What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is a practice originating in the subcontinent of India as a traditional folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth. It is first mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita, where it is referred to as Kavala Graha or Kavala Gandoosha.
A Ukrainian oncologist, Dr. F. Karach, used this therapy with success in his own practice. He introduced this therapy at a conference to the All Ukranische-Union of oncologists and bacteriologists belonging to the Academy of Science in the USSR where he presented a paper on the method and its benefits.
So what is oil pulling used for? This holistic practice is described as being capable improving oral health while treating diseases such as diabetes mellitus or asthma. It is also said to whiten teeth and remove the bacteria that cause bad breath and gingivitis among other health benefits.
For more in-depth information about this natural remedy get my book Detox Your Mouth, Heal Your Body where you will learn about the mouth body connection and other natural oral health practices.
The Oil Pulling Method
The oil pulling method is very simple and easy to add to your daily oral hygiene practices. The oral health benefits of this practice have been documented and many oral health professionals are recommending oil pulling.
How to oil pull.
Gently swish the oil back and forth between your teeth and push it against the side of your mouth. Try not to swallow the oil as you do this. Oil pulling should be done for 20 minutes as this seems to be the time needed for optimal results and to give the oil time to seep into the dental pockets . After the 20 minutes of swishing the oil will be less dense and it will have transformed to a milky color. If your mouth gets tired before the 20 minutes are up then you are a little too vigorous with your swishing.
How much should you use?
Use one tablespoon of your chosen oil such as unrefined organic sesame oil, sunflower oil or coconut oil. You can add a teaspoon of tea tree oil  or 1/4 teaspoon of limonene oil  to an 8 oz. bottle of your pulling oil to gain other benefits and add a different flavor.
What time of day should you oil pull?
The most effective oil pulling method is to do it first thing in the morning after waking up and before eating or drinking. You can rinse your mouth when finished and brush your teeth or eat. There is no waiting period required after swishing the oil.
How often should oil pulling be done?
Most oral health practitioners feel that oil pulling can be done as part of a daily oral hygiene regimen. Oil pulling will still benefit your oral health even if it is only done a few times a week.
What are the benefits of oil pulling?
There is quite a long list of claimed benefits of oil pulling by many people including doctors, dentists and other health practitioners. There is even published research to prove some of the claimed benefits. Many testimonials can be found online of people using oil pulling to great benefit such as Morgan Potts at mindbodygreen.com.
Dr. Mercola describes oil pulling benefits for oral health.
Oil pulling benefits claimed by Dr. Karach:
Dr, F. Karach, an oncologist, presented a paper at a conference of oncologists and bacteriologists in Ukraine where he described many benefits of this therapy that he had witnessed at his own practice. This included treating a blood disorder that he had been suffering from for more than 15 years. Dr. Karach also claimed the therapy alleviated arthritis pain he had been experiencing. In his opinion, humans have the potential to live 140-150 years if we can reduce toxins and disease causing organisms in our body.
- Mouth & gum disease
- stiff joints
- high blood sugar
- high blood pressure
Research proving some of the benefits of Oil Pulling
This study, published in 2009, showed a reduction in plaque induced gingivitis due to oil pulling.
“In this study, oil pulling therapy has been equally effective like chlorhexidine against halitosis and organisms which are associated with halitosis. Sesame oil has the following advantages over chlorhexidine: no staining, no lingering after taste, and no allergy. Sesame oil is five to six times cost-effective than chlorhexidine and is readily available in the household. There are no disadvantages for oil pulling therapy except for the extended duration of the procedure compared with chlorhexidine.”
A reduction in tooth decay causing S. mutans was found in this study published in 2011 in the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry.
1. Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:47-51
2. Asokan S, Kumar R S, Emmadi P, Raghuraman R, Sivakumar N. Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: A randomized controlled pilot trial. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2011;29:90-4
3. Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu M S, Rathna PV, Emmadi P, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2008;26:12-7