Oil Pulling for Dental Health

| Modified on Apr 29, 2023
Oil Pulling for Dental Health

"Oil pulling doesn't make sense.  Why should swishing some oil around in my mouth make my teeth look whiter or make me any healthier?"  Some people won't give oil pulling a try because it doesn't seem logical. It might be easier to just add oil pulling to the long list of things that we enjoy the use of every day without knowing exactly how they work, such as cell phones or computers.  (Yes, some of you do know, but most of us simply use them and are grateful to those who made them.)

Oil pulling has been commonly used in India for many centuries; it was introduced to the United States by Dr. F. Karach in the early 1990s.  Many people now include this powerful detoxifying Ayurvedic technique in their morning regimen.

How Oil Pulling has Helped These Earth Clinic Posters

Perla wrote us about the positive changes to her teeth and health after one year of oil pulling.

[YEA]  I've been oil pulling for just over one year. I've been alternating virgin, organic sesame oil and virgin, organic coconut oil for 20 minutes every morning. I'm happy to say that my seasonal allergies are gone, my health has been good and I've noticed white(r) teeth and better skin.

My favorite visible changes are the positive changes with my teeth. My teeth had yellow lines of Fluorosis since my kindergarten picture. (I'd also been given multiple metal fillings in my childhood. I've begun replacing them with porcelain as I can afford to safely remove them.) With OP, I've noticed a lot less yellow as well as the disappearance of vertical grooves on my teeth.

I'd also developed a couple of growths on my cheek about 10 years ago. After about 8 months of OP I noticed the growths were getting smaller. One of them is almost gone, the other remains but seems to be decreasing.

If teeth and mouth health is indicative of the health of our entire body, my health is improving. I recommend this process to anyone that is interested!

Effleurage1 let us know that oil pulling helped with dental pain!

[YEA]  Hi! LOVE this site! Just wanted to share that I have been oil pulling, sunflower oil, for a week now to help with my dental pain and it has REALLY helped me. I'm so greatfull! Thanks again for this great site.

To read more oil pulling reviews, go to the Oil Pulling pages.

The History of Ayurveda and Oil Pulling

For thousands of years, people have been using oil pulling to improve their dental health and a variety of ailments.  These ancient peoples were intelligent and very observant of the natural world.  Like us, they suffered from minor health issues and life-threatening illnesses.  Unlike us, their health resources were limited to what could be found in the world around them.  It is likely that most people knew and used many natural health remedies.  Those who learned and studied these health-giving plants for their entire lives and taught others what they learned would have been valuable members of their society.

In essence, we are no different from those who lived long ago.  Toothaches, for example, have always plagued people.  Learning to keep their teeth healthy was of critical importance; there was no way to replace a lost tooth.  Any practices that worked would have been used and passed down through the generations.  That is how medical knowledge has developed in many societies over time, including Ayurvedic medicine in India.

Ayurveda means "knowledge" and "life."  It is focused on prevention as well as treatment, a practical approach.  For many centuries, the knowledge contained in the texts has been used to improve the lives of millions of people.  This knowledge was empirical, or verified by knowledge and experience rather than by scientific testing, as we do today.  Why something worked did not matter nearly as much as the fact that it did work.  Many of the texts were practical descriptions of treatments, detailing what to use, and when and how to use it, rather like medical cookbooks.

Oil Pulling and Dental Health

The Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita claims that oil pulling can cure approximately 30 diseases, including migraines, diabetes and asthma.  Oil pulling has been used continuously for many centuries as a traditional Indian remedy for the prevention of tooth decay and bleeding gums, bad breath, dry throat and cracked lips.  It is also used to strengthen the jaw, teeth and gums.

Toothbrushing and Medicinal Sticks

Toothbrushing in the morning and after each meal is recommended in Ayurveda and is done with a special little brush.  (Sound familiar?)  They went one step further and would chew a medicinal chewing stick in the morning and after meals for disease prevention.  A Vaidya, or Ayurvedic doctor, would recommend the type of stick that would be best for an individual.

Dental health is an important element of Ayurvedic medicine and it is believed that poor oral health is linked to many diseases.  Oil pulling is used as both a preventive measure and as a treatment.

