Oil pulling is an all-natural way to improve oral health. Although oil pulling is just now enjoying positive feedback from dental patients, it is actually an age old practice that originated in India thousands of years ago. It wasn’t until the 1990s that health experts in the Western world began recommending oil pulling as a way to naturally detoxify the body, particularly the teeth and gums. Today, many holistic dentists recognize oil pulling as a safe, easy, and inexpensive way to significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay, oral infection, and gum disease.
We welcome our patients to use this guide as a reference for learning more about oil pulling to improve oral health.
Oil Pulling for Oral Health
Oil pulling is most commonly performed with either sesame oil or coconut oil, both of which are backed by several studies that support their ability to improve both oral and holistic health. When choosing an oil, it is important to select an organic version that is produced by a reputable brand or manufacturer.
How to Oil Pull
Oil pulling is easy and can be performed at home or while traveling. Simply select your oil, and then follow the steps below.
1. Choose an Oil
Put 1-2 teaspoons of coconut or sesame oil in the mouth.
2. Allow Time to Melt
Allow the oil time to melt and thin out while holding it in your mouth.
Once warm and thin, swish the oil throughout the teeth and gums. In his book, “Oil Pulling Therapy,” Dr. Bruce Fife recommends swishing for no more than 20 minutes (i).
4. Spit— But Not Down the Sink!
Spit entire contents of mouth— both oil and saliva— into the trashcan or empty bottle. The oil will be full of toxins and bacteria after swishing, so it’s important that you do not swallow it. It’s also important not to spit in the sink or toilet, because the solution will coagulate over time and might cause blockages.
Rinse with warm water, spitting remaining oil into trashcan or empty bottle.
Many patients add oil pulling to their morning or nighttime oral care regimen. If you like, you may brush and floss normally after oil pulling to further remove oil, plaque, and oral bacteria.
Does Oiling Pulling Work?
Online, oil pulling has received thousands of positive reviews from individuals who notice stronger teeth, brighter smiles, and healthier gums after just a few weeks of oil pulling. Many studies also indicate that this type of therapy is an effective way to improve oral health.
Oil pulling delivers high concentrations of several unique compounds that act as all-natural anti-bacterial agents. At least 4 recent studies indicate that the anti-bacterial benefit of oil pulling helps to eliminate oral bacteria, in turn reducing the risk of tooth decay, dental caries, and the development of the gum disease gingivitis (ii, iii, iv, v).
Holistic Health Benefits of Oil Pulling
Depending on the oil used, oil pulling also nourishes the body with potent nutrients and antioxidants that improve holistic health. Specific nutrients and antioxidants include:
Sesame Oil Nutrients
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Vitamins E and B1
- Minerals copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, and selenium
Coconut Oil Nutrients
- Vitamin E
- Lauric Acid
These nutrients are absorbed through the gums and oral tissues during the “swishing” phase of oil pulling therapy, leading to additional holistic health benefits including:
- Sinus relief
- Migraine relief
- Reduced insomnia
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved kidney function
- Supports natural detoxification from heavy metals
Holistic Dentistry in Miami
At Assure A Smile, we believe your teeth will enjoy a much healthier lifestyle through proper nutrition, diet, and safe care. To experience holistic dentistry firsthand, readers are invited to schedule an appointment with Assure A Smile online or call our friendly front desk directly at 305-274-0047.
(i) Fife, Bruce M.D. “Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing.”
(ii) S Asokan, J Rathan, MS Muthu, PV Rathna, P Emmadi, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry. 26(1):12-7, 2008 Mar
(iii) TD Anand, C Pothiraj, RM Gopinath, et al. Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria (PDF). African Journal of Microbiology Research, Vol 2:3 pp 63-66, MAR 2008. (PDF Link)
(iv) HV Amith, Anil V Ankola, L Nagesh. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and Gingivitis. Journal of Oral Health & Community Dentistry: 2007 ;1(1):Pages 12-18
(v) S Thaweboon, J Nakaparksin, B Thaweboon. Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models. Asia Journal of Public Health: 2011 May-Aug. (PDF)