What Is Oil Pulling?


Swapping coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil for your mouthwash may be one way to naturalize your beauty regimen and improve your oral health. Oil “pulling” is the practice of swishing oil around the mouth. It is said to not only whiten teeth and keep gums healthy, but to brighten complexions. Some even say it can ease asthma and migraine symptoms.

Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy, according to an article in the Journal for Ayurvedic and Integrative Medicine. Swishing or gargling with the oil “pulls” the benefits of the oil into the mouth and gums, where they are then absorbed into the bloodstream. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita where it is called “Kavala” or "Gandusha" and is claimed to cure about 30 systemic diseases ranging from headaches to diabetes to asthma. The role of Ayurveda is the management of oral health has been a subject of many studies.

Oil pulling has also been used to prevent decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and the jaw. It can be done using coconut oil, sunflower oil, or sesame oil. The therapy has been shown to be very effective against plaque-induced gingivitis both in the clinical and microbiological assessment, according to a study.


“Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health” Abhinav Singh, Bharathi Purohit, Department of Public Health Dentistry, People's College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, India. June, 2011