Updated: May 30
Oil pulling is rooted in an Indian natural medicine practice known as Ayurvedic medicine. It uses natural oils to clean and detoxify teeth and gums to maintain good oral health.
According to a review published in the Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine, oil pulling is claimed to cure as many as 30 systemic diseases ranging from headaches to asthma. When done routinely, oil pulling "enhances the senses, maintains clarity, brings about a feeling of freshness, and invigorates the mind."
How To Practice Oil Pulling
Take a tablespoon of sesame or coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 10-20 minutes. It's that simple!
Other oils can also be effective, as long as they are not chemically created (such as soybean, vegetable, or canola oil).
If your jaw aches or becomes tired quickly, you may be swishing too hard.
When you're finished, spit the oil into the trash to avoid it resolidifying in your pipes and causing clogs. Do not swallow the oil. Rinse your mouth with salt water for a few seconds afterwards.
Don't brush your teeth afterwards in order to avoid removing the biofilm created by the oil. If you feel the need to brush your teeth and tongue, do it before pulling.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
1. Reduces bacteria that cause cavities.
The main culprit behind tooth decay is Streptococcus mutans. In nearly every clinical trial, oil pulling with sesame or coconut oil performed as well as chlorhexidine, the main ingredient in most mouthwashes, at reducing overgrowth of S. mutans.
2. Helps to prevent gingivitis.
The inflammation and tenderness of the gums of gingivitis is caused by plaque buildup. In a 2009 study, the amount of plaque in the mouth was reduced just as much by oil pulling as by chlorhexidine.
3. Kills bad breath/oral thrush.
Swishing oil helps to reduce bad bacteria as well as killing yeast, helping with halitosis and Candida overgrowth in the mouth (oral thrush). For thrush, coconut oil can be particularly helpful due to its specific anti-fungal properties.
4. Whitens teeth.
Due to the more balanced bacterial environment in the mouth and the removal of plaque buildup, oil pulling can result in a whiter, more dazzling smile!
The full benefit of oil pulling may take up to 3 weeks to appear, depending on how often you choose to do it. For those looking to improve their oral health and appearance, oil pulling is a natural, non-chemical way to start!
Singh A, Purohit B. "Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health." (April-June 2011). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/
S Asokan, J Rathan, MS Muthu, PV Rathna, P Emmadi, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari. "Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study." (March 2008). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18408265
Wellness Mama. "Oil Pulling for Oral Health." (April 25, 2018). Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/7866/oil-pulling/