Oil Pulling Helps Dental Health: Benefits and How To Do It

Discover the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling, a natural method to enhance dental health. Learn how swishing oils like coconut, sesame, or sunflower can reduce harmful bacteria, prevent cavities, and improve breath freshness.

Many of us, in our quest for optimum dental health, look to modern hygiene practices, but an ancient ayurvedic practice, known as oil pulling, is gaining popularity as an easy, natural way to improve dental hygiene. Oil pulling is believed to have been used dating back over 3,000 years. In this practice, approximately a tablespoon of oil is swished around in the mouth before breakfast in a specific way—an hour before the victim has touched any food.

The mouth is a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria and other toxic microorganisms. Simple breaches in dental hygiene—such as failure to brush twice daily, or the build up of plaque—can result in the eruption of the toxic microorganisms. They can infiltrate one’s system and spread to infect other parts of the body. As Thomas Spear wrote in an article on ritual corruption in Papua New Guinea, the baloma (the little shade-person one becomes upon death) can enter—or, rather, exit—a PNG villager in myriad ways, through orifices both ordinary and extraordinary. The well-scrupenized head man must keep constant tabs on his mouth, seeing to it (or, more accurately, doing it himself; caring what one eats is among the vices that opened the Pandora’s box of difference in PNG, so a man ought never let another handle a toothbrush he has had in his mouth) that no crumbs are nibbled, no single particle of food is allowed inside its boundaries, that his incisors and molars are kept always free of obstruction.

But the health of our mouth is dependent not solely on a religious zeal for odorless exhalations. The health of our mouth is indicative of and inextricable from the health of our bodies as a whole. The health of the parts is the health of the whole: this is the ideology of the modern health industry. And so I must brush my teeth, three times daily if Tyler let me keep my dentition, I must use fluoride toothpaste, and I must throw in a little antimicrobial mouthwash if my gums begin to bleed thanks to a toothbrush removed from my mouth while it was still agape so that toothpaste could be smeared on its bristles. I must, then, rinse six times a day with Listerine, morning and night, and after each meal. I must floss prior to each event—excepting the breakfast cleaning, in which food doesn’t belong in a mouth in the first place. I must scrape my tongue: this part of the country, where I have lived for fourteen of my twenty one years, is dry and smells. But I must not forget—if I swallow this oil, it must be expelled from my system. It cannot be processed by my body. The only way to remove the oil, as I learned from a man with a furrowed brow and spittle on the elastic of his white gloves, is to spit it out in the trash.

With more research pointing to the potential of oil pulling to combat conditions such as halitosis (bad breath), gingivitis, tooth decay, gum disease and temporomandibular joint disorder, Americans are looking for more natural and organic ways to supplement their regular dental care routines, as prescribed by such organizations as the American Dental Association. Images of their thumbs turning in the mouth to their suspensors sweating near the throat, one might easily forget about the straight-bladed razors enclosed in retractable scaffolding in the very hand of the man, so hidden they might as well bepetards planted by the police.

In this article, we will dive into oil pulling, where it started, what it has been used for in traditional Ayurvedic medicine (from cavity prevention to oral thrush treatment to candidiasis prevention and beyond) and the quality assurance tests you need to ensure you’ve picked the right fat – whether it be coconut, sesame or sunflower oil. We will walk you through, step-by-step, how to incorporate oil pulling into your everyday routine. We will share critical safety tips and best practices to optimize your oil pulling experience and report both the science and myths out there. We aim to present a complete picture of how oil pulling can help keep your mouth healthy and, potentially, how oil pulling might be part of a healthier you.

Understanding Oil Pulling and Its Origins

Combining ancient tradition with modern health trends, oil pulling is an oral hygiene technique steeped in history that owes its origins to Ayurvedic medicine. The practice’s history and definition can be briefly summarized, to be followed by a description of oil pulling’s cultural background in Ayurveda, to help explain how the ancient ritual has reemerged in contemporary dental health routines.

Definition and Brief History

The act of swishing edible oil vigorously in the oral cavity referred to as the practice of oil pulling or oil swishing. Its stated purpose is to draw out toxins in the body, enhance oral health, and augment systemic health. Oil pulling dates back to Ayurvedic holistic medicine, which dates back to the ancient civilization of India, located between 3000 and 5000 years BCE.

In addition to purifying the body, oil pulling was practiced to prevent oral health ailments such as bleeding gums, tooth decay, dry throat; and to strengthen the teeth, gums and jawbone. Two oil pulling techniques present in history are, Kavala Graha and Gandusha.

