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Oil Pulling Benefits – What is Oil Pulling, Anyway?

Mike Barrett
June 10th, 2012
Updated 09/13/2014 at 4:10 pm
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coconutoil4 265x165 Oil Pulling Benefits What is Oil Pulling, Anyway?Most people are at least aware of the idea behind eating certain foods, exercising, and avoiding toxic chemicals to maintain overall health. Indeed, consuming powerful, health-boosting foods and avoiding unhealthy junk is a great way to stay healthy, but there are also some very specific techniques which can be utilized to achieve numerous health benefits. Among these techniques is a lesser known one called oil pulling. What is oil pulling, anyway – and what are the oil pulling benefits?

What is Oil Pulling, Anyway?

Used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is an Indian remedy used primarily to enhance oral health and cleanse the body. Thankfully, the process of oil pulling is actually quite simple, harmless, and very inexpensive. Simply take one tablespoon of a pure, organic oil and swish it around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Move the oil around your mouth through sipping, sucking, and essentially pulling through your teeth. After rinsing, spit out the oil, thoroughly rinse your mouth out with water, and consume 2-3 glasses of water (purified if possible).

During this process, the oil mixes with the saliva, creating a thin, white liquid. Swishing activates the enzymes, and the enzymes draw toxins out of the blood. More specifically, lipids in the oil help to extract toxins from the saliva of the mouth. As you swish the oil around your mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue, the oil continues to absorb toxins while later turning thick and white. At this point, the oil becomes toxic; this is why spitting the oil out instead of swallowing it is an important last step, as you don’t want to reabsorb the toxins. While you can do this process anytime during the day, it is most beneficial upon rising, before eating or brushing your teeth.

While some individuals have had some success by using oils such as coconut and olive, the most popular and effective oils by far to use for oil pulling are sesame and sunflower.

Oil Pulling Benefits

As mentioned, the primary reasons for oil pulling is to remove bacteria, parasites and other toxins from your teeth and mucus membranes, and detoxify. One study showcases the oil pulling benefits on the oral level, where oil pulling with sesame oil was shown to reduce the amount of streptococcus mutans in both teeth plaque and mouth saliva, and boost overall health. Another study also shows how oil pulling can result in a significant reduction in total bacteria count.

As reported by Dr. Group of Global Healing Center, oil pulling benefits on an oral level also include:

  • Overall strengthening of the teeth and gums and jaws.
  • Prevention of diseases of the gums and mouth, such as cavities and gingivitis.
  • Prevention of overall tooth decay
  • Prevention for bad breath
  • Potential holistic remedy for bleeding gums
  • Prevention of dryness of the lips, mouth and throat.
  • Possible holistic treatment for TMJ and general soreness in the jaw area.

In addition to the benefits of oil pulling surrounding oral health, this ancient therapy also has a number of positive effects on the body. According to an article previously published on The Hindu Business Online (but seems to have been moved or removed), one doctor, Dr. F. Karsch, M.D., presented a paper to the All-Ukrainian Association outlining rather incredible possibilities oil pulling is capable of. Going by Dr. Karsch, oil pulling benefits can help with almost any illness or chronic condition, including:

Mouth & gum disease; stiff joints; allergies; asthma; high blood sugar; constipation; migraines; bronchitis; eczema; heart, kidney, lung diseases; leukemia; arthritis; meningitis; insomnia; menopause (hormonal issues); cancer; AIDS; chronic infections; varicose veins; high blood pressure; diabetes; cracked heels; acne, arthritis; bronchitis; dermatitis; sinusitis; and many more.

Whether you choose to use oil pulling to help treat other conditions or not, the benefits of oil pulling surrounding oral health and detoxification certainly make the therapy worthwhile. And excitingly, you now are one of the small amount of people who know’s the answer to: what is oil pulling, anyway?

Additional Sources:

Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine



About Mike Barrett:
2.thumbnail Oil Pulling Benefits What is Oil Pulling, Anyway? Google Plus Profile |Mike is the co-founder, editor, and researcher behind Natural Society. Studying the work of top natural health activists, and writing special reports for top 10 alternative health websites, Mike has written hundreds of articles and pages on how to obtain optimum wellness through natural health.

From around the web:

  • David Kuriny

    Can you use extra virgin olive oil?


    I’ve been doing oil pulling for a few months, with organic coconut oil from trader def whitened my teeth, makes my mouth feel clean and fresh, but i have lost a teeny white filling, which was up near my gumline. the first week i used it i could feel the “edge” of the filling, like the stuff around it that was filling the cracks came out…but i wont’ stop doing this, it kept me from catching flu/cold from customers all winter…definitely DO SPIT IN TRASH, and then i use tongue scraper/cleaner afterwards, you won’t believe how much stays stuck in tongue/mouth. a very healthy habit, and i’ve learned to set a timer for 20 minutes, so that i’m consistent…use the same spoon in my coffee afterwards, to add a hint to my coffee for health!

