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Home > Health Hub > Article > Oil Pulling: A holy grail for Oral Health

Oil Pulling: A holy grail for Oral Health

Medikoe Wellness Expert

Medikoe Wellness Expert

  80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru     Oct 18, 2018

   4 min     



Did you know that you can probably have whiter, healthier teeth and get relieved of bad breath if you swish some oil in the mouth for a period of time? It sounds a little vague and even gross, but a lot of people swear by it. This process is termed oil pulling, and it is a holistic dental procedure.

People have been practising oil pulling as an additional step to their everyday oral hygiene routine. Oil pulling is a typical folk remedy originated from India that includes swishing oil in your mouth. It has become more popular in other regions for its alleged purported health benefits.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil Pulling, also called oil swishing and is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment performed to maintain oral health. It involves rinsing the mouth with cold-pressed and extra virgin oil specific for your Dosha for an extended period of time. In the Ayurvedic text, the Charak Samhita is also known as kavata gandoosha or Kavala Graha. 

An Ayurvedic healthy oral hygiene regime includes the following:

  • Tongue cleaning to expel ama

  • Oil pulling using cold-pressed oil

  • Gentle brushing using herbal toothpaste or herbal tooth powder

  • Flossing

  • Saltwater rinsing with warm water

How to perform Oil Pulling?

When you wake up in the morning, take one or two tablespoons of any oil (preferably coconut oil) and swish it around your mouth for about 20 minutes, like when you use your mouthwash every day. Make sure that you perform oil pulling first thing after you wake up in the morning on a vacant stomach before brushing your teeth. Do not do it as vigorously, considering you will be doing it for quite long, and your jaws can get tired.

Lightly swirl the oil around your mouth and suck it through the spaces between your teeth. Make sure you do not swallow any of it, or you will only be ingesting the nasty things in your mouth accumulated by the oil.

When you are done, spit all the oil into the trash. Do not spit it in the sink, or it may clog up your pipes when the oil congeals. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water, followed by regular brushing and flossing.

It is recommended by some people that you brush your teeth instantly after an oil pulling. Some people, however, believe that it is safer not to brush immediately to allow the preservation of good bacteria and the rebalancing of the oral microbiome in your mouth.

Each way, it is recommended to use a separate toothbrush following oil pulling to the one used for daily brushing.

What are the different oils for different Dosha's?

Research indicates that oil pulling can help in killing bacteria in your mouth and improve your dental health to a great extent. Some alternative medicine experts even claim that it can help in the treatment of several diseases. A few kinds of oil also contain properties that can typically reduce bacteria and inflammation to promote oral health.

Coconut oil is a deeply absorbable oil with numerous health benefits, including fighting harmful bacteria and reducing inflammation. It is also edible, so it has negligible risks for oral use and oil pulling. It also holds a helpful fatty acid profile, containing immense amounts of lauric acid, which possesses antimicrobial properties. You can also use sesame oil but make sure you're not allergic to it.

Never use hydrogenated, refined vegetable oils for oil pulling.

What are the Benefits of Oil Pulling?

  • Reduce oral plaque.

  • Whiten your teeth.

  • It reduces halitosis.

  • Reduce harmful bacteria

  • Reducing bad breath

  • Reduce plaque and the chances of gingivitis.

  • Reducing inflammation and improving gum health.

  • Strengthens teeth, gum and even your jaw.

  • Act as a preventative shield against cavities and bleeding gum.

  • Used for treating TMJ and soreness in the jaw.

Precautions for Oil Pulling

After oil pulling is complete, always spit out the leftover and never swallow it, and if you are allergic to sesame seed oil, then you can also use coconut oil, olive oil or sunflower oil.

Are there Side Effects to Oil Pulling?

Almost any side effect of oil pulling is not really harmful; however, it can cause you some discomfort. This is probably caused due to improperly swishing the oil or unintentionally ingesting some of it. These side effects include an excessively dry mouth, stiff jaw, upset stomach, and nausea.

The greatest concern about improper oil pulling is lipoid pneumonia, where the person may unexpectedly inhale the dirty oil, which results in entering the lungs and causing inflammation.

Does Oil Pulling Actually Work?

Even though there is a ton of anecdotal proof extolling the powers of oil pulling, there is no scientific proof confirming that it really works. A few studies have been carried out on oil pulling; however, most of the results have been unsettling.


Nevertheless, oil pulling seems to be an excellent complementary approach to enhance your oral hygiene. It is definitely worth giving it a shot.

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Tags:  Ayurveda,Dental treatments,oral hygiene ,oil pulling,Oil Pulling, oil swishing, Tongue cleaning, coconut oil, bad breath, gum health, bleeding gums, flossing, dental health

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