Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth?

This is a multi-part series of articles answering the question:  Does Oil Pulling Really Work?  This articles addresses the Oil Pulling Claim:  Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth?

Well, this web site is called Dazzling White Teeth HQ, so why wouldn’t we start with white teeth when investigating Oil Pulling Claims?

First, if you are not familiar with Oil Pulling, it is the process of using one of a variety of oils to thoroughly rinse out your mouth.  The procedures are from an ancient Ayurvedic healing system that is believed to heal by maintaining a balance between mind, body, and spirit.

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Let’s get right to the Claims, the Proof, and then to our Conclusions.

Who Says Oil Pulling Whitens Teeth?

Bo Teeth (Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth?)

“Bo Teeth” by S. Carter (CC BY-SA 2.0), via

Do I need teeth whitening (asked the camel)?

Well, your camel might not.  But, this one certainly DOES!

Perhaps some of the people that have made claims about using Oil Pulling to whiten their teeth started out like our friend Bo Camel here.

Regardless of where they are starting from, there is an abundance of people and groups that claim (and it seems truly believe) that Oil Pulling whitened their teeth.

Here are a few of the claims that I was able to easily find to try and answer the question Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth?

A Vogue Article

In a Vogue article titled Oil Pulling: Can you Really Swish Your Way to Whiter Teeth or Better Skin?, the author makes the following claim:

At work on day four of my oil-pulling experiment,’s beauty
director, <name removed> and culture editor, <name removed>,
communally agreed that, in spite of the aforementioned excessive amounts
of coffee consumed, my teeth look very white. So white, in fact, that
<name removed> mused, “maybe I should start oil pulling . . . ”

The article includes a beautiful picture of the author.  And, she does have very white teeth.

And no, she does NOT even closely resemble Bo the Camel.

Skincare Org Says Yes to Whiter Teeth

The folks at Skincare Org wrote and article titled Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening – How to Whiten Teeth with Coconut Oil.

In this article, the following statement was made:

Coconut oil does not whiten teeth by bleaching but rather
with lauric acid which helps get rid of plaque and bacteria- major
contributors to yellow teeth.

We have seen studies that we’ll talk about later in this article that show that Oil Pulling does help with plaque and with removing bacteria.

Everyday Roots Home Remedy Agrees

Claire at Everyday Roots wrote an article titled 3 Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth at Home.

In this article, Claire provides three home remedies for teeth whitening.  The third remedy involves doing Oil Pulling using Coconut oil.

The feedback for this remedy was:

It doesn’t sound like the most pleasant thing in the
world, but I actually don’t mind the taste, and I think it does make a
difference in the color of your teeth.

Not exactly scientific proof.  But, she is touting this as one of three ways to whiten teeth.  So, it really seems she is saying Yes to the question Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth?

Who Says Oil Pulling Does NOT Whitens Teeth?

Science Fish

“Science Fish” by Steve Rainwater (CC BY-SA 2.0), via

While some folks are making claims FOR the ability of Oil Pulling to whiten your teeth, there are some others that say it does not whiten your teeth.

Or, they at least are saying there isn’t enough proof yet.

They basically say NO to the question Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth?

ADA Says NO!

While researching, we found a Colgate article that said that the ADA does not even recommend Oil Pulling at all because of the lack of proof.

We found this American Dental Association (ADA) article, and it makes the following statement regarding Oil Pulling:

To date, scientific studies have not provided the necessary
clinical evidence to demonstrate that oil pulling reduces the incidence of
dental caries, whitens teeth or improves oral health and well-being.

While this is a statement that there isn’t proof, this is really more of a statement that is saying that there are not studies that directly target these benefits.

Oil Pulling Teeth Whitening Proof

Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing

“Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing” by Richard foster (CC BY-SA 2.0), via

Now that we’ve seen the Claims, what proof is there that Oil Pulling is directly responsible for whiter teeth?

Many of the benefits we were able to find regarding Oil Pulling have to do with studies that show that Oil Pulling does help to significantly reduce plaque.

Our logic is, if you give Oil Pulling credit for significantly reducing plaque, then you also get to claim that Oil Pulling, by reducing or eliminating plaque, gets the credit for eliminating the side effects of plaque.

The study also talks about how Oil Pulling reducing plaque.  Later in this FDA article there is talk about what benefits are achieved with a reduction of plaque:

The cosmetic benefits from the use of these products include cleaner
and whiter teeth, less formation of unsightly tartar, cleaner
feeling mouth, smoother feeling teeth and fresher breath.

In other words, studies show that Oil Pulling helps reduce plaque.  And, plaque on teeth affects how white your teeth look.

Which Oils Whiten Teeth the Best?

All of the articles we easily found talk about using Coconut oil to whiten teeth.

But, what about other oils.

Does Sesame Oil Whiten Teeth?

The article we referenced earlier mentioned Coconut oil.  But, it also mentioned Sesame oil as being just as effective at reducing plaque that was related to gingivitis.

This additional study specifically tested Sesame oil.  The conclusions for this study backed up the other study.  The conclusion was:

CONCLUSION: The oil pulling therapy showed a reduction in
the plaque index, modified gingival scores, and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.

Does Sunflower Oil Whiten Teeth?

Sunflower Oil was also mention in this study.  One of the definitive statements regarding Sunflower Oil was:

Oil pulling with sunflower oil was found to significantly reduce
plaque index and gingival index after 45 days.

Do Other Oils Whiten Teeth?

We could not find any studies that tested the effects of Oil Pulling using Safflower, Palm, or Olive Oils.

Oil Pulling Teeth Whitening Conclusions

With the evidence above, oil pulling (specifically using coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil), reduces gingivitis and plaque.  And, one of the cosmetic side effects of the reduction of gingivitis and plaque, is cleaner and whiter teeth.

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It should be noted that none of these articles specify just how much whiter you can expect your teeth to be.  But, it does seem clear that there is some evidence that loosely links oil pulling using coconut oil to whiter teeth.

So, it seems to us that the answer to the question Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth? is:  YES

CLAIM RESULT: Indirect Evidence

  One Response to “Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth?”

  1. Wilmie,

    Thank you for the info on your product. I hope it helps others with better oral health and whiter teeth at the same time!


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