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Oil Pulling

  /  Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice which involves swishing sesame oil in the mouth to remove plaque, stain, and certain microorganisms, detoxifying the mouth and the body.  The action of swishing converts the fats of the oil into a soap and alcohol, which both act like a mild detergent. Traditionally, after 20 minutes of swishing, the soapy mixture is spit out and the mouth is thoroughly rinsed with water.  Recently, studies have shown that oil pulling is a safe and effective oral care practice1. The most notable finding is that oil pulling further reduces plaque and gum inflammation when added to regular tooth brushing2,3,4.

In recent years, organic cold-pressed coconut oil has been shown to have more beneficial properties for the practice when compared to traditional sesame oil. Lauric acid, the soap product of coconut oil, has a well documented anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. Specifically, oil pulling with coconut oil has been shown to reduce streptococcus mutans which are the bacteria primarily involved in causing tooth decay5,6.

The Documented Benefits of Oil Pulling in Combination with Brushing and Flossing:

  • Reduction of Gum Inflammation
  • Decreases Plaque Buildup
  • Less Calculus Buildup
  • Reduce External Tooth Staining
  • Reduction in Bad Breath7,8
  • Decrease in Tooth Sensitivity
Oil Pulling Instructions
  1. Take 1 Tablespoon of cold pressed organic coconut oil/sesame oil/sunflower oil into the mouth and slowly swish, pulling it through the teeth.
  2. After 20 minutes, spit oil into garbage can or other container (it can clog the drain). We recommend against swallowing the oil.
  3. Rinse mouth thoroughly.
  4. Drink an 8 ounce glass of filtered water.

A more fatty smear layer can build up on the tooth surface with the routine Oil Pulling.  This buildup prevents the teeth from absorbing important minerals.  If this buildup is noticed, we suggest to brush the teeth with baking soda and salt 1-2 times per week to remove the buildup.


**Oil Pulling is an adjunct to any oral health home care regimen.  Benefits are variable and it does not replace brushing, flossing, and oral irrigation. Please check with your general health care provider before beginning a new oil pulling regimen**


Woolley J, Gibbons T, Patel K, Sacco R. The effect of oil pulling with coconut oil to improve dental hygiene and oral health: A systematic review. Heliyon. 2020 Aug 27;6(8):e04789. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04789. PMID: 32923724; PMCID: PMC7475120.


Ripari F, Filippone F, Zumbo G, Covello F, Zara F, Vozza I. The Role of Coconut Oil in Treating Patients Affected by Plaque-Induced Gingivitis: A Pilot Study. Eur J Dent. 2020 Oct;14(4):558-565. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1714194. Epub 2020 Sep 22. PMID: 32961569; PMCID: PMC7535963.


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 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-51. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.49067. PMID: 19336860.


Peedikayil FC, Sreenivasan P, Narayanan A. Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – A preliminary report. Niger Med J. 2015 Mar-Apr;56(2):143-7. doi: 10.4103/0300-1652.153406. PMID: 25838632; PMCID: PMC4382606.


Kaushik M, Reddy P, Sharma R, Udameshi P, Mehra N, Marwaha A. The Effect of Coconut Oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans Count in Saliva in Comparison with Chlorhexidine Mouthwash. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2016 Jan 1;17(1):38-41. doi: 10.5005/jp-journals-10024-1800. PMID: 27084861.


Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu MS, 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 Mar;26(1):12-7. doi: 10.4103/0970-4388.40315. PMID: 18408265.


Sood P, Devi M A, Narang R, V S, Makkar DK. Comparative efficacy of oil pulling and chlorhexidine on oral malodor: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Diagn Res. 2014 Nov;8(11):ZC18-21. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2014/9393.5112. Epub 2014 Nov 20. PMID: 25584309; PMCID: PMC4290321.


Asokan S, Kumar RS, 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 Apr-Jun;29(2):90-4. doi: 10.4103/0970-4388.84678. PMID: 21911944.