Oil Pulling to Treat an Ailment

If someone has a mouth ulcer, is nauseous, is coughing, asthmatic or fevered, Ayurvedic medicine recommends oil pulling to clean the mouth.  This oral cleansing technique is held to help with many medical issues, including bad breath, anorexia, exhaustion, impaired vision, heart problems, obesity and many other issues.

Oil Pulling and Heart Disease

Ayurvedic texts told of a relationship between poor dental health and heart disease.  Modern researchers have found that periodontal disease, or infected gums, raises someone's risk of having a heart attack by 25%.  If oil pulling can clean the mouth, as believed to be true by millions of people, then it would seem to be worth doing simply to reduce the risk of having a heart attack.

How Does Oil Pulling Work?

The treatment has a natural cleansing effect on the mouth. As the oil is swished around, it creates friction in the mouth which safely and easily cleanses the mouth. This friction also has somewhat of a soap-like effect, so it actually does remove bacteria and other pathogens. Following the cleansing period, the oil is spit out or expelled from the mouth, taking along with it all of the toxins that were pulled from the body.

How to Do Oil Pulling

  1. 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.  Many people find that they have to do it for a shorter time at first and gradually work up to the necessary 20 minutes.
  2. Do not gargle in your throat.
  3. The oil will be milky and foamy when ‘done’.
  4. Spit out, do not swallow the oil with all the 'bad stuff'.  Spit oil into trash can instead of sink (in order to avoid potential plumbing problems).
  5. Rinse mouth thoroughly with warm water or warm salt water.
  6. Brush teeth.
  7. Your mouth feels clean and fresh!

Pick the Best Oil for You

Although many oils can be used, sesame oil is frequently the oil of choice.  The sesame plant is held to be an extremely beneficial plant, a gift of nature to mankind.  Sesame oil is held to be the "queen" of oils.

Sandy, an Earth Clinic poster, assembled a list of various oils that could be used in oil pulling and included the benefits of each oil.  Thank you, Sandy!

What are the Oral Health Benefits of Oil Pulling?

While many different benefits from oil pulling, there have been many studies worldwide on improved oral health associated with oil pulling.  The oral health benefits claimed for oil pulling include:

  • Reduction in the prevalence of Streptococcus Mutans in the mouth (the main bacteria in the mouth and the key factor in plaque buildup and tooth decay);
  • Decreased inflammation in the gums;
  • Relief of gingivitis;
  • Improved breath freshness;
  • Decreased tooth sensitivity;
  • Restored tooth enamel;
  • Increased tooth whitening;
  • Strengthened teeth, gums and jaw;
  • Relief of TMJ and other jaw issues.

The Gingivitis Study

Gingivitis is a bacterial gum infection.  Untreated, it worsens and becomes periodontal disease.  In 2009, a study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of oil pulling with sesame oil on plaque-induced gingivitis compared to chlorhexidine mouthwash.  One group did oil pulling while the other group used the mouthwash.  Both groups showed significant reductions in plaque and the gingival index scores.  The oil pulling group also showed a reduction in the number of aerobic microorganisms.

Oil pulling is essentially used in place of gargling or mouthwash. It is just as effective as traditional mouthwash and offers added health benefits.

Oil pulling is simple and very inexpensive to do.  It is safe and a great many people have found it to be very effective.  If you already are an oil pulling enthusiast, please contact us and let us know how it has helped you.

Related Pages:

Dental Health

Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling - Best Oil to Use

Tooth Pain Remedies


Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health

Origin and Development of Ayurveda

How to Oil Pull

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Jacq (Kincumber, NSW) on 09/17/2008

The practitioner rinses their mouth with approximately one tablespoon of oil (sesame and sunflower oils are the most recommended) for 15-20 minutes on an empty stomach (preferably first thing in the morning, before eating/drinking), then spits it out.[2] This procedure is typically performed daily.[3] The oil is put in the mouth, with chin tilted up, and slowly swished, sucked, chomped and pulled through the teeth. The oil changes from yellow and oily consistency to a thin, white foam before spitting out. The mouth is rinsed out well after the procedure and followed by 2 - 3 glasses of water.

