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Oil Pulling - Miracle or Fad?

BDS, FICOI, MDS
Dentist, Mumbai  •  11 years experience
Oil Pulling - Miracle or Fad?

After multiple patients have asked us about the authenticity of oil pulling as a technique, here's what we have to say:

There is no denying all of us wait for a miracle cure to that terrible disease called dental decay. Much of a dentists or a dental hygienists time goes into answering the question,

why do cavities happen? or how do I prevent cavities?

While people usually assume the answer is brushing and flossing there are some lesser known ancient techniques and some ultramodern gadgets that have contributed to our arsenal of options to keep your mouth healthy.

Oil pulling being one of them has been in the limelight of late.

What is oil pulling?

This oral therapy is a type of ayurvedic medicine that dates back 3, 000 years. It involves swishing approximately 1 tablespoon of oil typically coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil in semisolid form (as shown in the pic) in your mouth for about 20 minutes and then spitting it out.

Start with just 5 minutes a day. Twenty minutes of swishing is a long time, and while the longer you pull, the more bacteria you'll remove, 5 or 10 minutes will still offer some benefit.

A gentle swishing, pushing, and sucking the oil through the teeth is all that's required

Don't swallow. if you find it hard not to, you likely have too much oil in your mouth, spit it out and try again with a smaller amount. just discard the used oil into the nearest cup or trash can.

Why oil pulling? how does it work?

Recent studies show that oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms that cause bad breath.

How? most microorganisms inhabiting the mouth consist of a single cell, cells are covered with a lipid, or fatty, membrane, which is the cell's skin. When these cells come into contact with oil, a fat, they naturally adhere to each other.

Which oil?

Use coconut oil. While you can get the same bacteria-fighting benefits with sesame or sunflower oil, coconut oil has the added benefit of lauric acid, which is well-known for its anti-microbial agents. Also, a recent study found that coconut oil may help prevent tooth decay.

coconut and sunflower oil aren't the only oils with dental health benefits. For irritated, inflamed gums, rub a little vitamin e oil directly on the surface. It's rich in antioxidants, easily absorbed, and helps regenerate healthy gum tissue.

Additional benefits


Reducing decay
Whitening teeth by keeping clean and smooth surfaces that do not lodge food.
Eliminates bad breath
Preventing gum infections caused by harmful bacteria in the mouth


Expert tip

It doesn't reverse the effects of tooth decay, but it's a great supplemental therapy to reduce the bacterial count in the mouth thereby decreasing the likelihood of decay and other dental and systemic diseases.

The only disclaimer we would want to put in is


Do not ingest or swallow the oil in all your enthusiasm and,
Don't skip brushing and flossing. Oil pulling should never replace routine dental visits and traditional home oral care.


While oil pulling can't change your life or make you never need to go to a dentist again -try it for yourself, if it reduces your chances of decay and maybe even helps you ace your next dental visit with no new cavities.

We say thumbs up! pull away!

Please try this safe and natural practice and let us know how you find it in the comments section.

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