Is Oil Pulling A Real Thing?

Oil Pulling

For those who've heard of it you're probably wondering if it works... and for those who haven't heard of it, you're probably wondering "wtf is oil pulling?"

Let's start With a Recap of What it is:

Oil Pulling is a dental hygiene technique. It involves swishing 1-2 tablespoons of cold pressed oil (usually sunflower, olive, or coconut) around your mouth for 10-20mins then spitting it out. Similar to mouthwash.


It is a technique that's been used for thousands of years by ancient cultures. Promoted highly by India, until the 1990s when it became popularized by Dr. F. Karach.

However, Western Medicine has yet to confirm its effectiveness as it has not been studied enough here. on the other hand European, African and Asian Nutrition and Medicine Journals have all backed it up.

What's the Purpose of Oil Pulling?

The purpose is to improve overall health not only in oral hygiene but as an aid in many other diseases and health problems. In fact, poor oral hygiene is associated with many health problems from CVD to gatrointestinal issues.

It is a remedy for a huge list of issues and some of the most important include:

  • Decreasing Plaque (and most other forms of oral inflammation)
  • Decreasing Headaches/Migraines
  • Bronchitis
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Eczema
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Whitening Teeth
  • Reversing Cavities

And the list goes on, up to 30 diseases. However, the above are the most anecdotally noted and agreed on. Dr. Korach has claimed he's helped a patient cure cancer with oil pulling treatments and others have claimed it's been used to treat diseases such as meningitis too. As far as I'm concerned there's no evidence of it curing terminal diseases like that. It might be true, but I'm just going by the science I see and my own personal experience so I'll leave that for you to decide.

What Does the Hard Science Say?

More recent studies have shown that it is definitely effective for reducing bad bacteria in the mouth (thus improving overall health markers), reducing inflammation (especially gingivitis), and bad breath. Each study I've read concludes that more research needs to be done to confirm its effectiveness with other diseases which have yet to be studied. They all seem to have high hopes which is cool.

How Does it Work?

It works by pulling toxins and bad bacteria from the mouth. The oil itself acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent. By swishing it around your mouth for 10-20mins, it collects all the dirty bacteria and then you must spit it out.

Try doing it first thing in the morning, either before or after breakfast. Some people choose to pull it at night before bed as well (woahhhhh, hey now).

What Type of Oil is Best?

Original oil pullers used sunflower seed oil but almost any kind of natural oil can be used. Olive Oil is a good option because it tastes good and has some additional health benefits. The use of Coconut Oil is probably the most popular form nowadays because of its multiple health benefits. Coconut Oil contains a large amount of a specific fatty acid called "Lauric Acid", which is a highly effective anti-microbial. It's a bad ass immune booster that can help kill bacteria and viruses.


My Personal Experience With Oil Pulling

I decided to give it a try about a year ago after noticing a tooth ache. I've only ever had one cavity in my life and it felt like it was the same tooth. After reading the science behind oil pulling, it made sense and I gave it a shot. Let me tell you that I was more than impressed by the outcome.

What I noticed After One Week:

Not only did my tooth ache go away, but my teeth were whiter and my bad morning breath was gone. It also made me really thirsty after each time so I would rinse my mouth and have a glass of water.

I started off with Coconut Oil (saw great results), then moved to Olive Oil (saw similar results) and then even tried gross refined vegetable oil. Surprisingly, that worked too, but not as well, and it also tastes disgusting. However, it is the cheapest option so if you're on a budget, give it a shot.

I didn't do any fancy testing to see if my gut bacteria had improved or anything like that but I'm a believer that it helps in other aspects of health too.


Out of curiosity I asked a few fellow industry workers if they had any experience with Oil Pulling. The few that had tried it didn't stop raving about it. So why isn't this a mainstream thing that EVERYBODY is doing?

I honestly think its because its boring and annoying as hell. Swishing that oil for 10-20mins is enough to make you want to gag. You also can't talk to anyone while you're doing it (which may or may not be a bad thing). To save time I got into the routine of swishing it from the time I left my house, to the time I got to work (which is fortunately about a 10min walk). That seemed to work well, but I was only consistent with it when I noticed the benefits fading. I'd stop for 2-4weeks, then noticed the positive effects diminishing and I'd start it up again.

I've currently been on and off for over a year and I'd definitely recommend you try it. If you do, give it a week straight. Just like most good things in life, it takes time and consistency to settle in work well.


  1. Asokan, S., Emmadi, P., & Chamundeswari, R. (2009). Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study.Indian Journal of Dental Research20(1), 47.
  2. Asokan, S., Rathan, J., Muthu, M. S., Rathna, P. V., & Emmadi, P. (2008). 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 Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry,26(1), 12.
  3. Asokan, S. (2008). Oil pulling therapy. Indian Journal of Dental Research,19(2), 169.
  4. Asokan, S., Kumar, R. S., Emmadi, P., Raghuraman, R., & Sivakumar, N. (2011). Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: A randomized controlled pilot trial. Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry29(2), 90.
  5. An, T. D., Pothiraj, C., Gopinath, R. M., & Kayalvizhi, B. (2008). Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria. African Journal of Microbiology Research2(3), 63-66.