Oil pulling

Oil Pulling - Benefits and How to Do

Going by the books, Oil Pulling is the method of swishing oil in the mouth for about half an hour to remove harmful microbes and promote dental hygiene. This method is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy, practised to pull out the toxins present in the mouth. Research is ongoing to find out the why and what of oil pulling. But for all we know, it works because it addresses the root cause of infection and kills the infection causing microbes. It also stimulates saliva production, which too helps in the process of disinfecting the teeth and gums.

How Does Oil Pulling Work?

Let's discuss in detail about this method. In this method, we swish a spoonful of oil in the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. The oil is supposed to be applied thoroughly all across your mouth covering the tongue, gums and teeth. In these 15 - 20 minutes the oil mixes with the saliva and slowly turns into a white liquid. This transformation indicates that the oil has successfully absorbed the toxins and must be spat out to avoid the absorption of toxins in the mouth, again. The oils that are most likely to show the best results are sesame oil and extra virgin coconut oil. Though sesame oil is more beneficial among the two. You can try swishing both of these oils alternately and check what works best for you.

What Are The Benefits Of Oil Pulling?

Some of the benefits that have been experienced by practising this method are

1. Reduces Bad Breath

A lot of people face the problem of bad breath also referred to as Halitosis. There are a few reasons behind this condition. It can be caused because of infections, poor dental hygiene, tongue coating, etc. If you too suffer from this problem, you should definitely practice oil pulling. Chlorhexidine is the mouthwash that is recommended for treating the bad breath. Oil pulling has been found to be as effective as chlorhexidine.

Also Read : 15 Helpful Home Remedies for Bad Breath

2. Kills Harmful Bacteria In Your Mouth

Our mouth can be home to 350 different kinds of bacteria. Some of which are harmful. By practising oil pulling a maximum number of these harmful microbes can be stripped out. Studies have shown that oil pulling is as beneficial as any other mouthwash. Besides, it is 100% natural and less likely to produce any side effects. It significantly reduces the number of harmful bacteria infesting in our mouth and promotes oral health. It has also been found to be useful in treating some of the oral conditions.

3. Helps Prevent Cavities

Cavities, also called as caries are the holes formed inside of a tooth. The major cause of cavities eating food containing too much sugar. Cavities feed the harmful bacteria and grow deeper with time as the bacteria eats away the tooth. Cavities, ultimately cause tooth decay. Plaque too can cause cavities. As oil pulling is antibacterial. It succeeds in stripping off the bacteria from the teeth and heals the cavities.

4. Inexpensive And Easy To Add To Your Routine

Undoubtedly it is the most inexpensive way to prevent and cure tooth decay. When you make use of mouthwash, you are required to purchase separate mouthwash which can be expensive. Whereas, for oil pulling you don’t need to purchase any separate product as we have the sesame oil and coconut oils easily available at our home. Besides, it is easy to practice. You can practice it once every night before bed to disinfect the mouth from the toxins that might have developed through the day.

5. Reduces Inflammation And Improves Gum Health

Gingivitis is a gum disease which is caused by the development of plaque (A thin layer infested with harmful bacteria) over the tooth which causes inflammation. The symptoms of this disease are swollen and red gums. Streptococcus mutans is a bacteria that found inside the oral cavity. This bacteria causes tooth decay and inflammation. The coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and when used for oil pulling shows effective results. It reduces inflammation and promotes gum health by preventing the formation of plaque. This is how it cures gingivitis.

6. Strengthens The Teeth, Gums And Jaws

There is hardly any evidence backing this benefit of oil pulling. But, some people have observed that oil pulling has strengthened their teeth, gums and jaw. The reason behind this is still being researched.

7. Improves The Digestion

Some people have found oil pulling to be effective for improving the digestion as well. There is no evidence of why it improves the digestion. The benefits of oil pulling are still being researched.

8. Many Other Benefits

Besides promoting oral health, oil pulling sometimes also helps to improve the overall health by pulling out the toxins in the body and mouth. Scientists are still trying to find out the reason behind its ability to improve overall health. It is also helpful for teeth whitening.

Also Read : How to Whiten Teeth - 15 Natural Ways

Different Types Oils For Oil Pulling

The two of the most recommended types of oil that can be used for oil pulling are the:
  • Sesame oil
  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Olive oil

Though sesame oil is found to be more beneficial. But, coconut oil and olive can also be used for oil pulling as they are beneficial in their own ways. Both of these oils offer unique benefits and can be tried on an alternate basis to experience the best results.

Who Can Try Oil Pulling?

Anyone can try oil pulling whether they are children or a pregnant woman. The Survey shows that it is less likely to have any side effects. Although in the case of children, make sure they do not ingest it as it can be lethal. I would recommend that let only those children practice who are old enough to hold it in their mouths for long without ingesting it. Pregnant women can also try oil pulling as it is harmless. It is considered safe, particularly after the first three months. They can try it, but make sure to consult your doctor before starting the practice. People suffering from oral conditions can also try it after they confirm with their dentists. Though most dentists are happy to suggest oil pulling as a remedy for many oral conditions like tooth decay, bleeding gums, etc.

How To Do Oil Pulling?

It is a very simple procedure. Let me walk you through the step by step procedure.


  1. Take one tablespoon of the oil you will be using and swish over your tongue, teeth and gums evenly.
  2. Leave the oil in your mouth for 15 to 20.
  3. After a duration of 15 or 20 minutes, spit out the oil.
  4. Now rinse your mouth with warm water to get rid of every last bit of the oil.
  5. If you like you can brush your teeth after the procedure.

Caution: Do not ingest the oil.

Also Read : The Correct Way to Brush Your Teeth (Infographic)

What Are The Risks And Side Effects Of Oil Pulling?

Although oil pulling is a natural phenomenon, it too has some risks that should be taken care of. Let’s see what they are. If you think that you can replace brushing with the oil pulling then you are wrong. Oil pulling definitely promotes oral health, but can’t be used as a replacement for brushing. The oils that are used for oil purity are not completely edibles as they are not tested for purity. Apart from the nutrients, they might contain hints of some of the substances that can be lethal for us. Oil pulling can also cause lipoid pneumonia if the oil gets to the lungs. It might upset your stomach too.


Some of the frequently asked questions by people are

1. Can Oil Pulling Help Remineralize Teeth?

Oil pulling alone is not responsible for remineralizing of teeth. This factor depends on the type of oil you use. As some oils are known to possess more minerals than the other, therefore the use of such oils might replenish the teeth with minerals.

2. Should People With Fillings Try Oil Pulling?

There is not really any research to know whether or not the people with fillings try oil pulling. So, if you want to go ahead with the idea, don’t forget to consult your dentist.

3. Can I Swallow The Oil After Oil Pulling?

No, one must not swallow the oil as it can cause damage to the lungs and even upset your stomach. It is recommended to spit the oil in the bathroom because if you spit it in the sink, there are chances that it forms a film over the sink.

4. Can Oil Pulling Help Bad Breath?

Yes, oil pulling has been found to be amazingly effective at curing the bad breath because it has the ability to strip out the harmful bacteria from the mouth.




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