  • annah

    Gums stopped bleeding and losing weight

  • Shar

    I have been doing the oil pulling for what appears to be an abscess in one of my teeth.
    It worked wonders once before so I’m hoping this will avoid a trip to the dentist.

  • The Guy Who Agrees

    Right? When I first saw this, my first thought was that it was some kind of DIY method for pulling your teeth out using oil.

  • edar

    Job to find a flouride free toothpaste nowadays

  • Anna

    I have been oil pulling for a little more than 8 months (not continuously, but try to do it 5-10 times per month). I had my cleaning appointment with hygienist (it's been 8 months since my last one) and she was surprised how little plaque I had and how white my teeth were (I drink tea and coffee and usually my teeth colour was not that white). I also started using homemade tooth paste (baking soda+coconut oil+peppermint oil). So, I think the 2 methods really helped me to improve the state of my teeth and gums.

  • Shanda

    It sounded strange to me at first but I love oil pulling with coconut oil. I do it while I'm showering and getting ready in the morning. My teeth are whiter and the white coating on my tongue has disappeared.

  • dion

    why not just call it oil rinsing? Everyone in the world will understand that.

  • Lara

    I have been oil pulling just with olive oil and it works great, I pull for 15-20mins each night cause I don’t have time in the morning and I top it off by rinsing thoroughly then brushing my teeth with a clean toothbrush with no toothpaste!!! on my first pull I had whiter teeth but now its amazing! Also my acne has improved and so has my general health!!! Amazing!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      I love you laura

  • Rocky

    Oil pulling is a great toxin remover but if you have a mouth full of silver filling like I do you should probably consider changing them out. For the past 20 years I’ve had chronic fatigue and other ailments which is probably a direct result of the mercury fillings. I finally have the courage to have them replaced since they seem to be breaking down. New filling no longer have mercury. I’m on the road to better health and am very excited.

    • Katrina

      New silver fillings don’t or just the white ones? I have both and eventually want to replace the silver with white but don’t have money to and it’s only been in a few years…maybe 6?

  • Fatimah D

    Been doing this for a month now, initial changes …. on pimples around my chin are all gone, despite the normal monthly period. I would normally have acne issues few days before my period comes and this time, it had not come, facial skin is better, and I terrific of it, is that am wearing braces and each morning for me to wake up to some uncomfortable smell and taste in my mouth but now is different. I wake up, go straight and gurgle for 20mins of sesame oil …gurgle back with water and after a while brush my teeth …so refreshing :)
    Thank you for sharing :)

  • neetu gupta

    after i started oil pulling besides having cleaner teeth i have noticed that my teeth have strengthened and now i am able to chew without the pain. i would definitely recommend oil pulling.

  • catkins

    The bacteria are streptococcus mutans not mutants. Fillings and crowns–unless they're temporaries–are permanently filled+cemented and would not be affected by swishing oil. In fact, if crowns need to be removed, unless they are leaking or loose for other reasons like occlusal trauma or decay, a dentist often has to use a drill to cut into pieces and remove. You need to manually disrupt the biofilm/bacteria colonies daily with a soft bristle toothbrush+floss. While it can be a beneficial adjunct to your oral hygiene routine, the oil doesn't dissolve plaque or replace brushing+flossing. Happy pulling, folks.

  • Rahul

    i do this 1st thing in the morning with sesame oil. I don't brush after that as I don't feel need for it. Its important to clean your tongue with tongue cleaner after this as most of the oil/residue will get placed on the tongue….use warm water to rinse ya mouth after this and you're good to go..



  • Sonja

    I have a mouthful of fillings and two crowns. Is this something I can still do ?

    • LCMR

      I haven't tried it yet but my parents both do and my dad has fillings, crowns, and caps but I don't thing he does it for 20 minutes. My mom has fillings and does it from 10-30 minutes.

  • Sue h

    Does your mouth fill up with saliva? How do you hold it all in your mouth for 20 minutes?

    • jane

      I read the paper,make the beds,do household chores,etc.20 minutes goes by in a flash when you preoccupy yourself

  • c.elangovan

    can oil pulling help in vascular headache and trigiminal neuralgia

  • Maria

    Is this supposed to be done for a certain period of time, as a cure, or endlessly?

    I have never heard of it, but will definitely try it.

    Appreciative of an answer.

    • Molly

      From what I've heard it is supposed to be done endlessly. The first few days will be the worst because of the toxins being removed. You could also do it several times a week if you don't want to do it everyday.

  • Scotty

    Yeh Nathan your a prick

  • meeka

    This is really helpful and interesting I'd like to try this.

