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Oil Pulling – Health Benefits, Uses Side Effects

Many people are conscious about their oral hygiene and look for alternative methods to have bright and shiny teeth.

Oil pulling is a practice that goes back many centuries. It helps the mouth to get rid of impurities and, in turn, leaves the oral cavity healthy.

An oral cavity is a place where many of the bacteria are present. Oil pulling helps to easily get rid of these bacteria at the ease of home.

The procedure of oil pulling is also mentioned in the Ayurveda. It helps with getting rid of unhealthy particulate matter and microorganisms.

Since oral health is interlinked with the general health of the body, a person observed overall positive effects on health

Method of Oil Pulling

The ideal condition to carry out this procedure is in the morning on an empty stomach before brushing teeth.

The oil that is pulled should not be swallowed at any cost since it contains the impurities.

This is the reason that it is not suggested to small children as it may be aspirated. After the oil pulling procedure, the oil is spat out, and teeth are brushed as per normal routine.

Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

The mechanism behind oil pulling is yet clearly defined, but the benefits of oil pulling clearly vouch for the process.

There are many health benefits that it poses on both the dental and overall health of a person.

1. Getting Rid of Harmful Bacteria

Our mouths are filled with bacteria and toxic microorganisms. A number of these bacteria travel to our stomachs and produce adverse effects on our health.

Many of these bacteria are also responsible for bad breath, the decay of teeth, and oral diseases.

Oil pulling helps to get rid of these harmful microorganisms. In some cases, it is also considered a better alternative when compared with day to day mouthwashes.

2. Getting Rid of Foul smell

Improper oral health results in bad breath. Mostly this is because of the improper cleaning of the mouth, tongue, gums.

In some of the cases, it might be due to infections of the gum. Oil pulling allows effective cleaning of the mouth and reduces bad breath.

3. Getting rid of cavities

Cavities are also as a result of poor oral hygiene. People often consume a lot of sugar and do not adequately clean their teeth.

These particles form a coating on the teeth and slowly decay the teeth. Oil pulling, along with efficient brushing and flossing, helps to maintain oral health to an optimum level.

4. Getting Rid of Inflammation

Swollen gums are a sign of inflammation in the mouth. Oil pulling, specifically with coconut oil helps to get rid of the inflammation of the mouth.

It is due to the positive effects of oil pulling. Plus, anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil create an overall positive effect.

5. Getting Rid of Yellow Teeth

Yellow teeth are a sign of embarrassment in public. People usually shy away from smiling wide when they have yellow or pale teeth.

Oil pulling helps to clean teeth from stains. These stains are developed over the years due to several eating and drinking habits. Teeth whitening through this process has the least risk factors.


1. Dental Caries

An oral biofilm always surrounds the oral cavity. This oral biofilm is made up of 700 species of bacteria.

Among these species, streptococcus and Lactobacilli are also present that are the main reasons for dental caries.

They affect the enamel of the tooth once the pH value of the oral cavity lowers.
Oil pulling with coconut oil produces an antibacterial effect.

It helps in getting rid of the oral biofilm and maintaining the overall health of the oral cavity. A 20% reduction in the bacterial count can be observed after 40 days of oil pulling.

2. Gingivitis

Gingivitis, more specifically, one that occurs due to plaque, is one of the most commonly seen oral diseases.

This occurs due to the very same reason, i.e., bacteria in plaque interact with inflammatory mediators.

This results in inflammation of gums, which is a painful condition and requires extensive dental procedures.

A 52 to 60% reduction in gingivitis is seen after oil pulling. This is a clear indication that oil pulling helps to get rid of inflammation in gums that is due to plaque

3. Halitosis

Halitosis also is known as bad breath. Halitosis is a widespread problem that often results in social embarrassment.

People with halitosis do not feel comfortable in speaking in a close conversational setting.

Halitosis is because of the degradation of the molecules present in food, plaque, and saliva. Gram-negative bacteria is the reason for causing this degradation. Oil pulling is very effective against bad breath.

When compared with Chlorhexidine mouthwash, oil pulling was a cost-effective alternative with the least side effects.

4. Candidiasis

It is commonly known as oral thrush, it is a fungal infection. The culprit behind this infection is Candida Albicans.

People who wear dentures, undergoing antibiotic treatment, or inhale corticosteroids are at risk of developing candidiasis.

Oil pulling helps in trapping toxins and removing these. An added effect of antifungal properties of coconut oil is specifically helpful.

Side Effects Of Oil Pulling 

There are no apparent side effects of oil pulling. The most adverse effects are only observed when a person completely replaces regular teeth brushing with oil pulling.

Because in this case, a person becomes more prone to develop cavities.

The person who has planned on performing the oil pulling method should pay great attention to the oil used.

Many prefer coconut oil. But the degree of adulteration in the market might create a problem for the oral cavity. Therefore, it is better to buy oils from certified and authentic sellers.


Oil pulling is a safe method to maintain oral hygiene. It is also known to produce system benefits. But the research in this regard is minimal.

Oil pulling should not be used alone. Effective teeth brush and flossing should be carried out normally. Visiting regularly to the dentist is also essential to discuss issues related to the oral cavity.

Oil pulling is contraindicated in children below 5 years of age because they have a tendency to aspirate the oil. This may cause choking.

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