Oil Pulling Feedback

17 User Reviews
5 star (17) 

Posted by Heimdaller (South Africa) on 04/29/2023

I used to have endless issues with my teeth. Could be the diet I used to follow including drinking sodas. Nail biting. And generally poor oral hygiene. When I developed serious dental and gum issues I started to brush my teeth half a dozen or more times per day with commercial toothpaste and rinse with Listerine non stop. Did not save me. Had dental work performed. Constant return to dentists. I turned the page on this. oil pulling. Can not praise it enough. My teeth feel like they have been professionally cleaned and look it after a few days. I believe it is best to keep this up. Only when I don't I have a flare up for example swollen gum or tooth ache or something. To resolve it I do several things. Bite on a raw garlic clove in the area for as long as I can stomach the pain. The garlic may not be for everyone. Rinse with hydrogen peroxide one or two times for a few days only. And go into overdrive with oil pulling.

I use mostly olive oil to which I add essential oils. It never fails and any issue is cleared up within days. I make my own toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda, essential oils etc Commercial toothpaste is garbage and commercial mouthwash poison. Vitamin C for gum disease. And try to change my diet. RAW milk. Have not had any issues if I stick with these basics. Alkalising your system is also important.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Vegan Flag On Facebook (Michigan) on 12/19/2016

I've oil pulled here n there near a decade and I agree about the sesame oil being most effective. It seems as if it has great drawing power than other oils. Like right now I've a lung issue causing slight cough / congestion / ticklish throat, just used sesame for 20 minutes and upon expelling it caused me to have deep down into esophogus coughs (deeper than normal) which brought up alot of build up making me feel less congested.

Over the years I'd be swayed into using coconut oil without as much success, then just today I remembered to buy the sesame because that's what I originally was told is best by well studied vegans into natural healing. Next step, daily pulling until by the new year I notice how much whiter my teeth are!

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Oil Pulling (Cochin, India) on 01/15/2016


I am aged 50 and a diabetic since 8 years. Of late I have been experiencing tooth pain especially after having food. Some of my teeth became loose and my local dentist asked me to extract the same to avoid further complications. One of my upper teeth was critically loose that i expected it to fell down anytime, which i did not want to happen.

I ordered the book "all natural dental remedies" written by Angela Kaelin from "amazon.in" which reached me on 24th December 2015. I had already tried some of the remedies detailed in the book but had not found much relief.

However, the chapter on "oil pulling" was totally new to me and I immediately started the therapy. To my surprise, the upper loose tooth which was about to fell down started strengthening and all my tooth pain vanished in a day. Three of my lower teeth which were loose also got stabilised. I am not taking the antibiotic drugs and pain killers any more.

Now I take oil pulling 3 times a day since last 3 weeks and i am very happy with the results..

I recommend oil pulling therapy to each and everyone who suffers from dental problems. Sesame oil is the best oil for oil pulling therapy.

Babu k. A. Cochin. Kerala. South India.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Tina (Fort Myers, Fl) on 08/09/2015

I've read and heard a lot about the benefits of oil pulling. I wasn't sure I could stomach it but I have had a problem with pain in my gums lately. Food gets stuck between my teeth, flossing helps get it out but my gums are tender and often hurt long after eating something. So I decided to try oil pulling with coconut oil. I was also hoping that if I kept up with the oil pulling I'd have whiter teeth. I DID NOT expect to get results right away. I have just tried oil pulling for the first time with organic coconut oil and my sore gums that have been bothering me aren't sore anymore! I have read that you should swish it for 20 minutes. But I was only able to do 15. I'm looking forward to other health benefits I will notice after making a routine of oil pulling. I definitely recommend trying it.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Ann (Tx) on 08/05/2015

Awesome results! I started oil pulling because I had an abscess from a cracked tooth. Sunday I had fever and so much pain. I took amoxicillin and pain pills all day but the abscess was still there. Came here and read about oil pulling, started it immediately. Next day the pain was gone. Next day swelling going down. Finally, got a dental appointment for Friday. I was in no pain, had a very small abscess and had quit taking pain pills and amoxicillin on Tuesday because I felt I didn't need those. I had continued the oil pulling with the coconut oil all week. Dentist said I don't understand how your tooth cracked. You have no plaque, your teeth and gums are in great condition other than the one that's cracked. This is due to the oil pulling! I have never had a cleaning without pain or reprimand about the importance of brushing and flossing until Friday.