  • Adele Lagaret

    Ever since I've been "Oil Pulling" I noticed positive results immediately! I'm using 'organic unrefine sesame oil' and can't wait to experience other oils later. Seeking natural alternatives to treat health issues is something I always preferred. Educating and experiencing goes hand in hand….you won't know how beneficial it can be unless you personally try it yourself.

  • jens engel

    This is serious stuff. Any non toxic oil will work. The better the oil the better it works (use the best you have). Fillings may loosen (I had several) as the underlying crap gets dissolved and or dislodged. Plaque levels will improve as the oil seems to reduce them. Brushing the teeth with TeaTree Oil (2 drops) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has proved to be flouride free and effective. Brush and rinse with 3% H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) once or twice a week.

  • crystal

    Started this off and on for a while now I'm really keeping a good routine for the last 3 days. Ive noticed whiter shinier teeth. I think when you start mentioned in another article about oil pulling some of your symptoms may get worse before getting better. And when using coconut oil its a bit stronger and you shouldn't start with that oil. I'm hoping it'll help relieve my migraines tooth sensitivity and whatever else it might do to help my conditions.

    Does anyone know if its also recommended to take fermented cod liver oil and raw butter while doing this? I read that somewhere else…. its what kept me from starting sooner because I thought you needed to do it all together. Thanks for any feedback.

  • yvette

    I been oil pulling for about a month now. I do notice that my gums don't bleed and look healthy. I did have only one side effect ,a temp that was around 101.8 which only last for one day without the running nose,sore thoat or headache. I read when toxins are removed from the body there are some adverse effects . Even with the fever I was still able to function as normal and did not feel sick. I also notice that I sleep better and losing weight.

    • tracey devoe

      hey yvette what oil are you using n are you yvette devoe

  • Joe

    I’ve been using a tablespoon of sesame seed oil 1-2 each day for the past two weeks. My teeth are whiter than they’ve ever been in over two decades.

    Temperatures are in the 80′s and 90′s. This is enough to get me to sweat when I’m outside working in the garden, but now it’s without that wonderful ‘locker room’ fragrance, and the mild case of athletes feet is gone too. I can only attribute all of my good fortune to oil pulling with sesame seed oil.

    When I finish the bottle, I’ll switch to coconut oil to discover how well this works.

  • Jen

    Is this an alternative to brushing your teeth? This method of oral health would certainly help avoid exposure to fluoride.

    • Denis

      I would just use a fluoride free toothpaste or make your own toothpaste. It isn't an alternative to brushing your teeth but it'll definitely help a lot.

  • cathy

    what oil did you use Mark?

    • G.Madhusudhan

      ya its really breakthrough therapy of being healthy.iam doing its since 15 years.


  • cathy

    mark do you think it might have been better with a different oil, what boil did you use?

  • Linda

    This should be done with coconut oil only – not just "any vegetable oil". The properties in coconut oil can work wonders. I have used coconut oil for a lot of different purposes and take a few tablespoons daily in my morning coffee. I've effortlessly lost weight without any exercising or doing anything special other than using it in my coffee.

    • Ashley

      Did you not read the article? It says the best to use is sunflower or sesame.

    • Terry

      @Linda: Please let us know how this is working out, I see you posted 6/11/2012 – if you have been OP'g regularly with coconut oil you should have some results by now – good/bad/indifferent.

  • Pete

    Removes some forms of dental pains immediately from personal experience.

  • Mark

    I tried this – for a number of months, as did my wife. It left us both ill and weak. I think it's dangerous.

    • Linda

      ou should try coconut oil for oil pulling.

    • jack


    • Denis

      hahah… ill and weak huh? maybe you should check out your food sensitivities.. although I don't think that's the problem maybe ignorance or maybe you weren't rinsing out your mouth well enough with salt water and drinking lots of water afterwards to help aid in the cleansing process.

    • Nathan

      Uh were you swallowing the oil aftewards instead off spitting it out?

    • g

      Do either of you have filling or cavities- this will indeed have ill effects- it will extract the mercury or other amalgams into your mouth.

      • Sonja

        I have a mouth full of fillings and 2 crowns. Is something i can still do with all of these?

  • susmita

    This is interesting.Will any vegetable oil suffice?Thank you for this article.

    • Nathan

      read the aricle before you make stupid comments.

      • Dave

        Good thing we have such helpful and courteous people like you here, Nathan. I couldn't possibly imagine anyone leaving a more helpful comment than you.

      • Lou

        screw you Nathan. Maybe you shouldn't make stupid comments so you don't look like the jack ass of the thread, good job buddy. Susmita: any oil technically will work, but sunflower and sesame are some of the most popular, and according to wikipedia coconut oil is proclaimed as the best to use for this purpose. No thanks to Nathan the douchebag for this answer. He is prompt to comment on this thread with his attitude, but gives you nothing of value.

    • Rahul

      use sesame oil . better if you could find cold pressed organic variety