Coconut Oil Pulling Superior to Chemicals for Oral Health

April 14, 2015 Updated: May 21, 2015

A new study this year has proven for the first time that the oral use of coconut oil is effective in reducing plaque related to gingivitis, a common form of inflammation in the gum tissue of the mouth that occurs in response to bacterial biofilms (known as plaque) adhering to the surfaces of the teeth. Gingivitis can lead to a more serious oral condition known as periodontal disease.

Researchers decided to test the hypothesis that the increasingly common practice of “oil pulling or oil swishing therapy” is as effective for maintaining oral health today as it has been believed for centuries. They published their findings in the Nigerian Medical Journal in a report titled “Effect of Coconut Oil in Plaque-Related Gingivitis, a Preliminary Report.”  

Oil pulling is a traditional therapy that stretches at least as far back as 1,500 years, when it was mentioned in the early Ayurvedic text, the “Charaka Samhita.” For more information, see our article “Oil Pulling: Ancient Secret for Optimal Health.” 

Yet traditional oil pulling was believed performed mainly with sesame oil. Available published studies also use sesame seed oil, not coconut. This study aimed to fill the data gap on coconut oil.


The study enrolled 60 subjects between 16–18 years of age with plaque-induced gingivitis. No control was used. Rather, “the study was designed to compare the baseline values and the post-intervention values in a single group performing coconut oil pulling in addition to their oral hygiene routine.”  The subjects were measured for plaque and gingival indices at baseline (day 0), and then on days 1, 7, 15, and 30 after the oil pulling was started.


The results were found to be statistically significant, indicating that coconut oil is an effective treatment for reducing gingivitis symptoms and plaque buildup on the teeth.

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