Does Oil Pulling Alleviate TMJ?

This article is a multi-part series attempting to answering the question:  Does Oil Pulling Really Work?  This articles addresses the Oil Pulling Claim:  Does Oil Pulling Alleviate TMJ?  And, if so, which oils for TMJ work the best.

In this article we will research to find existing studies and/or believable sources that answer or contradict the question Does Oil Pulling Alleviate TMJ?

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What is TMJ?

DSCF9631 (Does Oil Pulling Alleviate TMJ; this guy wants to know)

“DSCF9631” by zhouxuan12345678 (CC BY 2.0), via

TMJ, aslo called TemporoMandibular Joint disfunction, or sometimes called TMJD,  is when you have pain and compromised movement of the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles.

Most of the time, sufferers of TMJ don’t have any obvious reason that the pain has started.

NIH Dental and Craniofacial Research

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a subcategory that covers topics around dental and facial issues.  TMJ is one of the areas they do research for.

According to NIH, TMJ is diagnosed by asking about various types and durations of muscle, joint, and facial pain.  Also, questions about difficulty with chewing, and joint sounds go into a diagnosis.

And, also according to NIH, twice as many women suffer from TMJ as men.

According to Medline Plus:

Poor posture can also be an important factor in TMJ symptoms.
For example, holding the head forward while looking
at a computer all day strains the muscles of the face and neck.

Other factors that may make TMJ symptoms worse include
stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep.

People with TMJ find this affliction to be particularly intrusive on their daily life.  If Oil Pulling can help, it would be a blessing for many.

Who Says Oil Pulling Alleviates TMJ?

I was able to easily find anecdotal evidence of people claiming that oil pulling did help them.

Spa Week Daily

Beth Roeser who writes for Spa Week Daily wrote this article about her experiences using coconut oil.

Beth was experiencing TMJ symptoms and blogged about how it worked for her.  In the article, she states:

I can confidently state that swishing my big mouthful of oil
around for twenty minutes had a very soothing effect on my chronic
jaw pain. There’s no doubt about it: On the days I tried oil pulling
for TMJ, I had noticeably less jaw pain than usual.

She also talks about some of the drawbacks she encountered with Oil Pulling.  For the most part, she didn’t find the experience to be pleasant even though she did feel like Oil Pulling was helpful for her TMJ symptoms.

The Coconut Oil Post

The Punch Up

“The Punch Up” by Salim Fadhley (CC BY-SA 2.0), via

In this article by Kerry from The Coconut Oil Post, she also talks about using Coconut Oil to help with her jaw soreness.

Kerry is a stay at home mom of two children she home schools, and was fighting a tooth infection that had grown into upper and lower jaw soreness.

She had heard about the possible benefits of Oil Pulling for helping with jaw soreness, and gave it a try.  Here were her comments on how it worked for her:

I started oil pulling immediately when I got home and noticed instantly a subsiding in the pain in my jaw. Success!

Modern Hippie

Desiree Winans writes a blog where she is the Modern Hippie.  In this article she talks about three different ways to decrease the affects of TMJ.

One of the ways was to Oil Pull using Coconut oil.  Her conclusions were:

Oil Pulling helped my TMJ – Try it, it’s supposed to whiten your teeth (I think perhaps it might be doing that for me), and it also helps to keep the gums, teeth and even your sinuses healthy. What do you have to lose but perhaps some nasty mucus? lol

Who Says Oil Pulling Does NOT Alleviate TMJ?


“Jaws” by Travis Isaacs (CC BY 2.0), via

We also looked for those that answer NO to the question Does Oil Pulling alleviate TMJ?

Ask the Dentist

Dr. Mark Burhenne authors a website where he talks about his own research involving dental issues.

In an article about Oil Pulling, Dr. Burhenne talks about eight myths about Oil Pulling.

Dr. Burhenne’s number 8 on his list is Oil Pulling Does Not Treat TMJ/TMD.  In this item he states:

Swishing with oil doesn’t address the root causes that contribute to the many factors that cause jaw pain. If you are oil pulling and experiencing some jaw pain relief, keep in mind that this is masking the symptoms, but failing to treat the root cause. If your house was on fire, you’d want to stop the fire — not just remove the smoke.

croc jaws

“croc jaws” by Steve Slater (CC BY 2.0), via

He goes on to talk about a likely source of jaw pain is teeth grinding and recommends to have a sleep study to see if that is the actual root cause.

If you are experiencing similar symptoms, this is defiantly something worth pursuing with your own dentist.

I personally have a mouthpiece that was created for my own grinding and it has been helpful in other ways besides TMJ symptoms.

Dr. Christopher Morris

Dr. Christopher Morris DMD is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine and runs his own website.

Dr. Morris published an article about investigating if Oil Pulling can reverse cavities.  In this article he also touches on the topic of TMJ.

Due to grinding my teeth in my sleep, I occasionally suffer from
tight jaws and sore jaw muscles.  I happened to have an episode
of soreness begin just before the oil pulling experiment.  The soreness
in my jaws did not worsen or improve for the first 10 days of oil
pulling.  The last four days the soreness improved slightly but did
not go away completely.  I personally do not attribute any
connection between my TMJ symptoms and oil pulling.

Proof That Oil Pulling Alleviates TMJ

We searched via Google and via Google Scholar, using multiple search strings and were not able to find any studies that attempted to prove or disprove a link between Oil Pulling and TMJ or other jaw issues.

Conclusions for Does Oil Pulling Alleviate TMJ?

Without any studies available to test this theory, we have to just go by the few articles we found that talk about a link between Oil Pulling and TMJ.

And, we found conflicting information from various sources.

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On the negative side, were dentists and dental medical experts.  And, on the positive side were simply people that tried and believed that Oil Pulling was helping their TMJ symptoms.

So, to answer the question Does Oil Pulling Alleviate TMJ?, we are going to place our research results into the category of Anectodal.


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