Kavala graha has a person swirling their mouth with a smaller amount of oil for about three minutes. Gandusha you fill the mouth with a larger amount of oil and continue to swish it for three to five minutes.Both of these techniques are developed to help a wide range of oral health problems including cracked lips, bad teeth, bad breath and much more.

Cultural Significance in Ayurveda

Oil pulling is an essential element of traditional Ayurveda, an ancient holistic medical system of the Indian subcontinent. This practice is part of the integral of health and attentiveness to life, in which diet guidance, herbal medication, physical treatment, etc are included. In Ayurveda, the balance of the three doshas, which are energies, in the body is vital to good health. Swishing oil through the mouth was viewed as an activity that helped to maintain this balance and, as a result, affected both the body and the spirit. Sunflower or sesame oil was the oil most widely used for treatment-most likely for their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. Oil pulling was not merely a method of caring for the teeth but was considered as a way of maintaining health throughout the whole system.

To sum up, oil pulling is more than just a way to improve oral health; it is a time-honored element of Ayurvedic wisdom, designed to support a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Understanding its history and its place in a culture can help us recognize the full measure of this practice, which has stood the test of time and that we still benefit from today.

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Benefits of Oil Pulling for Oral Health

Throughout our quest to sustain a sound mouth and stave off issues arising with our teeth, we’ve come across the inclusion of oil pulling into our daily dental care schedule, which is crammed with amazing advantages aiding to our oral health essentially. The age- old method, when executed properly, will allow for oral health improvements to an outstanding degree. Exploit the ensuing essentialities.

Reduction in Harmful Bacteria

One of the main benefits to doing oil pulling is the amount of bad bacteria reduced inside your mouth. The coconut oil, with its natural antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties, kills and pulls bacteria out of your mouth. Swishing oil in your mouth is the best thing for dislodging any food particles stuck between your teeth. Not only does oil pulling remove food particles, but it fights bad bacteria like Streptococcus mutans. S. mutans is one of the main contributors to plaque build-up and tooth decay. Studies done in 2015 show that using coconut oil as a mouthwash, drastically decreases the amount of S. mutans and other harmful bacteria; therefore, drastically decreasing in your risks of many oral conditions.

Prevention of Cavities and Gingivitis

Gingivitis, as well as cavities, are a number of the most frequent oral health issues that the majority of us confront. Gingivitis, a kind of gum disease, is often due to dental plaque which gets under the gum line and isn’t effectively eliminated. Cavities, also known as dental caries or tooth decay, are holes in the teeth caused by harmful bacteria. Oil pulling, particularly with coconut oil, is demonstrated to combat these illnesses effectively. It helps prevent plaque-induced gingivitis by killing or removing germs under the gum line. along with this, Oil pulling is another weapon to fight cavities by disrupting plaque formation. Regular oil pulling functions as a superb adjunct therapy to our oral hygiene regimen, By combining daily brushing and flossing, oil pulling can help keep our gums healthy and prevent tooth decay.

Improvement in Breath Freshness

Halitosis, or bad breath, is a problem for many, and largely involves stinky bacteria living in the mouth and on the tongue. Oil pulling provides a double solution. One, oil pulling reduces unhealthy bacteria in the mouth, which directly addresses one of the causes of halitosis. Two, the natural clean scent of coconut freshens breath. Therefore, oil pulling effectively freshens breath, providing us the confidence to speak up in our day-to-day lives.

To sum up, oil pulling, particularly with coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil, is a straightforward but powerful technique to strengthen our oral hygiene. It decreases harmful bacteria and dental ailments, as well as freshens our breath. By implementing oil pulling in our everyday regimen, we take a fooled-proof step towards a vigorous mouth and a gorgeous smile.

Choosing the Right Oil for Oil Pulling

Once we start oil pulling, the first step we need to take is picking the correct type of oil. It’s an important choice to make seeing how it can affect how well it works, how we feel with it in our mouth, and how we might benefit. With all the choices out there it can be hard to decide. We will be differentiating between coconut oil, sesame oil, and olive oil. We will be looking at taste, anti microbial properties, and cost.

