What Is Oil Pulling (& How It Can Help) - Wellnesse

What Is Oil Pulling (& How It Can Help)

With several endorsements coming from various celebrities, oil pulling has become a bit more mainstream. Since gaining popularity in ancient India, oil pulling is known as a natural remedy for oral health. This traditional practice claims to remove toxins from the body by swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 10 minutes a day.

For centuries, people have used oil pulling daily to prevent bad breath, tooth decay, bleeding gums, cracked lips, and throat dryness. Modern oil pulling also claims to cure everything, including hangovers, diabetes, and acne. So, what is “oil pulling,” how is it done, and what are the health benefits?

What Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes. Traditionally, sesame or sunflower oil is used, but you can also use coconut oil, olive oil, peanut, and other oils as well. During the time in your mouth, the oil should become milky white, and it’s believed that toxins are being removed from the body and absorbed by the oil.

How to Do Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a simple practice that requires no special equipment or much effort. You can do it first thing in the morning or any time throughout the day. Here’s how to get started:

● Put 1 tablespoon of oil into your mouth, swish it around, and make sure you cover all areas, including your teeth, gums, and tongue. Don't swallow any; just move it around for 10 to 20 minutes.

● After 20 minutes, spit out the oil, rinse your mouth with warm water, and brush your teeth as usual. Do this daily for the best results.

● You can also use lukewarm water to rinse your mouth after oil pulling. This helps to remove any remaining toxins, as well as relieve any discomfort in the gums and throat. Be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly afterward.

● Avoid eating anything immediately after oil pulling, as it can disrupt the digestion process.

What Are the Benefits of Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling benefits are believed to range from improved oral hygiene to general health. Here are some of the claimed benefits:

Prevents Harmful Bacteria in Your Mouth

Oil pulling is believed to help reduce harmful bacteria like Streptococcus Mutans and plaque, which can lead to tooth decay.  Studies have shown that oil pulling with sesame oil significantly reduced the number of Streptococcus Mutans in participants' mouths 

For example, one study shows that 75 adolescents either used an antibacterial mouthwash or sesame oil for ten days. After 15 days, both the mouthwash and oil pulling groups had a reduction in the number of Streptococcus Mutans, but there was no statistically significant difference between the two. This suggests that oil pulling may be as effective as an antibacterial mouthwash at reducing harmful bacteria.

Oil Pulling Helps Reduce Bad Breath

Oil pulling can help reduce bad breath by reducing the number of odor-causing bacteria in your mouth. Additionally, oil pulling can help remove food particles that are stuck between your teeth, which can cause bad breath.

There are several causes of bad breath, including infection, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, and tongue coating, which is when bacteria and food particles accumulate on your tongue. Oil pulling can help remove some of these particles, thus reducing bad breath.

Oil Pulling May Help Prevent Cavities

Oil pulling can help prevent cavities by reducing the number of bacteria in your mouth. Several studies have shown that oil pulling with sesame or sunflower oil reduces the amount of Streptococcus mutans and other harmful bacteria, which are linked to tooth decay and cavities.

The bacteria can form a sticky film on your teeth, which is called plaque. This buildup of plaque over time produces acids that eat away at the enamel of your teeth and can allow cavities to form.

Oil Pulling Can Help Reduce Inflammation and Improve Gum Health

Oil pulling may help reduce inflammation in your body by reducing the amount of toxic material that is absorbed into your bloodstream. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and your oral health is vastly connected to your overall health. When you do an oil pull, the oil helps to remove bacteria and other toxins from your mouth, which may reduce the amount of inflammation in your body.

Several studies have also shown that oil pulling can be beneficial for those with gingivitis, a type of gum disease. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused by plaque that builds up on teeth and along the gum line. Using certain oils with anti-inflammatory properties, like coconut oil, may help reduce the amount of inflammation and improve gum health.

If you're looking for a supplementary treatment to prevent plaque formation and promote healthy gums, oil pulling may be a good option. 

Oil Pulling is a Safer Alternative

While oil-pulling shouldn't be a complete substitute for traditional oral hygiene care, it can be a safer alternative to using harsh chemicals or antibiotics in your mouth. Combine it with brushing twice daily, flossing, and tongue scraping and you have a powerful combination of oral care.

While oil pulling is regarded as safe for children and teens, this practice should only be used with those who are old enough to control their swallowing and are able to safety spit the oil out.

It's Cheap and Easy to Add to Your Routine

As one of the biggest benefits, oil pulling is simple, inexpensive, and easy to add to your oral hygiene regimen. All you need is some oil of your choice, such as coconut or sesame oil, and a few minutes of your day. These ingredients are easily available in your kitchen, making it a very affordable (and convenient) way to improve your oral and overall health.

Oil pulling can be done in the morning before brushing your teeth. Simply swish one tablespoon of oil around your mouth for 10-20 minutes, and then spit it out. Be sure to rinse your mouth with warm water afterward.

In time, you will reap the benefits of healthier teeth and gums.

What are the Side Effects of Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an entirely natural practice and is generally safe for most people. However, there are a few potential side effects to keep in mind. Oil pulling can cause jaw pain or discomfort as a result of holding the oil in your mouth for too long. Additionally, some people may experience increased salivation during the process.

Also, it's important not to swallow the oil since it may contain toxins that you do not want in your body. It's best to spit the oil out into a trash can after swishing it around your mouth to avoid clogging any drains or septic tanks. After that, brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with warm water.

Some people may be allergic to oil pulling. So, it's important to check with your doctor before adding oil pulling to your routine if you have any allergies.


Oil pulling is a simple and natural way to improve oral health and reduce inflammation in the body. It is easy, inexpensive, and completely safe for most people. Oil pulling can help maintain healthy gums and teeth as well as promote overall well-being and has been practiced for centuries.

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