Amanda Delwiche D.D.S.

Oil Pulling for Dental Health

May 22, 2014
Posted By: Julie Murphy, R.D.H.

Oil Pulling for Dental Health

Have you heard the buzz about Oil-Pulling with coconut oil to transform your dental health? Several patients have brought this to my attention recently so I decided to do some research. I learned that Oil Pulling has been used for thousands of years as an Indian folk remedy. It involves putting about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, then swishing it around your teeth for 20 minutes. The way that it works is relatively simple. Swishing the oil around in your mouth causes bacteria to “get stuck” and dissolve in the liquid oil. There are many different types of bacteria in the mouth, some are friendly others are harmful. Streptococcus Mutans is the main culprit behind plaque buildup, gingivitis and cavities. The bacteria in the mouth form a biofilm on the teeth, a thin layer that adheres to the surface. This is what we commonly refer to as plaque. By swishing oil in your mouth you remove a large amount of the bacteria and plaque each time you do this.


Traditionally, the Ayurveda process of Oil Pulling is done with sesame oil or sunflower oil. Recently, coconut oil has been used because half of the fat contained in coconut oil is lauric acid which is proven to have antimicrobial properties. The therapy of Oil Pulling is believed by some to have other healing properties when done properly. Check out for more detailed information.


If you want to try this at home put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish for 15-20 minutes by “sipping, sucking and pulling through your teeth”.  Then, spit it out. It’s important not to swallow since its full of bacteria and other toxins. This should be done first thing in the morning before breakfast, perhaps while showering or doing other tasks.

The most obvious result of Oil Pulling is supposed to be improved dental health – whiter teeth, pinker gums and fresher breath. We haven’t examined any patients that have been practicing Oil Pulling so have yet to witness the benefits of this therapy. This practice is not scientifically proven to provide dental health benefits as no research studies have been performed. We cannot recommend oil pulling but wanted to provide this information to patients who are interested.


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