Mastering Oil Pulling: Benefits and Practical How-To Guide

Nov 17, 2023 By Nancy Miller

The Indian practice of oil pulling involves swishing oil about the lips to remove harmful bacteria. People are interested in learning how to pull with coconut oil and other variations because of its purported health benefits.

It's easy to include coconut oil pulling into your existing oral hygiene routine. Coconut oil may be purchased at most grocery stores or online. Notably, it is still the one and only ingredient required.

In this article, we explain what oil pulling is and how to do it properly. We also analyze advantages and other factors from the viewpoints of academics and practitioners.

Oil Pulling Benefits

Works Against Bacteria

Eliminating dangerous oral germs is possible. There are potentially 700 different types of bacteria that may live in your mouth, with 350 possible at any one moment. Tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease are all caused by germs. Oil rinsing has been shown to reduce the number of harmful germs in the mouth. Seventy-five teens participated in the trial, with half using an antibiotic mouthwash and the other half swishing with sesame oil every day. After 15 days, both approaches significantly decreased dangerous plaque and saliva bacteria. A comparable research with 60 people examined mouthwash, water, and coconut oil rinsing over two weeks. Saliva germs were successfully decreased by using either mouthwash or coconut oil. Reducing the amount of germs in one's mouth is helpful for both good oral hygiene and the avoidance of certain diseases.

Potential in Alleviating Halitosis

Bad breath, or halitosis, affects nearly half of all people on Earth. Various things may produce this syndrome. Infections, periodontal disease, poor oral hygiene, and bacterial buildup on the tongue are common contributors. The goal of conventional therapies is to eliminate germs, which may be done by brushing or using an antiseptic mouthwash such as chlorhexidine. In 2011, researchers found that oil swishing was just as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing bad breath. Twenty young adults participated in the research, and they all saw a significant decrease in the number of halitosis-causing microbes after taking either chlorhexidine or sesame oil. Oil swishing appears as a natural, perhaps equally effective alternative to traditional foul breath therapies, however additional investigation is necessary.

Potential for Cavity Prevention

Tooth decay, which may lead to cavities, is a common dental problem. Tooth decay is caused by a number of factors, including lack of attention to dental care, eating too much sweets, and a buildup of germs in the mouth. Plaque, which consists of germs, saliva, and food debris, coats teeth and contributes to the development of cavities. Tooth decay is caused by acid produced by bacteria when they feed on dietary debris.

Swishing with oil has been shown to lower oral bacteria and hence aid in the prevention of tooth decay. Some research suggests that, similar to the effects of mouthwash, swishing with oil may help reduce dangerous bacteria in saliva and plaque. Swishing with oil may help prevent tooth decay and reduce cavity risks by reducing certain bacteria types that contribute to tooth decay.

Potential Benefits for Gum Health and Inflammation Reduction

Common gum disease called gingivitis causes gums to become inflamed, red, and bleed easily. Gum inflammation and bleeding are two symptoms that plaque bacteria are mostly responsible for. It has been suggested that rinsing with oil might help improve gum health and reduce inflammation. Plaque and dangerous oral bacteria are major contributors to periodontal disease, and its use may help eliminate germs like Streptococcus mutans. Gum disease-related inflammation may also be reduced by using oils with anti-inflammatory properties, such as coconut oil.

Coconut oil swishing for 30 days decreased plaque levels and enhanced gum health in a research involving 60 individuals with gingivitis. Plaque reduction, gingivitis improvement, and reduced dangerous oral bacteria were seen in both groups of 20 boys with gingivitis who swished with sesame oil or a commercial mouthwash.

Current results suggest oil swishing's potential as an effective supplementary strategy for avoiding plaque development and supporting gum health; nevertheless, further research is needed in this area.

Additional Potential Advantages

While there hasn't been a ton of study done on the topic, proponents of oil swishing say it can help with a variety of issues. However, oil swishing may help inflammatory diseases due to its anti-inflammatory effects. While there have been no definitive research on the anti-inflammatory effects of oil swishing for these illnesses, its potential cannot be ignored.

Furthermore, anecdotal reports suggest oil swishing as a natural means of tooth whitening. Proponents say it may eliminate stains from teeth, producing a whitening result, while scientific support for this claim has yet to be demonstrated.

Ease and Affordability of Incorporation

The key benefits of oil swishing are its ease of use and the fact that it can be incorporated into existing routines. There is just one simple item required, and it's probably already in your pantry. Although sesame oil has long been the oil of choice for this purpose, other oils with similar anti-inflammatory and antibacterial characteristics, such as coconut and olive, may be used instead. You can improve your dental health and save time by starting this routine, which only takes 20 minutes a day.

Oil Pulling Techniques

Coconut oil swishing begins with putting a spoonful of the oil in the mouth. Those who can't stand the taste may substitute olive or sesame oil. For 15–20 minutes while sitting or standing tall, swish the oil around your mouth. If maintaining this for an extended amount of time proves difficult, start with shorter intervals of 5 or 10 minutes and work up from there. Swallowing via the nose and swishing constantly are both essential.

Upon completion, dispose of the oil in a rubbish container to avoid drain clogs. The oil shouldn't be ingested. Some people clean their teeth right after swishing, while others wait to promote a healthy balance of germs in the mouth. Use a different toothbrush after swishing than you normally would for your routine dental care.


Swishing with oil, an age-old technique with origins in Indian folk medicine, is gaining popularity as a useful supplement to regular dental care. It's easily accessible because to its simplicity and the use of commonly available oils like coconut, sesame, or olive. Research highlighted its promise in lowering dangerous oral germs, minimizing foul breath, and avoiding cavities and gingivitis. Oil swishing is a simple, natural way to supplement regular oral care routines, enhancing overall dental health with little effort and expense, while further research is needed to validate other claims such tooth whitening and anti-inflammatory properties.

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