Last Modified on Jul 15, 2015
Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy that helps cleanse the body by detoxifying and cleaning teeth and gums. This is a wonderful, all-around home treatment for oral health. Oil pulling will also make your teeth whiter while it removes harmful bacteria and reduces inflammation. What's not to like?
Oil pulling has been used in India and Asia for 3,000 years, where it is used to treat about 30 or more systemic diseases. This natural remedy was only introduced to the West about 20 years ago. It is safe, easy, and inexpensive.
What is Oil Pulling?
There are at least 3,000 years of testimonials as to the effectiveness of this traditional Ayurvedic medical treatment -- and it's safe, easy and effective!
- First thing in the morning, before brushing teeth or eating, swish one teaspoon to one tablespoon of natural, food-quality oil (sesame, coconut, olive, sunflower or safflower) in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. You must do it this long for it to work.
- Do not gargle in your throat.
- The oil will be milky and foamy when ‘done’.
- Spit out, do not swallow the oil with all the 'bad stuff'. If you have a septic system, spit oil into trash can instead of sink (in order to avoid potential plumbing problems.)
- Rinse mouth thoroughly with warm water.
- Brush teeth.
- Your mouth feels clean and fresh.
How Does Oil Pulling Work?
The theory behind this home treatment is that as the oil swishes around teeth and gums it ‘pulls’ bacteria and other debris into the oil, detoxifying the mouth. Our mouths are laboratories breeding billions of nasty critters: viruses, bacteria (Streptococcus), parasites and fungi (Candida) and all of their toxic waste products. All of the above contribute to gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other oral problems. This toxicity is also held to be at least partially responsible for many other diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, eczema and chronic infections. Some oils seem to help with weight loss.
Getting rid of these unwanted troublemakers in our mouths is one less problem for our immune systems to have to deal with. If this alternative remedy did nothing other than aid our immune systems (it does a lot more!), it would be worth doing for that alone.
The oils used for Oil Pulling vary widely. However, the most popular oil is sesame oil, followed by coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and safflower oil. On the Table of Contents on this page, take a look at Sandy’s Oil Pulling Compilation. She listed the benefits reported for many different oils. Some people use the same oil all of the time, others switch oils periodically.
Scientific studies have generally focused on how effective oil pulling is when compared to various mouthwashes or other oral health drugs and products and outcomes varied.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
There are many benefits to this ancient alternative treatment. It is used extensively to treat gum and mouth problems as well as many other diseases. Users also report having whiter teeth and clearer skin.
Gum and Mouth Diseases
Oil pulling has been used extensively for centuries as a natural cure for gum and mouth problems such as gingivitis, cavities, inflammation and bleeding gums. It also helps prevent bad breath.
Looking and Feeling Better
Many regular oil pullers report that their mouth feels clean and fresh and their teeth are whiter. This is a much better home treatment to whiten teeth than commercial tooth whitening preparations which contain very strong chemicals and are fairly expensive. Users also report having clearer, healthier skin after using this natural treatment as well as feeling mentally invigorated. Many people have said that oil pulling helped to curb their appetites and helped them to lose weight.
In addition to Oral Health, Traditional Medicine Reports that Oil Pulling will help with these Ailments.
It’s a long list. For a very long time, this alternative cure has been used to assist the immune system and to prevent or cure, among other problems, heart disease, arthritis, eczema, chronic infections, headaches, insomnia, kidney function, bronchitis and is even reported to help with hangovers. Mouth health reflects the health of the entire body, making oil pulling a common sense home remedy.
Oil pulling is an ancient natural medical treatment for many ailments. It also has cosmetic benefits, including whiter teeth and clearer skin and in addition It aids the immune system. This home remedy is safe, easy to do and effective.