Thanks to EC, I will continue oil pulling with coconut oil. Abscess was gone completely on Saturday.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Green Augustine (North Wales, Uk) on 04/03/2015 41 posts

I've been using Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for oil pulling for about 15 months. I no longer get mouth ulcers or as many sore throats. I see my dentist every 6 months and on the last two visits, he said my dental hygiene was one of the best he'd seen! So my vote goes to Coconut oil. And my gums, which used to bleed quite a bit, rarely bleed if I use Coconut Oil for regular oil pulling. I don't remember to do it daily but manage about 4 times a week. I think daily is best though. It has loads of beneficial effects when you eat it as well.


This is a brilliant site.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Kay (Jax, FL) on 06/05/2014

I wrote to Earth Clinic back in October 2013 with some very bad news from my dentist. I had a severe gum disease and my dental "pockets" in my gums were pretty bad. I went to two Peridontists who wanted to charged me in the thousands of dollars for gum surgery and then said "Why not pull all your teeth then you won't have the issue anymore!" I went to a specialist in dentures who talked me out of pulling all my teeth. Forward to now. I have been oil pulling with sesame oil since October. My gum pockets have decreased in size and my gums do not hurt anymore. My teeth are whiter and healthier. I have one deep pocket left which all dentists say, I should have the two teeth pulled as the gums around these teeth are decayed. I may end up doing this, but I am still counting on my oil pulling which by the way none of the dentists or specialist had heard of it! So my vote is YES for oil pulling. It has worked for me.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Missy G. (Central Illinois, US) on 05/05/2014

Out of the blue I had a mild toothache. I looked up oil pulling, as I had read about it a few weeks ago and thought, why not? It beats calling the dentist and plunking down several hundred bucks on x-rays and a procedure.

After just one 20 minute session, the toothache is gone. I had flossed, and brushed earlier in the day and it done nothing. But the oil pulling got rid of the pain. Awesome to say the least.

I will keep doing the pulls at least once a day to see how my overall health will improve. I do plan on seeing my dentist still, but can put it off until I have cash in hand to pay for any needed work. I also plan on telling my dentist about the oil pulling, as he is really up to date on current health news and new effective treatments. He may want to pass along the suggestion to his other patients.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Suzy (Fort Wayne, IN) on 04/28/2014

I tried oil pulling with sesame seed oil and it has made a world of difference. I have found that at about the ten minute point my sinuses drain and my head clears. I used to get my teeth cleaned every six month but no longer as at the last cleaning the hygienist told me I have no build up of plaque. My gums are healthier and I am very pleased with the results I have with sesame seed oil.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Edna (Hayward, Ca) on 07/01/2013

I use virgin coconut oil for any mouth issues. Its great for sore gums, for painful teeth which is sometimes comes from soreness of the gums, or if I bite my cheeks, or tongue. Swishing VCO in the mouth also heals gum bleeding. I use it for cold sores and chapped lips. Sometimes, braces hurt the mouth, it helps here too.. How to use: Get a spoonful, if its solid, chew on it till it melts in the painful area, then swish it in the mouth for 5 to 15 minutes, then spit it out. (Not in the sink, it will get solid after a short time).

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Dani (Adelaide, Australia) on 04/03/2013

I have suffered with very sensitive teeth for years and avoided going to the dentist for fear of the pain that comes with a checkup and clean. That is until I started oil pulling with coconut oil. After a week of oil pulling for approx 10 mins a day 5 days a week all sensitivity was gone and I stopped using sensitive toothpaste. My teeth became whiter and most soreness went, I just had a very slight tenderness around the my bottom 4 front teeth. So I went to the dentist expecting cavities and was told that there were none and I was doing a good job cleaning my teeth despite avoiding the dentist for many years. After having a proper clean my teeth look and feel amazing. The oil pulling sorted out my sensitivity and improved my gums and oral health so that I didn't suffer pain or feel embarrassment at the dentist. I will continue to oil pull so that sensitivity doesn't return. Thanks again earth clinic

