Ayurvedic Oil Pulling

I came across this charming albeit uninformative video, but it got me curious about oil pulling. I never heard of it so after a little research, I found opinions split about 50/50 whether it is effective at all.

Oil pulling is part of the Ayurvedic tradition of holistic medicine. Basically, you gargle with oil three times a day. It’s called pulling because you need to pull it through your teeth. There are a few theories on the way that oil pulling works. Some say that the movement massages and stimulates the sublingual muscles to excrete toxins stored up in the body. Others say that the production of saliva is the catalyst for the body to excrete toxins.

The type of oil is also something to keep in mind. Sunflower and sesame seed are the recommended oils to use. Cold pressed oils are the highly desirable, refined oils are required.

Oil pulling has been purported to effectively treat gingivitis and whiten teeth. Also skin conditions such as eczema and acne have been reported to improve after sustained use. Reports of lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, and even diminished migraines have been attributed to the practice of oil pulling.

The procedure is quite simple. Take a tablespoon of oil into the mouth on an empty stomach. Swish the oil in your mouth much as you would mouthwash being careful not to swallow the oil. Swallowing a minute amount is not a problem.

Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral CleansingPull the oil through your teeth as well as chomping and moving your jaws in a biting motion. The oil will change in consistency from thick and yellow to thin and foamy. This is because your saliva is mixing with the oil bringing with it toxins being excreted through the tongue.

Swirl and pull the oil through your teeth for 15-20 minutes. At the end of the session spit the pulled oil into the sink or toilet. If you discard the oil in the sink be sure to clean the sink with an antibacterial wipe or soap.

Rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as normal. You will notice that after a few weeks of this your tongue will become pinker and healthier looking. Your teeth will be whiter and your breath will improve.

Remember this is not a race and you will not get any benefit from rushing. Some say that tilting your head back while oil pulling will ensure that oil is getting all the way to the back of the molars, but this is an advanced technique so don’t try it if you’re just starting out.

It is recommended that you wait an additional 10 minutes before you eat a meal. You may practice oil pulling 3 to 4 times a day if desired making sure to do so on an empty stomach each time.

The primary precaution with oil pulling is to do it on an empty stomach. You run the risk of vomiting if you oil pull after eating. The best time to oil pull is in the morning, after you brush your teeth, but before breakfast.

Being careful not to swallow the oil after pulling is another precaution. After the oil is pulled through your teeth, it will contain toxins extracted from the body. If you do happen to swallow the oil it will be passed through the system.

If symptoms worsen discontinue oil pulling for a week or two and then resume the practice. Some people have very sensitive systems and because of individual physiology may not be able to oil pull. If you notice that symptoms are not subsiding then discontinue permanently.

Reference: Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing


  1. Jymi Nonya says:

    I wonder how well Olive oil would work? It’s used as a cleansing agent for many years for other areas of the body.

  2. shekhar says:

    oil pulling is very old therapy and is being used since ages. Mustered oil is used to treat flu in Ayurveda and for message in panchkarma . I have seen many therapist are using it for hearing problems too.

  3. Just Another Human says:

    @Jymi Nonya: I started out my first week of pulling with olive oil. It didn’t turn a foamy white like sesame oil does so I assumed it wasn’t working as well as it should. But after my second time pulling I had to spit it out half way through to blow my nose and cough up mucus…It was was green with speckled black dots. If thats not a sign of it working I don’t know what is :)

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