HV Amith, Anil V Ankola, L Nagesh. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and Gingivitis. Journal of Oral Health & Community Dentistry: 2007 ;1(1):Pages 12-18
TD Anand, C Pothiraj, RM Gopinath, et al. Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria (PDF). African Journal of Microbiology Research, Vol 2:3 pp 63-66, MAR 2008. (PDF Link)
S Asokan, J Rathan, MS Muthu, PV Rathna, P Emmadi, 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. Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry. 26(1):12-7, 2008 Mar
S Thaweboon, J Nakaparksin, B Thaweboon. Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models. Asia Journal of Public Health: 2011 May-Aug. (PDF)
Continue reading below for hundreds of interesting testimonials from Earth Clinic readers dating back to 2006!
|Multiple Oils Tried||42|
|Instructions and Theories||3|
|BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS (1)||33%|
[YEA] I've OPed for about three years now. And I've followed endless discussions about what it does and does not do. I now have a theory.
I don't think that OP "pulls" anything out of the system. What it does seem to do is infuse your body with EFA's sublingually (under your tongue) which enters the bloodstream bypassing gastric juices. I found a patent that uses oil as a transporter of medication for a sublingual medication. From what I read, Oleic Acid is commonly used for this transport.
It makes sense why some people have skin conditions clear up with OP. They are being dose with good oil.
Secondly, there is now do doubt that the health of your mouth is directly linked to your organ health. A well known biologist, a friend of my Dad, said he thinks that the bacteria in the mouth, the really bad stuff that forms plague, is very attracted to the acids in the oil. So it melts this bad stuff and then you spit it out. That's why your teeth get much cleaner than by conventional means, like alcohol based rinses.
And so, when you melt this bad stuff, you simply spit it out..buh bye.
Now, I think this is the major link to why people experience healing while OP. As your mouth is populating with all this nasty bacteria (or worse, infections), you are swallowing the stuff. That bacteria is attacking you internally. That is why some people have had heart attacks after a dental procedure, like a root canal, that infuses their body with nasty stuff. Yes, it can attack the heart and other vital organs.
OP simply removes it so that it cannot go anywhere else. Dr. Karach talked about curing a long time blood disease. Perhaps his dental health was very bad.
Add a drop of Oil of Oregano to your oil pulling for about a week every 3 or so months, and you have a powerful anti-bacterial agent to kill all this stuff. Oregano Oil is natures anti-biotic, so it should not be abused, and used just like you would a pharmaceutical anti-biotic.
All these theories I have come from a long time listening and discussing this modality.
OP is very gentle. It's just food for goodness sake! And I believe that it should be a common morning occurrence, just like brushing your teeth.
I've actually used it to get rid of sinus infections and lung infections. It has cut down on the time I am sick, but darn if I've hardly gotten sick since I've started OP. Also, my long time seasonal allergies are gone. If I do have any lung complaints, I OP back to back until I don't cough anything up anymore.
I have used (always unrefined and organic) Sesame, Sunflower, Walnut, Macadamia, coconut, Udo's Oil, Total EFA Oil....amongst others. My personal all time favorite is Sesame, hand's down. I have noticed that if you change your oil about ever two months, it's like a renewed therapy. Don't know why, perhaps your body is getting used to that particular EFA formula. But I have noticed that when I change, my teeth get whiter even more.
Thought I'd weigh in since I haven't been here for awhile. Actually, it was myself and Ms Kitty from Oregon that turned Earth clinic onto this some years back. I'm so pleased to see that this is still being discovered and that people are having such good results.
OP is a no-brainer. It's not dangerous, it can't pull stuff out of your body, like medication, it's simply swishing some "food" around your mouth. But what it does do is invaluable.
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Solomon, Kansas, USA
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Chevy Chase, Md
I wanted to comment that the usage of the word "gargle" on your Oil Pulling page is a tad alarming given the warning NOT to gargle in the throat near the end of the instructions. It seems Dr. Karasch used it as well. I have never heard or used the word "gargle" unless it meant using the throat, so it is a tad misleading for the unsuspecting or the casual reader. Perhaps the alert could be placed at the beginning of the article to clarify the usage of the word and for safety's sake. Thank you for your time.
Replied by Nelsonr
These are instructions from India in which only 2 types of oil can be used. However, as you will read below in our Reader Feedback section, people are experimenting with different oils, adding anti-bacterial and anti-viral oil essences. Soon we might have a purist vs. renegade oil pulling battle!
