Home Health Oil Pulling: Unraveling the Science Behind This Ancient Practice
Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling: Unraveling the Science Behind This Ancient Practice

by Ruhia

Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic practice, has gained popularity in recent years as a natural oral health remedy. This simple technique involves swishing oil around in the mouth for several minutes. Proponents claim that oil pulling can improve oral hygiene, detoxify the body, and promote overall well-being. But what is the actual science behind oil pulling? Let’s delve into the research and explore the potential benefits, risks, and scientific evidence supporting this traditional practice.

The Basics of Oil Pulling

Oil pulling typically involves using the best oil for oil pulling, such as coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil. Traditionally, practitioners would swish the oil in their mouths for about 20 minutes. But many modern recommendations suggest a shorter duration of 5 to 15 minutes. The oil is worked through the teeth and around the gums before being spat out, ideally, into a trash can to avoid clogging drains.

Oral Health Benefits

One of the primary claims surrounding oil pulling is its potential to improve oral health. Research indicates that certain oils, particularly coconut oil, contain antimicrobial properties. Studies have shown that oil pulling is the best solution to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Reducing Plaque and Gingivitis

Several studies have investigated the effects of oil pulling on dental plaque and gingivitis. In one study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, oil pulling with coconut oil was found to significantly reduce plaque and gingival scores in participants after just 7 days of practice.

Potential Detoxification Effect

Another claim often associated with oil pulling is its ability to detoxify the body. Experts suggest that the oil “pulls” toxins from the bloodstream and mouth, which are then discarded when the oil is spat out. However, the scientific evidence for this detoxification effect is limited.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions

Oil pulling is generally safe for most people when done correctly. However, some individuals may experience mild side effects, such as an upset stomach or a temporary increase in saliva production. There have been rare reports of lipoid pneumonia associated with accidental inhalation of oil during the swishing process. To minimize risks, it’s best to avoid swallowing the oil and dispose of it properly after each session.


While the scientific evidence supporting oil pulling’s claims is still emerging, there is some research indicating its potential benefits for oral health. Oil pulling may be a worthwhile addition to your oral care routine, especially if you’re seeking a natural, holistic approach to complement conventional dental practices. As with any health practice, it’s essential to consult your dentist or healthcare provider before using the best oil for oil pulling into your routine, particularly if you have pre-existing dental conditions or health concerns. Understanding the science behind oil pulling empowers you to make informed decisions about its potential place in your overall oral care regimen.

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