As someone who loves the feel of a fresh mouth but admittedly dreads the process of achieving such, I’m always on the lookout for innovative oralcare to liven up the experience. In the past year alone, I’ve gotten a fancy electric toothbrush and flosser, upgraded my toothpaste and even tried an LED whitening kit.
As much as I love these products, though, I’ve still been on the hunt for a stellar mouthwash—one that’s more enjoyable than the gum-stinging drugstore options we’re all so accustomed to. (Because let’s face it: Even the alcohol-free ones aren’t super wonderful). So when I came across the unconventional GuruNanda Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil mouthwash ($28 for pack of two), I was intrigued. Here’s why this product sparked my interest—and whether or not it’s earned a top spot in my daily routine.
What sets Gurunanda Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil apart from traditional mouthwash
GuruNanda’s Coconut + Mint Oil Pulling Oil isn’t a traditional mouthwash—it’s a natural alternative made with just two ingredients: smooth MCT liquid coconut oil and 100 percent pure peppermint essential oil. Together, these ingredients work to neutralize and remove oral bacteria while supporting your teeth and gums in the process.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic tradition that involves swishing an oil through the teeth for up to 20 minutes. As Marc Lowenberg, DDS, cosmetic dentist at Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor in NYC, once explained to Well+Good, oil pulling “has been shown to reduce inflammation by combining the fat-soluble toxins found in the mouth (a byproduct of bacterial dental plaque) with sesame, sunflower, or coconut oil. Results of oil pulling include fresher breath, whiter teeth, and reduction of bleeding gums while flossing.”
In GuruNanda’s mouthwash, the oil used comes from coconut. “Coconut oil, when pulled, acts as a ‘soap’ and cleans teeth and gums from unwanted buildup,” says holistic and functional dentist Dmitry Dolgov, DMD of The Dentist Lounge in Santa Monica, California. “Peppermint has antibacterial/antiseptic properties that will help fight harmful germs and bad breath.”
It’s this minimalist formulation that sets GuruNanda apart from drugstore brands. “Traditional mouthwashes have many different artificial colors, additives, and sweeteners that can be harmful to the oral microbiome,” says Dr. Dolgov. “Abrasive compounds such as alcohols and peroxides can also commonly be found in [traditional] mouthwashes—these can be too aggressive for our microbiome, killing both good and bad bacteria, shifting us to dysbiosis. A good mouthwash helps address inflammation and promote beneficial bacteria rather than destroying everything in its path.”
While GuruNanda’s Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil seems to fit this description, Dr. Dolgov admits that it does have its shortcomings. “A difference also worth mentioning is the mechanism in which oil pulling and mouthwashes differ,” he says. “There are good mouthwashes out there that contain more natural substances and help remineralize teeth—oils do not have these ingredients. They may help support a healthy oral microbiome that can eventually lead to healing teeth but the lack of hydroxyapatite or fluoride makes this process very slow to restore decayed lesions located in the enamel.”
The science behind it
Part of what intrigued me so much about the GuruNanda Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil is the fact that it’s been studied by researchers. In a single-blind crossover clinical trial executed by Ellipse Analytics, participants used the GuruNanda Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil twice daily after brushing their teeth for one week, then two different competitor mouthwashes for one week each. Volunteers reported a higher perception of whitening, breath freshness, and mouth cleanliness, as well as less dental sensitivity from using GuruNanda. As someone who loves having fresh breath, I knew I had to give it a try.
GuruNanda Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil put to the test
The GuruNanda Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil comes with a measuring cup to easily pour out a tablespoon’s worth of the product. While it smells extremely minty, it has a surprisingly subtle flavor which, in my opinion, made it less satisfying to use. Even after swishing around for two minutes, as directed, my mouth didn’t feel super fresh—I could still taste the aftereffects of coffee in the back of my mouth. (Perhaps that’s why the brand says to brush your teeth after pulling.) Either way, the product didn’t burn at all, so there is that benefit—but it’s not enough to keep me reaching for it.
The brand suggests working up to 10 minutes of swishing per day, so it’s possible my breath would feel fresher if I committed to that—as well as if I used it habitually for three weeks straight. But in all honesty, I can’t see myself ever doing that because the oily texture feels unnatural to gargle with and, without the familiar burn or bold flavor, it feels unsatisfying to use. Additionally, a longer swish time would offer more time for the oil to accidentally dribble out the corner of my mouth, potentially staining my shirt in the process. That’s one of the downsides of pulling oil—it might help fade teeth discoloration but it can stain fabric. Because of this, I won’t be keeping it in my daily routine.
Some things to keep in mind
Although GuruNanda’s Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil has its perks, Dr. Dolgov points out that it may not be the best choice for daily use. “All things considered, essential oils may be a good way to control acute infection/inflammation but one should be careful with prolonged everyday use,” he says. That’s because just like with the alcohols in traditional mouthwashes, essential oils like peppermint oil don’t only kill bad bacteria, but the good ones we need as well. “It is best to ask your dentist,” he says.
Additionally, Dr. Dolgov says that the GuruNanda Pulling Oil may be marketed for whitening, but the process of oil pulling alone doesn’t whiten teeth. “Oil pulling does not whiten teeth—it may improve the appearance of some areas by removing external stains caused by bacteria but it does not have any whitening properties,” he says.
That said, if your main goal is attacking bad breath in a natural way and you’re willing to commit to using it for up to 10 minutes at a time, GuruNanda’s Coconut + Mint Pulling Oil could make a smart addition to your oralcare routine.
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