First thing in the morning, before brushing your teeth, eating or drinking, take 1 TBSP of either sesame or sunflower oil. Put the oil in your mouth, tilt your chin up and slowly swish, suck, chomp and pull through the teeth. Do this for at least 10 minutes. 15 - 20 minutes is better. You want the oil to become a thin, white foam when you finally spit it out. If it's still yellow, you haven't done it long enough.
You can do this 2 more times during the day if you want to detox faster. Make sure you do it on an empty stomach, however. Spit it out in the toilet when your mouth is full and rinse your mouth out well.
Follow by drinking 2 - 3 glasses of water.
DO NOT SWALLOW THE OIL.
It now contains parasites and bacteria!
DO NOT GARGLE IN THE THROAT -- THE OIL IS MEANT TO BE SWISHED IN THE MOUTH ONLY.
DO IT SLOWLY.
HOW IT WORKS:
The oil pulls all mucous, bacteria and toxins from your body through your saliva. According to Ayurvedic medicine, mucous is a poison that must be removed.
Keeping the chin tilted up makes sure the oil gets to the back molars.
The old school says that only sesame and sunflower oils produce favorable results. However, our readers report success using other oils too.
If after meals, wait at least 4 hours before you Oil Pull. After drinking, wait 1 hour.
A worsening of symptoms is an excellent indication that the disease/ailment is being cured.
Do not stop Oil Pulling if you feel aggravated symptoms or heightened side effects after a day or two. Your body is healing.
Will your dental fillings fall out? It's possible but highly unlikely unless there is pre-existing damage or loose fillings.
The oil will start to thin out after a few minutes because saliva is constantly being mixed in and swished about.
Excellent Oil Pulling Links for More Information:
(updated March 2, 2009)
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St Louis, MO
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Northport, Ny. Usa
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Syracuse, New York, Usa
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Syracuse Ind., Indiana
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Phila Area, Nj
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Santa Cruz Ca
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Had horrible sinus infection. Read your page and tried oil pulling. All I had was avacado oil at the time. Swished for only 12 minutes, but within another 12 minutes my terrible headache was gone and about 90% of the sinus infection was also gone. An amazing cure! Thanks!
Replied by Sindee
[YEA] I have just started oil pulling in a bid to help my gum disease. I tried olive oil 1T for the first time as that was all I had. I went out and bought some avacado oil with lemon as I thought that would taste a little better. It does.
I am currently using 1/2 a TBSP as I find it hard to keep in a whole TBSP due to loads of saliva.
I will update regarding my gum disease when I have visited the Periodontist in July.
I have however noticed the following: the bags under my eyes have flattened down considerably and strangely enough my sinus's cleared so well - I was not even aware how congested I was until they cleared. Will keep you updated.
I was wondering if black seed oil would be desirable for oil pulling?
[YEA] It's been 3 weeks since I had 5 implants with bone grafts installed and I am healing fast. It looks as though I will be able to get my crowns 2 months sooner. After the implant surgery I waited 2 days and then I started my oil pull with 1 tablespoon of black seed cold-pressed oil (black cumin seed oil) for 20 minutes each morning. I could feel mucus coming down the back of my throat and would have to spit. I've used other oils, sesame seed, olive, and safflower oils and I like the black cumin seed the best.
Replied by Skye
Research indicates that Sesame and Sunflower oils are the best two for OP. I also read that Sesame Sesame seed oil is absorbed quickly and penetrates through the tissues to the very marrow of the bone. It is said to enter into the blood stream through the capillaries and circulates. The liver does not sweep sesame seed oil molecules from the blood, accepting those molecules as friendly. As I am wanting healing for a chronic form of leukemia this circulation to the bone marrow is potentially beneficial. The challenge is this: When I OP with Sunflower oil for 20 minutes it turns white but not when I OP with Sesame oil. I therefore tried a 50/50 blend of Sunflower/Sesame oils for 20 minutes and it DID turn white. My question: Is there benefits from blending the two oils? Will I get the benefits to my bone marrow from the Sesame oil if it is blended with Sunflower oil? Are there dangers in blending these two particular oils or things I should be aware of? Thanks in advance :-)
[WARNING!] Canola Oil Should not be used for Oil Pulling. Canola Oil is not a natural oil. It is a genetically modified version of Rape Seed Oil. I would not recommend using it for oil pulling or cooking. Research shows it has a tendency to leave scaring on your heart after continued use.
