In Focus:
Oil Pulling

Harness the benefits of an ancient practise

February 7, 2021

Harness the benefits of an ancient practise

February 7, 2021

Starting your day off by gargling a mouthful of oil may seem a bit strange, but practitioners of ‘oil pulling’ swear it is an important part of a complete dental hygiene regime. This age-old method has a band of loyal advocates touting its numerous health benefits, including reducing cavities, gingivitis and bad breath. But should you really start swapping your mouthwash for coconut oil?




Oil pulling, also known as ‘kavala’ or ‘gundushu’ is an ancient practise that involves spooning edible oil into your mouth, swishing it around and spitting it out. Though that may seem simple enough, this technique has been used extensively for thousands of years as a way to promote oral hygiene. Associated with Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India, some studies have begun to show the same benefits that practitioners of the method have long sworn by.




Although there are many expansive claims about what oil pulling can do (cleanse the body of toxins, heal asthma and improve acne) not all of these are backed up with scientific research… However as the method grows in popularity, there is mounting evidence that it is quite beneficial for your oral health. Several studies have indicated that oil pulling helps reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth, which in turn helps prevent cavities, plaque build up and tooth decay. It also moisturizes the gums and increases saliva production, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve gum health, countering gingivitis.


And although there are many causes for bad breath (aka halitosis), oil pulling may help you get rid of it: research has shown that oil pulling with sesame oil decreases the microorganisms associated with bad breath. There is also some evidence that it can whiten your smile by slowly pulling surface stains off your teeth.




You have approximately 700 types of bacteria that can live in your mouth at any given moment, and while some of these are not so friendly, many actually are! Mouthwash may seem great, but its antiseptic properties also destroy some of the good bacteria which provide a protective effect against oral disease. Oil pulling, on the other hand, helps kill bad bacteria and promote the growth of healthy ones, leading to an overall healthier oral microbiome.




First choose an oil. You have a variety of different options– sunflower, coconut, sesame– but coconut oil is one of the most popular because of its strong antibacterial and antifungal properties.

It is best to oil pull on an empty stomach, in the morning before you have brushed your teeth or drunk water. Take a spoonful of oil (anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon) into your mouth and swish it around vigorously for 8 to 20 minutes. When you are complete, make sure not to swallow it (otherwise you digest all that stuff you just pulled out), and rather spit it out into your trash can or compost bin (not your sink, lest it become clogged with oil).


While there are some misconceptions about how oil pulling works – proponents claim that the method literally ‘pulls’ toxins from your body – it remains a simple, cost effective and natural health strategy to complement brushing and flossing. Give it a try!

Oil Pulling | One Practise A Dozen Benefits

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