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Oil Pulling: Ancient Secret for Optimal Health

Oil Pulling: Ancient Secret for Optimal Health

What Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an ancient Indian folk remedy first mentioned in the early Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, which was believed to have been written approximately 1500 years ago.

One oil pulls by simply swishing a tablespoon of oil (sesame, coconut and sunflower are commonly recommended) in one's mouth for approximately 15-20 minutes on an empty stomach and then spitting it out. [For a "how to" video click here]

The Charaka Samhita describes oil pulling as effective for improving more than just oral health, but also 30 other systemic diseases ranging from headache, migraine to diabetes and asthma.

Modern scientific inquiry increasingly confirms oil pulling's benefit to oral health:

  • Proven to be as effective as the chemical chlorhexidine (as in Oral B mouthwash) for chronic bad breath (halitosis),[i] but without the side effects
  • Proven to be beneficial in patients with gingivitis[ii] and can result in whiter teeth and pinker gums
  • Proven to reduce the cavity-linked Streptococcus mutans bacteria in plaque and saliva of children[iii]
  • Proven to exert antibacterial actions through emulsification and saponification[iv]

Because oil pulling positively affects the composition of bacteria in the mouth by killing pathogenic microorganisms, it makes sense that it would be beneficial in other seemingly related health conditions. When the gums or teeth are infected, bacterial cells and/or their highly immunogenic components, e.g. lipopolysaccharide, can more easily enter the blood wreaking widespread inflammation. Insofar as oil pulling nips the bacteria-associated cascade of harmful, inflammatory reactions in the bud, it may reduce the toxic load on the entire body.

Root Causes: How Infected Teeth Damage Your Overall Health

One common cause of this ongoing bacteria-mediated inflammation is the presence of a root canal. There are many reasons to avoid root canals, and common sense would dictate keeping a dead piece of your body attached to living tissue is a bad idea, but millions undergo this procedure under the advice of their dentist or endodontic specialist without fully being informed of the deleterious health consequences.

The reality is that there are miles of maze-like microtubules within the dead tooth, a perfect breeding ground for anaerobic oral microorganisms that secrete potent endotoxins.  It is simply impossible to completely fill these voids with dental compounds.

Case in point, a 1998 study published in the journal Annuals of Periodontology titled "Anaerobic bacteremia and fungemia in patients undergoing endodontic therapy: an overview," found that endodontic therapy (root canal) is associated with high rates of infection (up to 54%) with anaerobic bacteria. More recent research confirms this finding. A 2005 study in the Journal of Dentistry also found "Detection of bacteraemias during non-surgical root canal treatment." View article here.

Unfortunately, root canals lead to the secretion of endotoxins directly into the blood, and while oil pulling may reduce some of the fall out from having an infected tooth, it will not resolve the underlying issue. Often, removal of the canaled tooth is the only permanent solution.

The good news is that oil pulling is an easy to perform intervention with a high margin of safety. Many report significant mitigation of seemingly unrelated health issues following its regular practice. Often the best proof is first-hand experience. Give it a try and please report your experiences below in the comments section below.

For additional research on the value of oil pulling visit our page on the topic: Oil Pulling.


[i] Sharath Asokan, R Saravana Kumar, Pamela Emmadi, R Raghuraman, N Sivakumar. Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2011 Apr-Jun;29(2):90-4. PMID: 21911944

[ii] Sharath Asokan, Pamela Emmadi, Raghuraman Chamundeswari. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res. 2009 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-51. PMID: 19336860

[iii] S Asokan, J Rathan, M S Muthu, Prabhu V Rathna, P Emmadi, ,. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2008 Mar;26(1):12-7. PMID: 18408265

[iv] Sharath Asokan, T K Rathinasamy, N Inbamani, Thangam Menon, S Senthil Kumar, Pamela Emmadi, R Raghuraman. Mechanism of oil-pulling therapy - in vitro study. Indian J Dent Res. 2011 Jan-Feb;22(1):34-7. PMID: 21525674


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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Oil Pulling

I had upper mouth discomfort once and it reached into my facial muscles.  Finally I thought about oil pulling and tried it with coconut oil.  I swished for 20 min or so and then spit it out in the garbage can.  And what do you know, after suffering for several months, within a couple of days the issue completely cleared up.  Amazing!!



This is an effective method for oral health, but I don't have 20 minutes to swish oil around in my mouth while concentrating on not swallowing it.

What I have done is use extra virgin coconut oil. I swish is for 5-10 minutes and swallow the oil, as it has other benefits to the body. I did this and almost immediately cured an inflamed tooth socket.

Oil Pulling After One Week

I started oil pulling when I noticed that the gum line below a root canal had turned black. In addition, while flossing around that tooth, I would get a terrible odor and my breath was awful. More flossing and brushing was not helping. I cannot afford a dentist.

This is sixth day of oil pulling. The gum area has returned to pink - there is still a small red line of irritation but I will keep pulling.

On a side note: I walk daily - any where from 3-5 miles a day. I had developed chronic ankle pain and my calf muscles were very stiff in the morning. Since I started oil pulling, I've noticed a gradual reduction in pain levels even though I continue to walk 3 - 5 miles a day. I cannot say if this is coincidence or proof of some of the claims about oil pulling but it is welcome.

The question now is - do I keep the root canal or have it pulled?


For the person who wanted proof in the form of studies - click the links at the end of the article.


Or follow this link:

Oil pulling toxins

The reason for spitting the oil out rather than swallowing it is the massive amount of toxins you would be ingesting in your body. The point of the oil pulling is not only to whiten your teeth and freshen your breath, but it is also to pull all the toxins out of body and specifically your mouth. Therefore, swallowing the oil would defeat the whole purpose and reintroduce your body to the same toxins. 

Need proof not just words

I understand the reason I just can not find any study that proves what toxins it pulls out.

I have looked maybe I just can not find it. It would be a super easy study too.

Just have people do oil pulling exam the spit out oil for toxins.


Hard for me to believe this one

I believe it might help your teeth but I have a hard time believing that you need to spit it out. I would say just shallow it. Has there been a study of what was spit out to prove you are really spitting out bad stuff.

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