Also, do not use peanut oil. I was told when I first started pulling not to use it because of the mold it develops after it is picked.
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Surprise, Arizona, Usa
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Mentor, Oh, Usa
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Alvena, Sk., Canada
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[YEA] I have been doing oil pulling now for about a week but not consistently. My mouth had a sore in the roof of it and my gums were very sensitive and started bleeding. They bled a little more once i started OP but now it's completely gone and not much bleeding. My husband recently started it a few days ago. We have been using canola oil but i will get the sesame or sunflower oil because it seems to have a better result based on the testimonials i read. I look forward to hearing about more natural remedies. Let's put these pharmacuetical companies to shame and do it the natural way, the way it was intended. I do have a question...Do you have to drink water after OP? Please advise. KRM
Replied by Jaime
Castor Oil? Seriously? I have been a castor oil user for years, but only externally. The castor bean is poisonous, I used to use castor bean plants around my garden to repel gophers and moles until they were the accidental cause of death of a neighbors puppy... After reading this I decided to check my bottle in the cabinet and it clearly says on it for external use only... I'm not sure, but it is in the nightshade family isnt it?
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St. Louis, Mo, Usa
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Hope, Bc Canada
[YEA] After reading about oil pulling on this site, I decided to give it a try to see if it would stop the recurring boils I was having. The only cold-pressed oil I could find was castor oil, so that's what I've been using for two weeks. I am happy to report no more boils! I hope it stays that way! I know everyone says to use turmeric for boils, but I've tried it, and it didn't get rid of them. My four year old son also has recurring boils- he's had them ever since he was 1- I wonder if I can teach him how to OP.
The other marvelous result I just realized a couple days ago. I have no more body odour! This is amazing, b/c I had it bad. Tried everything to keep it under control- strong deoderants, natural ones, ACV, vodka, baking soda, essential oils... If this good result keeps up, I will OP the rest of my life!!
My teeth have felt very clean, but I can't say they've gotten any whiter. My teeth are have always been yellow, although I don't drink tea, coffee, wine or anything. I will try to find some sesame oil, maybe that will make a difference.
Amazing remedy, to be sure.
Replied by Roz
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
[YEA] As a proven believer in Castor Oil, the other morning I awoke with a very sore gum in the vicinity of my right canine tooth. A look in the mirror indicated it was blood red, very tender, but no blood excreted when massaging. I generally 'oil' with Sesame Oil, but thought 'Why not try CO?'... Two 20 minute sessions [about 3-4 hours inbetween] and a session at bed time. I excreted all of the 'oiling', but let the CO coating remain in my mouth over night...the next morning it was 95% better; a repeat of the previous day's treatment produced a 100% recovery by the following evening...no redness, no tenderness and a normal, healthy gum..
Hello everyone! I have become addicted to the site like everybody else. I have a question about oil pulling. I made it through five pages and did not see anything about food grade Castor Oil. I kept thinking about the Cayce remedies and his great results for many ailments using Castor Oil. Has anyone tried it? Does anyone know of a reason it should not be used for oil pulling? My intuition keeps telling me to try it, and I believe that we are often led to the right thing for ourselves. To everyone who is working on healing themselves, don't give up! If one thing does not work for you try again and again. In the trying you reinforce the "health"vibration around you. You are not alone in your seking and all of us who read your posts are pulling[no pun intended] for you and with you!
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Danville, Illinois, United States
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Alvena, Sk., Canada
[YEA] hello, i staretd oil pulling 3 days ago,all i can say is WOW, my teeth are whiter already and the black streaks on them disipated, by the way i still drink coffe,presently i use Siberian cedar nut oil (cold pressed)and only use a sip of it for pulling and 1Tsp, internally for tonifyng the organs. amazing !!!
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Windsor Ontario, Ontario
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Scarborough, Ontario Canada
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