Oil Pulling for Oral Hygiene

Did you know that you can considerably reduce your potential for developing cavities, naturally and at low cost?

In traditional Ayurvedic Medicine, oil pulling is used to prevent teeth decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dry throat, cracked lips, and for strengthening the teeth, gums, and jaws.
There have now been several studies that support these claims, initially recorded by Caraka Samhita of ancient India more than 3000 years ago.

Streptococcus mutans:

    This study set out to evaluate the effect of oil pulling on the count of Streptococcus mutans in plaque and saliva using sesame oil, comparing efficacy with chlorhexidine mouthwash. The study found that there was a reduction in the Streptococcus mutans counts in the plaque and saliva samples of both groups. It concluded therefore that oil pulling is an effective preventive aid for maintaining and improving oral health (Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque 1.


    The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of oil pulling with sesame oil on plaque-induced gingivitis and compare its efficacy with chlorhexidine mouthwash. There was a significant reduction in the plaque index, modified gingival scores and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms present in both groups 2.

Antibacterial action and Saponification:

    The intention in this study was to evaluate the antibacterial activity of sesame oil and lignans isolated from sesame oil on oral microorganisms and determine whether saponification or emulsification occurs during oil pulling therapy. The study found that sesamin and sesamolin did not have any antibacterial effect against oral Streptococcus microorganisms, but that emulsification of sesame oil does occur during oil pulling. This mechanical cleaning process is what reduces bacteria in the mouth 3.


    In this study the effect of oil pulling with sesame oil on halitosis and the microorganisms undoubtedly responsible were evaluated and its efficacy compared with chlorhexidine mouthwash. Both were shown to be equally effective 4.

How to do oil pulling?

Ayurvedic text recommends untoasted sesame oil, but you can also use cold-pressed, organic coconut or sunflower. Swish gently for twenty minutes using one teaspoon to one tablespoon of oil every morning before breakfast after brushing. Swish while going about your morning routine, in the shower, getting dressed, preparing breakfast, or taking a walk. Spit into the trash, rinse the mouth with clean water*, scrape the tongue, and brush again with a natural toothpaste.  *You could also rinse with sole or salt water. Salt is also highly effective at reducing bacteria.

Oil pulling is said to help with other health issues as well as dental hygiene.

I am putting this to the test and have committed to oil pull daily for 30 days. Don’t be discouraged by the “idea” of oil in your mouth. I know I was, and it did feel a bit gross in the beginning, but you used to it and the oil very quickly become more liquid from swishing as saponification takes place. Start with a teaspoon and build up to a tablespoon. Some people add a couple of drops of peppermint oil, and that’s okay, but the oil has no real taste.

Send us your oil pulling story! If you done oil pulling before, or if you decide to give it a try now, please share with us. I am on day three and will report back in a month!


The information imparted on this website is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider. Use of any information taken from this website is at your risk. Always seek the advice of your professional medical physician before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment.

1. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque … (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18408265
2. A 6-month home-usage trial of 0.1% and 0.2% delmopinol … (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8707981
3. Mechanism of oil pulling therapy – in vitro study. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21525674
4. Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing … (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21911944


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