7 Health Benefits Of Oil Pulling (With Tutorial)

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7 Health Benefits Of Oil Pulling. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Background images – Adobe Stock (under license)

Oil pulling is an ancient ritual rooted in Ayurvedic medicine. It involves swishing a tablespoon of edible oil in your mouth for around twenty minutes. This age-old Indian practice was popularized in the West in the early 1990s by one of the early adopters, Tummala Koteswara Rao, who evangelized oil pulling as a 3,000-year-old Ayurvedic technique for dental health. It came to the U.S. after a medical doctor named Dr. F. Karach introduced it in the early 1990s.

Its proponents claim that oil pulling is a fantastic oral detoxification procedure which has been used for centuries as a remedy to tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, heart disease, throat dryness, cracked lips, and acne. Oil pulling is regarded as able to draw out toxins in your body to improve not only oral health but also your overall health.

Coconut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, palm oil and olive oil are the types of oils most commonly used for this technique.

In this article, we will discuss the reported benefits and the scientific evidence that supports each benefit. Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the procedure will also be outlined. Oil pulling remains a controversial topic amongst Western health practitioners, but more and more people are swearing by its effectiveness.

Proclaimed Benefits Of Oil Pulling

1. Promotes Oral Hygiene

Oil pulling has been proven as an effective complementary and alternative method for reducing tooth cavities, [1] treating gingivitis, [2] and eradicating bad breath. [3] Many have claimed that the practice can also whiten the teeth, but there is a dearth of studies to back this.

2. Reduces Headache And Migraine

Olive oil, interestingly, is regarded as one of the vegetable oils that can help you curb headaches. It contains phenolic compounds such as oleocanthal, which appears to have an action similar to that of ibuprofen in curbing pain. In a study conducted in 2002, [4] patients experienced a reduction in headache severity during treatment with olive oil.

3. Removes Toxins From The Body

Oil pulling has long been regarded as a powerful detoxifying technique [5] that is both preventative and curative. We all know the link between oral health and overall health.

4. Aids Hormonal Balancing

Oil pulling is considered a natural way to aid in the correction of hormone imbalances. This technique removes toxins in the mouth, thus, improving the functioning of our immune system. [6] With our immune system uncompromised, we also have regulated hormones.

5. Helps Alleviate Asthma And Congestion

Many documented cases have stated that oil pulling had helped individuals with asthma, bronchitis and congestion. Oil pulling plays an important role in lessening or reducing inflammatory response in the body. Coconut oil contains lauric acid [7] which has both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

6. Prevents Acne And Other Skin Issues

As mentioned before, oil pulling helps you remove toxins from your mouth. This prevents the toxins from making it into the bloodstream. Toxins-free blood equates with better skin health. Also, lauric acid is found in coconut oil and palm kernel oil. It possesses antimicrobial property that has therapeutic potential for acne. [8]

7. Encourages Better Sleep

Another benefit of oil pulling that is proclaimed by many is improved sleep. [9] This can be attributed to the removal of toxic build-up that oil pulling provides.

How To Perform Oil Pulling

1. For best results, oil pulling should be done in the morning with an empty stomach. Perform this procedure before eating or drinking anything.

2. Put one tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish it around the mouth like mouthwash, without exerting too much pressure on your jaws and cheeks. The swishing part should be done for twenty minutes.

3. Do not swallow the oil. You only need a small amount of oil.

4. Once the oil becomes milky, spit it out to remove the toxins and bacteria. Make sure that a trash bag is near you. Spitting the oil in your sink is not advised, otherwise, the solidified oil may build up over time and choke the pipes.

5. Use warm water to rinse off left-over oil.

6. Brush your teeth after oil pulling. Please take note that oil pulling is a complementary method to your daily oral care and not a replacement.

Further Reading:

How To Heal Cavities: The Astonishing Claims Of The Oil Pullers

How To Oil Pull For Naturally White Teeth And A Healthy Body


[1] Tomar P et al. 2014. IJSS Case Reports & Reviews. Oil Pulling and Oral Health: A Review. https://ijsscr.com/sites/default/files/articles/IJSS-1-33.pdf

[2] Asokan S et al. 2009. Indian Journal of Dental Research. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19336860

[3] Asokan S et al. 2011. Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry. Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911944

[4] Harel Z et al. 2002. The Journal of Adolescent Health. Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the management of recurrent migraines in adolescents. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12127385

[5] Abhinav Singh and Bharathi Purohit. 2011. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/

[6] Asokan S. 2008. Indian Journal of Dental Research. Oil pulling therapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18445939/

[7] C. Leigh Broadhurst. 2002. The Whole Family Guide to Natural Asthma Relief: Comprehensive Drug Free Solutions for the Treatment and Prevention of Asthma and Allergies. https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=ojdrdyuFb0QC&dq=lauric+acid+asthma&source=gbs_navlinks_s

[8] Nakatsuji T et al. 2009. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Antimicrobial Property of Lauric Acid Against Propionibacterium acnes: Its Therapeutic Potential for Inflammatory Acne Vulgaris. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772209/

[9] Dr. Michelle Coleman. 2015. Oil Pulling Revolution: The Natural Approach to Dental Care, Whole-Body Detoxification and Disease Prevention. https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=dEAMCAAAQBAJ&dq=oil+pulling+better+sleep+pubmed&source=gbs_navlinks_s

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