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Nana (Florence, Al) on 11/04/2012

To all who have dental issues: four months ago I started a new morning ritual that is easy and cheap. Yesterday when I went to get a dental cleaning and check up (its been a year) the hygienist was amazed at my teeth! The first thing she said to me was, "Your teeth are spotless!" Then after looking further in my mouth she said,, "You don't have any plague! " While she was spraying that jet stream in my mouth that stings your gums she said, "My white latex gloves are next to your teeth and your teeth look bleach white! " Then when she was finished she said, "You didn't have one drop of blood! You have absolutely no infection or bacteria in your mouth! " She wanted to know what I'd been doing, and I said, "OIL PULLING with organic coconut oil." (Also brushing with baking soda & flossing every morning). The dentist came in and looked around and said everything looks fine. My X-rays showed that the gums that had started receding the past few years seem to be covering the bottom of my teeth again in places. This was NOT a coincidence! I was extremely happy walking out of the office! Hope this helps somebody.

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Lwcath (Pawleys Island, Sc, Usa) on 09/08/2012

I amhaving great results with oil pulling with coconut oil for the last 3 weeks. I have also been doing a daily rinse with hydrogen peroxide. My lower cuspid teeth had horrible tartar that covered the bottom of the teeth. My gums were discolored and receding. Receding badly on the bottom. I never felt they were really clean after the most intense brushing. And I have intermittent issues of gum and tooth pain. My mouth felt better overall after just the 1st pull. 3 weeks later- Now, my upper gums have no signs of receding. My gums are pink and healthy looking. I had 2 troublesome, persistent swollen salivary glands on the floor of my mouth that are now non-existent. All tartar and plaque is gone, with the exeption of one tiny spot on one of the cuspids, and it is diminishing by the day.

I told my friend who is a dental hygienist about it. She didn't believe me. So I drove over to her house, and she was amazed. Epecially in the great condition of my gums.

My teeth feel so strong! I am a smoker, and my teeth are so much whiter. And when I rub my tongue over them it feels as if I have just left the dentist. Also, when I wake up, no bad breath! I was really scared I was going to ultimately lose some teeth, but now those fears are vanquished. Also, my skin is no longer dry, and my dry hair looks oily if I don't wash it every day. I also have noticed that I no longer have to use eyedrops and chapstick all day. My skin is just so nourished. I also think I am not grinding my teeth at night anymore.

Thank you Earth Clinic!!!!! I have to be careful who I tell this story to because I sound like a wing nut. I would never believe it if I hadn't experienced it!

Oil Pulling Feedback
Posted by Coffeeplease (Quad Cities, Iowa, Usa) on 05/19/2012

I oil pulled with unrefined organic Sesame oil for one week. I had a severe gum infection for which I was also taking antibiotics, but no over the counter pain medication. I had swelling and pain. I also have severe gum disease and have already lost one tooth by simply falling out, and before oil pulling had two more teeth about 80% loose, nearly ready to fall out, to the point where I could no longer chew on one side of my mouth, and retired to the idea that I could only eat soft foods for as long as I had this set of teeth. Being my first time oil pulling I opted to take the antibiotics as my infection was severe and wasn't sure whether oil pulling alone could take care of it, however, I was pleasantly surprised with the sesame oil! It took away pain for hours, it reduced my swelling almost immediately also for hours, it firmed up my loose teeth to about 80% normal in just a few days. I could bite into burgers and chew on both sides again. I oil pulled 3 times a day for 20 minutes. I followed none of the recommended rules (Oil Pulling on empty stomach, etc) I also slept like a rock during that week. Eventually gum disease causes people to NOT brush their teeth because of the pain, and if they do it is not for very long, so pulling before brushing helps tons, especially 3 times a day (once being before bed)

My mistake was switching to coconut oil the next week. It may be as effective at killing bacteria but was not as effective for pain (with me) nor did it make my gums feel good like sesame did... To the point where I just quit doing it until I got sesame oil again- which was today. I want to finish completely firming up these two still slightly loose teeth, and put an end to this gum disease. I intend to OP with sesame for the rest of my life and try remineralizing my teeth (for decay) at the same time. I absolutely love it and am so thankful to have to have come across it.

1 2