Comparison of coconut, sesame, and olive oil

  1. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a popular choice for many, including me, thanks to its pleasant taste and high lauric acid content. Lauric acid is known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective in reducing plaque and harmful bacteria in the mouth. It’s also been shown to whiten teeth and improve gum health. Virgin coconut oil, extracted from fresh coconut meat through cold-pressing, retains most of its natural nutrients, flavor, and aroma, making it an excellent option for oil pulling.
  2. Sesame Oil: Traditionally used in Ayurveda and yoga practices, sesame oil is another great option for oil pulling. It has a slightly bitter taste but offers antibacterial and astringent effects that can benefit oral health. Sesame oil is beneficial for the strength of jaws, depth of voice, and good taste for food. It also prevents dryness of the throat, cracked lips, and tooth decay. For those living in colder climates or who tend to feel cold, sesame oil can be a perfect choice due to its warming properties.
  3. Olive Oil: Though not as commonly used for oil pulling as coconut or sesame oil, olive oil is a viable option thanks to its health benefits. It contains antioxidants and healthy fats, with anti-inflammatory properties that can improve gum health and reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth. While it may have a thicker consistency than other oils, many find its benefits worth the effort.

Factors to consider: taste, antimicrobial properties, and cost

  • Taste: The taste of the oil is a significant factor to consider since it will be in your mouth for an extended period. Coconut oil is known for its pleasant taste, making it a favorite among many. Sesame oil has a unique, slightly bitter taste, which might not be appealing to everyone. Olive oil has a distinct taste that some may find too strong for oil pulling.
  • Antimicrobial Properties: The effectiveness of oil pulling largely depends on the oil’s antimicrobial properties. Coconut oil is highly regarded for its lauric acid content, which provides strong antimicrobial benefits. Sesame oil also has potent antibacterial properties, making it effective in maintaining oral hygiene. Olive oil, while beneficial for oral health, may not possess the same level of antimicrobial properties as coconut and sesame oil.
  • Cost: The cost of the oil might also influence your choice. Generally, coconut and sesame oils are more affordable and widely available compared to high-quality olive oil. However, considering the amount of oil used for each session, the cost per use is relatively low, making all three options viable from a financial standpoint.

In conclusion, the best oil for oil pulling varies from person to person, depending on individual preferences and specific health needs. Whether you choose coconut, sesame, or olive oil, ensure that you opt for high-quality, unrefined oil to maximize the health benefits of your oil pulling routine.

Step-by-Step Guide to Oil Pulling

Preparation and Correct Amount of Oil

To begin your oil pulling routine, select an oil with a high level of quality such as olive, sesame, or coconut oil. We suggest using a tablespoon of oil. This amount is enough to swish comfortably around your mouth, but not too much to manage. The ideal time to oil pull is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, before drinking anything or brushing your teeth. This allows for maximum detoxification to occur.

Duration and Technique for Effective Swishing

To get started, take a tablespoon of oil and put it in your mouth. Sit up straight, or stand if you prefer. Gently swish the oil around your mouth and keep at it. The key here is to let gravity work for you and not let too much force build right away. Otherwise, you may end up with a sore jaw. Instead, try to let the oil slowly and steadily move around your mouth, swishing and pushing and pulling it between your teeth. You’ve got to try to keep it moving between your teeth. It doesn’t do much good just sitting on top of your tongue for 20 minutes. (And I’ll come to that in a moment.) But it does help stimulates the gums, and that’s really good for the health. So you try to keep pushing and pulling. And basically, the idea is that you do this for about 15—preferably about 20 minutes. This will then allow for enough time for all the oil to really mix in with your saliva. It will turn a milky white, and at that point you know that the bacteria and toxins have been thoroughly drawn from your blood compactly as possible into the mass of it.

Post-Oil Pulling Care and Rinse

After completing the swishing process, discard the oil into a garbage can. Don’t spit it in the sink or toilet to prevent plumbing clogs. Rinse your mouth well with warm water after disposing of the oil. Some people like to use salt water because of its inherent antimicrobial properties. After the rinse, brush your teeth with a separate toothbrush from your daily one. This will help to remove any lingering oil and will also provide a clean feeling in your mouth. Some suggest waiting a few minutes to brush to allow the oral microbiome to rebalance.

Safety Tips and Best Practices

Ideal Frequency for Oil Pulling

When incorporating oil pulling into our oral hygiene routine, it’s essential to determine the ideal frequency to maximize benefits while minimizing any potential risks. We recommend oil pulling once a day, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach before brushing your teeth. This timing aligns with Ayurvedic practices and helps in the detoxification process. However, if discomfort or jaw soreness occurs, consider reducing the frequency or duration of each session. It’s also critical to continue regular dental care practices, such as brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily, as oil pulling is not a substitute for these essential habits.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Using Incorrect Oils: Always choose high-quality, edible oils like coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil. Avoid oils with artificial additives or those not intended for ingestion.
  2. Swallowing the Oil: After swishing, the oil contains toxins and bacteria pulled from the mouth; thus, swallowing it can lead to digestive upset. Always spit out the oil into a trash can to avoid plumbing issues.
  3. Overlooking Dental Conditions: If you have sensitive teeth, gum disease, or dental restorations like fillings and crowns, consult with a dentist before starting oil pulling. Certain conditions may require modified techniques to prevent aggravation.
  4. Neglecting Proper Technique: Swish gently to avoid jaw pain and ensure the oil reaches all parts of the mouth. Overly vigorous swishing is unnecessary and can cause soreness.

