up for the SSD Newsletter


Shailene Woodley Swears by “Oil Pulling” for Oral Health

I thought it was an April Fools joke when a friend told me that Divergent actress Shailene Woodley swears by this wellness trend called “oil pulling” to naturally brighten her teeth and protect her gums. But after a few minutes googling this term, I learned oil pulling is indeed real and is actually an Ayurvedic technique — a holistic medical system from India that dates back 3,000 to 5,000 years. And this ancient technique has even withstood the test of time as many of today’s modern dentists admit oil pulling helps with oral health.

Actress Shailene Woodley.


“It really makes your teeth whiter, because the plaque on your teeth is not water soluble, it’s fat-soluble. So the lipids have to dissolve in fats, which is why oil works in your mouth.”

Actress Shailene Woodley

Oil pulling is a daily routine used to pull out toxins from the gums for better oral health, to whiten teeth, and to freshen breath.  Oil is antimicrobial and gets into the tissues of the mouth to inhibit bacterial growth. Studies have shown that oil pulling reduced levels of Streptococcus mutans, a strain of bacteria associated with cavities, and decreased bacterial counts, plaque index in the mouth as well as halitosis (bad breath).  Oil pulling results are similar to chlorhexidine mouthwash.

How to oil pull: Use a tablespoon of organic coconut or sesame seed oil.  You may have to heat up your coconut oil to turn it into a liquid first.  Swish the oil of your choice around in your mouth from 3 to 10 minutes in the morning before you eat or drink anything. Help the time go faster by swishing the oil while making breakfast or taking a shower.  Make sure to spit the oil in the garbage and not the drain (oil clogs plumbing) and then use a tongue scraper from the back to the front to remove the coat of oil left on your tongue. Rub the extra remaining oil into your gums.

Tags: ,
Posted on: April 3, 2014