Oil Pulling: The Ancient Practice of hygiene

Oil Pulling, ancient practice of hygiene
Oil Pulling

Oil pulling which is an age-old Ayurvedic practice, has gained modern popularity for its potential health benefits. This simple yet powerful oral hygiene ritual involves swishing oil around the mouth, and while it may sound unconventional, its enthusiasts tout a myriad of advantages. So, let’s see how Oil pulling works, its benefits and techniques of oil pulling.

The Origins of Oil Pulling:

Oil pulling, known as “Kavala” or “Gundusha” in Ayurveda, dates back over 3,000 years. It was originated in traditional Indian medicine and involves the use of natural oils to cleanse and detoxify the mouth and body.  Oil pulling is claimed to cure about 30 systemic diseases ranging from headache, migraine to diabetes and asthma. As a traditional Indian folk remedy, oil pulling has been used extensively  for many years to prevent decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat, cracked lips and for strengthening teeth, gums and the jaw. Traditionally, sesame or sunflower oil was used, but today, coconut oil is a popular choice due to its pleasant taste and known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity which are both important for promoting oral health.

What are the Benefits of Oil Pulling?

Improved Oral Health by reducing bad bacteria:

Oil pulling is praised for its ability to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth. This can result in better dental hygiene, cleaner breath and a potential reduction in plaque and gingivitis. One of the study found a statistically significant decrease in plaque and gingival indices after seven days of oil pulling.

Teeth Whitening:

Regular oil pulling may contribute to teeth whitening by reducing the buildup of stains. The  natural cleansing properties of the oil’s which we use in oil pulling can help remove surface stains on the teeth.

Reduced Bad Breath:

The antimicrobial properties of certain oils, especially coconut oil, can combat the bacteria that contribute to bad breath, providing a natural and refreshing solution. As oil pulling helps to reduce bad bacteria in the mouth, it is possible that oil pulling can prevent cavities; however, keep in mind that it’s important to pair oil pulling with the brushing your teeth, flossing, reducing sugary items etc.


According to Ayurveda, oil pulling is believed to draw toxins from the body, promoting overall detoxification. Oil pulling is however, by no means a fix for stomach discomfort. It is also found that better oral health has downstream effects on other parts of the body—including the stomach.

Potential Gum Health Benefits:

Oil pulling may contribute to gum health by reducing inflammation and promoting a healthier oral environment. Some studies suggest a potential link between oil pulling and decreased levels of harmful bacteria associated with gum disease.

Balanced Oral Microbiome:

Oil pulling helps in maintaining a balanced orla micro-biome which is essential for overall health. Oil pulling aims to support this balance by reducing the presence of harmful bacteria while preserving beneficial microbes.

Oil Pulling Techniques:

1. Choose Your Oil:

Select a high-quality, organic oil for oil pulling. It is best to include coconut oil, sesame oil and sunflower oil. However, there is a study which found that coconut oil may help prevent tooth decay.

2. Morning Ritual:

Oil pulling is typically performed in the morning on an empty stomach. Take one tablespoon of the oil which you have chosen and put it in your mouth.

3. Swish and Pull:

After putting oil in your mouth, just swish the oil around your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Move the oil between your teeth and around your gums. Avoid gargling or swallowing the oil. If you are bored during swissing process, just do other morning activities while swissing.

4. Spit, Rinse, and Brush:

After the recommended time, spit the oil into a trash can (not the sink, as it can solidify and cause clogs). Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water and follow up with regular oral hygiene practices like brushing your teeth.

5. Consistency is the Key:

For optimal benefits, practice oil pulling regularly, ideally daily. Start with a shorter duration if 20 minutes feels challenging, and gradually increase over time.

While oil pulling has a long history and many enthusiasts attest to its benefits, it’s essential to note that scientific research on this practice is still evolving. It is not a replacement for conventional oral care but can be a complementary addition to a holistic oral hygiene routine and can be a budget friendly oral hygiene method. As with any health practice, individual experiences may vary and consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable, especially for those with existing oral health concerns.

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