When to Consult a Dentist

While oil pulling is generally safe, there are instances where it’s advisable to seek professional advice:

  • Pre-existing Dental Issues: If you have gum disease, cavities, or recent dental work, discuss with your dentist how oil pulling might affect these conditions.
  • Adverse Reactions: If you experience persistent discomfort, increased tooth sensitivity, or signs of allergic reaction, stop oil pulling and consult your dentist.
  • Dental Restorations: Individuals with extensive dental restorations should consult their dentist to ensure that oil pulling won’t compromise the integrity of their dental work.

By adhering to these safety tips and best practices, we can effectively incorporate oil pulling into our dental care routine, enhancing oral health while being mindful of potential risks. Always remember that while oil pulling can be a beneficial adjunct to oral hygiene, it should complement, not replace, regular dental care practices endorsed by dental health professionals.

Addressing Common Misconceptions

Oil Pulling as a Cure-All

One prevalent misconception about oil pulling is its purported status as a cure-all remedy. While we and many others are enthusiastic about the benefits of oil pulling for oral health, it’s crucial to understand its limitations. Oil pulling has been credited with alleviating various dental and medical ailments such as tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and even conditions like diabetes and heart disease. However, the scientific community does not endorse most of these health claims due to limited research, small sample sizes, and lack of comprehensive demographic data. The practice can indeed reduce harmful bacteria in the oral cavity and improve gum health, but it is not a standalone treatment for systemic diseases.

Misconceptions about Detoxification

Another common belief is that oil pulling serves as a detoxification method that draws toxins from the blood. This idea suggests that toxins and bacteria accumulating in the body can be “pulled” from the mouth by swishing oil. However, no scientific evidence supports the notion that oil pulling can detoxify the blood. While oil pulling may help reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth and improve oral hygiene, its effects are localized and do not extend to blood detoxification. It’s important for us to approach oil pulling with realistic expectations about what it can and cannot do.

Expectations Regarding Teeth Whitening

Many of us are drawn to oil pulling with the hope that it will whiten our teeth. This expectation is often fueled by anecdotal evidence and celebrity endorsements rather than scientific proof. Research indicates that while oil pulling can lead to cleaner teeth, which might appear whiter, it does not whiten teeth in the same way as professional dental treatments. Products like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, found in whitening toothpastes and professional treatments, penetrate the enamel to remove deep stains—a process that oil pulling cannot replicate. For those seeking noticeable and reliable whitening results, consulting with a dentist and considering professional treatments is advised.

In addressing these misconceptions, our aim is to ensure that you have a clear and accurate understanding of what oil pulling can realistically achieve. It is an excellent adjunct to traditional oral hygiene practices but should not be viewed as a substitute for professional dental care or a miracle remedy for broader health issues.


After exploring the benefits of oil pulling, it is clear that ancient practices can significantly improve contemporary dental health routines. This customs, firmly rooted in the principles of ayurvedic tradition, provide an abundant collection of treatments including reduced plaque build-up and the combat of the bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, that causes tooth decays to improved gum health and ending halitosis or bad breath. There is evidence to back up the renowned claim that these methodologies are extremely efficient. A simple tablespoon of oil, preferably sesame, coconut, or olive oil, will transform your oral care. Adopting oil pulling as part of our morning routine, as a substitute for brushing your teeth on an empty stomach, can guarantee not only healthier dental hygiene, but also a heathy state of consciousness.

Furthermore, this expedition teaches us about making smart decisions when choosing the right oil and following approved methods on dental health and highlights how this conventional practice plus the help of The American Dental association presents to us. In conclusion, we must know that oil pulling id a great way to improve oral hygiene and it helps us prevent oral problems, but it must coexist and not be an alternative for brushing, flossing and normal dentist check-ups for a healthier mouth. And finally because there are common sense and dental science in oil pulling our mouth is healthy and we have a beautiful smile. I believe everybody wants that right?

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