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Is Oil Pulling An Effective Therapy For Oral Health?


Is Oil Pulling An Effective Therapy For Oral Health?


You look at the mirror every morning, smile at yourself and get ready to start your day. But how often are you satisfied with what the mirror reflects?

We all brush our teeth on a daily basis, some of us, even before going to bed at night. But then, many of us still have complains about decaying tooth, yellow teeth, gum problems and what not. Until sometime, I had heard of vegetable oils only used for the purpose of cooking. But, could you guess what else it is being used for? Improving oral health. Confused? Well, I was when I first heard about it.

Apparently, vegetable oils are used for a mouth washing process called oil pulling, which if practiced regularly can improve your oral health condition. I came across a lot of online testimonies who literally swore on its benefits. And I decided to try it as well. So, let’s find out how far these claims are true and how effective it really is.


sesame oil

Oil Pulling- the Gift Of Ayurveda

Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic Indian practice that has been there for decades, and off late it has gained a lot of popularity as a dental home care remedy. It involves swishing one or two teaspoon of cold-pressed vegetable oils, typically sesame or coconut oil in your mouth for 10-15 minutes and then spitting it out. You should follow it by brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth thoroughly with clean water to get rid of any remaining germs.

Practitioners of oil pulling believe that the process pulls out toxins from the insides of your mouth, as in your teeth, gums and throat. Our mouth is a home to millions of germs and bacteria and swishing oil inside supposedly pulls those toxins together and are removed when spitted out.

However, you need to be careful while swishing, so as not to gulp any drop of it inside, or else you’ll those toxins to your stomach. The taste of the oil will take a little getting used to because when I tried if for the first time, my reflexes made me spit it out within 5 minutes. But then if you manage to stick through, you should be fine around the 3rd or 4th time.

I tried this myself for around 2 weeks and and noticed few quick changes. Not that I have any dental problem, luckily, but nevertheless, I found my teeth cleaner and smoother.

Now, that’s just my experience. However, researchers have conducted few studies on oil pulling and they have been able to discover few other benefits, which have been seconded by those who practice it.

Researched backed benefits of Oil Pulling

smiling-faceI would like to offer this practice its due credibility with whatever studies I have come across so that you don’t think twice before trying it out.

Research reveals that oil pulling regularly with sesame oil can promote anti-cavity action, reduces build up of thin layer of plaque, called biofilm, around your teeth which if too much, can cause bad breath, yellow teeth, cavities and even gingivitis, i.e. inflammation of your gums.[1]

Studies showed that oil pulling can significantly reduce your chances of having gingivitis and even reverse the condition by reducing plaque count in those who have it.[2] In fact, sesame oil has been also found to have emulsification and soap-like properties, which means they can be used as cleansers to rinse your teeth and prevent tooth decay.[3][4]

The Take Away Message

Well, these studies surely give a hint that oil pulling can be beneficial for your oral health. I haven’t given up on brushing my teeth, and neither should you. It would be wiser to use this method as a substitute in the morning or before going to bed and then follow it by brushing your teeth clean.

A small tip: Now when I do the swishing, I don’t use much force, neither do I adhere to the 20 minutes time frame. 10 minutes does it for me. Yes, I’m back on it. And what I have experienced and read so far on oil pulling, I’d like to remind you that it is better if you take it as a preventive measure, because if you are looking for treating yourself from any kind of oral disease, you would end up with nothing but just bad taste. In case of any dental problem, always book an appointment with the dentist.

Take care and Keep Smiling!


[1]Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu MS, Rathna PV, Emmadi P, Raghuraman, & Chamundeswari (2008). Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, 26 (1), 12-7 PMID: 18408265. ^Back to Top^

[1]Asokan S, Emmadi P, & Chamundeswari R (2009). Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian journal of dental research : official publication of Indian Society for Dental Research, 20 (1), 47-51 PMID: 19336860. ^Back to Top^

[3]Asokan S, Rathinasamy TK, Inbamani N, Menon T, Kumar SS, Emmadi P, & Raghuraman R (2011). Mechanism of oil-pulling therapy - in vitro study. Indian journal of dental research : official publication of Indian Society for Dental Research, 22 (1), 34-7 PMID: 21525674. ^Back to Top^

[4]Singh A, & Purohit B (2011). Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 2 (2), 64-8 PMID: 21760690. ^Back to Top^

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