Oil Pulling Therapy – An ancient Ayurvedic technique for good oral health

oil pulling

Gargling with any oil for at least 20 minutes every morning on an empty stomach is known as ‘oil pulling therapy’, an ancient Ayurvedic technique that dates back to more than 3000 years. In Ayurveda, the oil pulling procedure is also referred to as ‘Kavala’ or ‘Gandusha’, and this has been used extensively during ancient days to treat all problems associated with oral cavity including tooth decay, throat dryness, bleeding gums, cracked lips, strengthening teeth, gums and jaw. Oil pulling is also used as an oral cavity cleanser, and prevents oral diseases.
Though sesame oil and sunflower oil are also recommended for oil pulling therapy, it is coconut oil that has gained popularity, as it shows huge benefits in maintaining oral health. Coconut oil is the most popular of all pulling oils, as it expels toxins from the mouth, prevents gingivitis, dental caries and oral thrush.

This therapy, which originated in Ayurveda, ‘pulls’ bacteria and other debris from the mouth, and gives fresher breath, whiter teeth and healthier gums, and protects you from various chronic health problems.

Coconut oil is considered one of the best oils to maintain proper health, is a super food and an ayurvedic miracle. Being rich in saturated fat with numerous health benefits, coconut oil helps in preventing Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, reduces cholesterol, boosts skin health and burns fat.

Being highly absorbable, with less omega 6 fatty acids, and being more flavourful, coconut oil is highly recommended for good dental hygiene. Also, the presence of ‘Lauric acid’ in coconut oil makes it a very effective antibacterial and antiviral agent, while the presence of ‘Caprylic acid’ in coconut oil makes it a powerful antifungal agent.

Benefits of oil pulling therapy

  • Swishing oil in the mouth directly lessens the bacterial load in the mouth, cleansing and expelling toxins and bacterial from the oral cavity and other microbes from the body.
  • The primary cause of tooth decay is the bacteria called ‘Streptococcus mutans’. Lauric acid present in coconut oil, helps remove bacteria effectively, reducing tooth decay.
  • Coconut oil pulling therapy has an effect on plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis. Swishing oil in the mouth leads to film formation on the teeth, and this film on gingiva reduces plaque adhesion. The lauric acid present in coconut oil reacts with sodium hydroxide in saliva and forms sodium laureate, which is responsible for cleansing teeth and decreasing plaque.
  • Oil Pulling therapy has also been proven to be effective as a mouthwash in eliminating bad breath, and this study has been published in the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry.
  • Oil Pulling therapy helps in preventing gum disease, which is caused due to accumulation of bacteria on the tooth and gaps between teeth and gum. Oil pulling will get in between the teeth and deep within gums and remove bacteria and other microbes.
  • ‘Oral Thrush’ is a common infection caused by yeast. Oil pulling therapy with coconut oil prevents this, due to the presence of ‘caprylic acid’, a natural antifungal that kills yeast present in the mouth.
  • What’s more, coconut oil pulling can whiten teeth naturally by eliminating the biofilm left by germs on the teeth, thereby removing tooth stain, resulting in whiter teeth.

Oil Pulling Therapy Method

Basically oil pulling is the simple process of swishing or holding oil inside your mouth for a few minutes.

  • Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth and gently swish it. Move it fully inside the mouth and in between your teeth.
  • Pull through the teeth and ensure that oil mixes with the saliva for about ten to twenty minutes.
  • Repeat the process until the oil turns white in colour. Please take care that you do not swallow the oil, as it is full of toxins.
  • Spit the oil and rinse the oral cavity with regular water.
  • After oil pulling therapy, brush your teeth with your regular fluoride toothpaste.


  • Oil pulling should be done early in the morning on empty stomach only.
  • Take care not to swallow the oil when swishing.
  • Make sure that you don’t give up your routine dental care procedures while including oil pulling into your oral hygiene routine.
  • Can try and experiment with sesame oil too.

With so much to offer, make sure you incorporate this simple oral health technique into your daily routine!