The Surprising Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic practice, has gained popularity in recent years as a natural oral hygiene technique.

macro of interesting oil drops on water

Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic practice, has gained popularity in recent years as a natural oral hygiene technique. While the concept of oil pulling may seem unusual to some, proponents argue that it offers numerous health benefits. This article aims to explore the potential advantages of oil pulling, discussing its origins, recommended oils, and the science behind its alleged benefits.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling involves swishing oil in the mouth for a specific duration, typically about 15-20 minutes, before spitting it out. Traditionally, sesame oil was commonly used for oil pulling, but other oils like coconut, sunflower, or olive oil are also utilized today. The idea behind oil pulling is that it helps draw out toxins, bacteria, and other impurities from the mouth, promoting overall oral health.

Oral Health Benefits:

  1. Reduces Plaque and Gingivitis: Oil pulling is believed to help remove bacteria from the mouth, which can contribute to plaque buildup and gum disease. A study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that oil pulling with sesame oil significantly reduced plaque and gingivitis.

  2. Freshens Breath: By eliminating harmful bacteria in the mouth, oil pulling may combat bad breath, also known as halitosis. The oil’s antimicrobial properties can help neutralize the odor-causing bacteria responsible for unpleasant breath.

  3. Promotes Oral Hygiene: Oil pulling can act as a complementary practice to regular brushing and flossing. It reaches areas that a toothbrush may miss, such as between teeth and along the gumline, helping to maintain optimal oral hygiene.

oil drops on a water surface abstract background

Overall Health Benefits:

  1. Potential Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Some studies suggest that oil pulling may have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with various health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. By reducing oral inflammation, oil pulling may contribute to overall well-being.

  2. Supports Oral Microbiome Balance: Our mouths harbor a diverse community of microorganisms, collectively known as the oral microbiome. Maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria is crucial for oral health. Oil pulling may help promote a healthy oral microbiome by removing harmful bacteria while preserving the beneficial ones.

Important Considerations:

While oil pulling offers potential health benefits, it is important to consider a few factors:

  1. Oil selection: Different oils have varying flavors and potential benefits. Coconut oil, for example, is known for its antimicrobial properties, while sesame oil has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic practices. Choose a high-quality, organic oil that suits your preferences and needs.

  2. Technique and duration: Proper technique is essential for effective oil pulling. Swish the oil gently between your teeth and around your mouth, avoiding swallowing. Start with shorter durations and gradually increase the time as you become more comfortable.

  3. Complementary practice: Oil pulling should not replace regular oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing. Instead, it should be considered as a supplementary technique to support overall oral health.


While oil pulling may seem unconventional, it has gained recognition for its potential health benefits, particularly in terms of oral hygiene. By reducing plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath, oil pulling may contribute to improved oral health. Moreover, it may have positive implications for overall health by potentially reducing inflammation and supporting a healthy oral microbiome. As with any health practice, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and goals.


Smilo Visuals

A documentary photographer, filmmaker, journalist, and traveler. Being creative and documenting stories keep me happy and smiling.


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