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Ayurveda Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an age-old remedy rooted in Ayurveda medicine that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums.

Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine, which evolved in India about 3000-5000 years ago. It is a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent but is now practiced around the world as a form of complementary medicine. Despite dentistry not being a specialized branch of Ayurveda, it is still said that some problems of the oral cavity can be managed and even cured by its systems.

Oil pulling

Ayurveda Oil Pulling is a procedure that involves pulling oil through your teeth and swishing oil around your mouth. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita where it is called Kavala or Gandusha, and is claimed to cure many systemic diseases ranging from headaches and migraines to diabetes or asthma. Oil pulling has been used extensively as a traditional Indian folk remedy for many years to prevent decay, halitosis, bleeding gums, dry throat, cracked lips and for strengthening the teeth, gums and jaw.

How to Oil Pull

This is a very simple concept that consists of swishing and pulling a couple of teaspoons of a vegetable based oil such as coconut, sesame or olive oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes.

Ayurveda Oil Pulling Instructions
  • Put 1-2 teaspoons of your chosen oil into your mouth.Organic sesame oil is the traditional oil used in Ayurveda as well as being the most studied for use in oil pulling. However, many people like to use coconut oil or olive oil.
  • Swish for 20 minutes. This is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough for your body to start re-absorbing any toxins or bacteria. As the oil mixes with your saliva it will double in volume, become thicker and turn milky in colour.
  • Do not swallow the oil, as it is hopefully full of your unwanted bacteria and toxins. The whole purpose of oil pulling is to remove toxins and bacteria from your body so don’t put them back in again by swallowing !!!
  • Spit the oil into a bin or disposable container. If you have a septic system don’t spit the used oil into your sink as this can clog pipes and drains.
  • Rinse by swishing warm water in your mouth. Some sources recommend warm water salted with Himalayan salts is good.
  • After rinsing brush your teeth and gums to make sure any remaining bacteria are killed.
Is Ayurveda Oil Pulling Safe?

This is one point that all sources seem to agree on – Yes it is safe.

Some sources claim that oil pulling doesn’t do much but at least they all agree that it does no harm either. And since all the oils used are edible and considered healthy they shouldn’t be problematic when swished in the mouth.

Note: Some people supposedly notice a detox reaction for the first few days of oil pulling. This may includes mild congestion, headache or mucous drainage.

Which Oil to Use ?

Well this depends…

If you have a known allergic reaction to any of the mentioned oils then steer clear. High Omega-6 or chemically created oils such as vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and corn oil should also be avoided. Purchase organic oils that are packaged in a glass container.

For whitening the teeth, coconut oil is the most effective. Also coconut oil is known to be slightly more effective at removing certain bacteria from the mouth, including the Streptococcus Mutans Bacteria – This is the dental caries bacterium!

Olive oil is sometimes used, although some sources claim that it is too harsh for the teeth while Sesame oil has been the most studied of all the oil pulling oils.

To date, there is relatively little formal trial data about oil pulling.

However since coconut oil does contain Vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, and also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties thanks to the Lauric Acid and Monolaurin make a great it is sure to be a great organic substitute for mouthwash.

Coconut oil also has other proven benefits, too.

It contains lots of easily digestible, fat-soluble vitamins such as A,D,E and K.

Vitamin A is good for the immune system, Vitamin E has strong antioxidant properties for the skin and can provide some protection against UV rays, Vitamin D is good for strong bones and teeth, and Vitamin K is good for blood clotting.

The one caution with coconut oil is the risk of “contact dermatitis,” an allergic skin reaction so it is best to do a test in the crease of your elbow before putting it in your mouth.

Making your own Ayurveda Oil Pulling Chews.

A website called Wellness Mama shared this recipe for making your own Coconut Oil Pulling Chews.

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 20-30 drops of organic pure essential oils

(If you are pregnant or want to use these with children please check with your GP or Midwife before ingesting essential oils such as peppermint, cinnamon, clove, etc.)


  • Melt the coconut oil until just barely liquid.
  • Remove from heat and add essential oils.
  • Pour into silicon molds and put in the fridge to harden.
  • Once hardened, remove from molds.
  • Place in an air tight container and refrigerate.
  • Use one per day as needed for oil pulling.

Hobart holistic dentist, Dr Dirk Jacobsen of the Dental Pod runs a holistic amalgam free, amalgam safe clinic. Call us on 6234 5114 for you next dental check up.

Because it’s time to think differently about your dental health.

Studies etc..

Effect of Ayurveda oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study – click here.

Effect of Ayurveda oil pulling on Streptococcus Mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip Mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study  –  click here

Coconut oil inhibits caries – click here