Oil pulling is an ancient, Indian folk remedy claimed which freshens the breath and greatly improve oral health. Oil pulling is clearly mentioned in the classic and most esteemed textbook of Ayurveda, the Charaka Samhita.

What Is Oil Pulling and How Does It Work?

Oil pulling involves swishing one tablespoon of edible oil in the mouth, like a mouthwash for 15-20 minutes. The oil is then spat out followed by the brushing of the teeth

Using coconut oil for oil pulling is becoming increasingly popular. But other edible oils like olive oil, almond oil, or sesame oil can also be used.

The main benefit of doing this is that it reduces the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth.

The bacteria in your mouth create a biofilm on your teeth, a thin layer known as plaque which can cause various problems, including bad breath, gum inflammation, and cavities.

The way oil pulling works is simple — when you swish the oil around your mouth, the bacteria get pulled away and dissolve in the liquid oil.

There is no need to use a lot of force. If oil pulling causes pain in your facial muscles, relax a bit. Try using less oil next time and don’t swish it around too forcefully. Start swishing from 1-2 minutes and gradually increase to 15-20 minutes

The best time to oil pull is in the mornings on an empty stomach, before brushing your teeth. It can be done occasionally every month or once a week or even 1-3 times in a day.

The Bottom Line

Oil pulling seems to be an excellent complementary strategy to improve the oral hygiene and should always be used as an adjunct to tooth brushing.

The organic edible oils used in oil pulling do not have any adverse effects and are commercially available in different combinations.

While more studies need to be done on the oil pulling technique, it is clear that oil pulling helps reduce bad breath, dental caries and gingivitis

Dr Anil V. Ankola

Professor and Head, Public Health Dentistry

Dr.Vinuta – Reader

Dr.Laxmi – Lecturer

KLE College of Dental Sciences, Belagavi.


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