oil pulling

Before we get know about oil pulling, let us try and understand about what we are trying to fight. Gum Disease – Simply put, it is an inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that supports the teeth. There are two types of diseases that affect the gums – Gingivitis and Periodontitis. These two types of gum diseases are the most common among adults across the globe.

The bacteria that cause inflammation of the gums is called Gingivitis. Periodontal disease means infection of the structure around the teeth. If not treated, it causes heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, and also affects the mouth including gums that slowly begin to pull away from the teeth. This in turn leads to tooth loss. The good thing though is that it can be alleviated with effective care and treatment.   

One of the natural and ancient treatments is OIL PULLING.

Traditional Ayurveda recommends oil pulling to cure diseases associated with gums. According to this treatment recommendation, regular practice of oil pulling reduces dryness of the mouth and inflammation, and burning sensation in the mouth. It also helps to improves oral health and is a natural method of cleaning. (1)

Oil pulling is the process where we pull out the harmful bacteria, fungus, and other toxins from the teeth and mouth. All we need for this treatment is some coconut oil, sesame seed oil or sunflower oil. (2)

How to pull oil

  • Oil pulling may be done before or after brushing your teeth. Although, brushing after oil pulling is a must.
  • As a general practice, you could make oil pulling the first thing you do each morning on an empty stomach and before drinking any liquids like water or coffee.
  • Pour one tablespoon of any one of the above mentioned oils in your mouth.
  • Swish the oil completely in your mouth without swallowing it. Move it around in your mouth and through your teeth (don’t tilt your head back to gargle though). Now the oil will start to get watery as saliva mixes with it. Keep swishing continuously for 20 minutes. This swishing can be gentle and a vigorous swishing such that your jaw muscles hurt is not required!
  • After oil pulling, spit the oil out, and then rinse the mouth with warm water. You cold rinse with a gentle mouthwash or salt water as well. this is basically to remove any toxin residues after you spit the oil.
  • Even after this, if you must, brush your teeth with some natural fluoride-free toothpaste.


All three oils were seen to be able to considerably reduce bacteria counts, reduce mouth infection and plaque.

Benefits of oil pulling_infg

Some research studies in favour of oil pulling

  • The Meenakshi Ammal Dental College specifically studied oil pulling with sesame oil, comparing it to swishing with chlorhexidine. The researchers tested 20 teenage boys. For two weeks, half of the group practiced oil pulling with sesame oil and the other half swished with chlorhexidine. Finally, they found that the oil pulling with sesame oil significantly reduced counts, equivalent to the reductions found with chlorhexidine.
  • Researchers from India’s Manipal College of Dental Sciences conducted a clinical study of 32 people. The researchers divided the patients into four groups. One group massaged their gums using olive oil. Another group massaged their gums using coconut oil. Another group massaged using sesame oil. And another group – the control group – massaged their gums using chlorhexidine gel, a commonly-prescribed antiseptic mouth rinse. The study was for about four weeks.  After the four weeks of gum massage therapy, the researchers re-tested each of the patients for the same measures. They found that sesame oil reduced the bacteria count from 5.47 to 3.06, for a 2.41 average reduction, and olive oil gum massage group experienced a 2.21 reduction and the coconut oil gum massage group experienced a 2.06 reduction. Sesame oil showed a slightly greater reduction of bacterial infection.

Sesame oil is the primary oil recommended in thousands of years of Ayurvedic practice for both oil pulling and oil massage. It beats chlorhexidine in all four measures – bacteria reduction of two types, reduction of plaque and the reduction of signs of gingivitis. However other oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil also produce beneficial results.

sunflower oilIn addition, oil pulling also helps improve the overall health such as bad breath, preventing bleeding gums, strengthening of the jaws and teeth. It is also believed to have positive effects on weight loss, improving vision and arthritis.

Kalaivani Selvaraj, MBA, got her Master’s degree in Human Resources. Due to her interest in natural healing, she pursued studies in the field of alternative medicine and is certified in Aromatherapy by Isla Verde Spa Training Academy. Ms. Kalaivani Selvaraj is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.