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The Oil Pulling Thread
Thread for discussing everything related to the ancient alternative therapy Oil Pulling.

There are actually now a few small studies on oil pulling which have found reduced plaque causing bacteria and improved oral health.  I will link the studies up in the thread shortly.

I am currently doing a 90 day oil pulling experiment myself, using extra virgin olive oil as my choice of oil.

I will report back with any benefits or side effects that I encounter.  I've tried oil pulling many times acutely in the past, but usually life gets in the way of me sticking to trying it.

This time though I am diligently going to start every morning by oil pulling for 20 minutes and maybe throw in a second oil pulling session later in the day.

Would love to hear other's experiences with oil pulling.
Oil pulling is a traditional folk remedy practiced in ancient India. It is believed to cure more than thirty systemic diseases when practiced regularly and as directed.

Due to occurrence of side effects to modern medicines and oral hygiene products, people are increasingly attracted towards complementary and traditional practices.

Oil pulling in addition to offering several oral health benefits has also beneficial effects on overall health. The present article attempts to review and discuss this ancient practice.

2. Procedure of oil pulling

In oil pulling, a tablespoon full of oil is swished around the mouth in the early morning before breakfast and in empty stomach for about 20 min. In case of children greater than five years of age, a teaspoon of oil is used. The oil is ‘pulled’ and forced in between all the teeth by swishing it all around the mouth. At the end of this activity if the procedure is done correctly, the viscous oil will become milky white and thinner. Then it is spit out and mouth is thoroughly washed with clean warm saline water or tap water and teeth are cleaned with fingers or routine tooth brushing is performed.  If the jaw aches, then the procedure can be done just for 5–10 min. The oil should not be spit into the sink as the oil can cause clogging of the pipes. Instead, the oil should be spit into a trashcan or on a paper towel.

Oil pulling should be ideally performed daily morning on empty stomach before brushing teeth and care should be taken that oil is not swallowed.  Swallowing of oil during oil pulling should be avoided as the oil contains bacteria and toxins.  Oil pulling is best practiced in sitting position with chin up. It can be practiced thrice daily in empty stomach before meals to fasten the healing effects.  It is contraindicated for children below 5 years due to risk of aspiration.  The practitioner should take care not to aspirate the oil while performing rigorous oil pulling. In cases of oral ulcers, fever, vomiting tendency, asthma and in conditions where brushing is difficult and sometimes contraindicated, oil pulling can be advantageously used to maintain oral hygiene


Oil pulling is observed to bring improvement in oral hygiene when practiced correctly and regularly. Limited available research on effect of oil pulling on oral hygiene shows promising benefits of oil pulling procedure on oral cavity. However oil pulling does not replace dental therapy and is currently not recommended by American dental association. 

Extensive research on the role of this traditional, cheap and valuable remedy should be encouraged without bias. Based on currently available research it can be concluded that oil pulling when performed as recommended, can be safely used as an adjunct to maintain good oral hygiene and health along with the routine tooth brushing and flossing with promising positive results.

Full source study can be viewed at: Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review
Oil pulling or oil swishing therapy is a traditional procedure in which the practitioners rinse or swish oil in their mouth. It is supposed to cure oral and systemic diseases but the evidence is minimal.

Oil pulling with sesame oil and sunflower oil was found to reduce plaque related gingivitis. Coconut oil is an easily available edible oil. It is unique because it contains predominantly medium chain fatty acids of which 45-50 percent is lauric acid. Lauric acid has proven anti inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.

No studies have been done on the benefits of oil pulling using coconut oil to date. So a pilot study was planned to assess the effect of coconut oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis.

Materials and Methods:

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of coconut oil pulling/oil swishing on plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis. A prospective interventional study was carried out. 60 age matched adolescent boys and girls in the age-group of 16-18 years with plaque induced gingivitis were included in the study and oil pulling was included in their oral hygiene routine. The study period was 30 days. Plaque and gingival indices of the subjects were assessed at baseline days 1,7,15 and 30. The data was analyzed using paired t test.


A statistically significant decrease in the plaque and gingival indices was noticed from day 7 and the scores continued to decrease during the period of study.

Oil pulling using coconut oil could be an effective adjuvant procedure in decreasing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis.

Full source study can be viewed at: Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis — A preliminary report
To critically appraise and evaluate the evidence from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) examining the effectiveness of oil pulling on oro dental hygiene.


We conducted electronic searches in Medline, Embase, Amed, The Cochrane Library and Cinahl databases from inception to February 2015, and assessed reporting quality using the Cochrane risk of bias criteria. We included RCTs that compared oil pulling using conventional cooking oils with a control intervention. Our primary outcomes were measures of oro dental hygiene using validated scales.


Electronic searches yielded 26 eligible studies, of which five RCTs comprising a total of 160 participants were included. The studies varied in reporting quality, lasted between 10 and 45 days, and compared oil pulling with chlorhexidine, placebo or routine dental hygiene practice. Three studies reported no significant differences in post intervention plaque index scores between oil pulling and control groups (Chlorhexidine mouthwash +/- Placebo): p=0.28, 0.94, and 0.38, respectively. Two studies reported no significant difference in post-intervention modified gingival index score between oil pulling and Chlorhexidine mouthwash groups (p=0.32 and 0.64).


The limited evidence to date from clinical trials suggests that oil pulling may have beneficial effects on oro dental hygiene as seen for the short period of time investigated. Given that this is a potentially cost-effective intervention, this practice might be of particular benefit. Future clinical trials should be more rigorous and better reported.

Full source study can be viewed at: Effect of oil pulling in promoting oro dental hygiene: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials.
Day 3 of Oil Pulling and I definitely feel like my mouth is much cleaner after every oil pulling session.

My teeth look whiter also so it will be interesting to see if they are significantly whiter after the full 90 days.

As to general health, I don't know if its purely placebo but I have noticed a slight increase in mood, energy and overall well-being immediately after.

I'm still using extra virgin olive oil, although I might pick up some cold pressed sesame oil later, which is the main oil they use in India traditionally for oil pulling.
Day 4 of Oil Pulling and things are still going well

I am doing the oil pulling anywhere from 1-3 times daily.

Sometimes I am struggling to get more than 5 minutes swishing the oil around, other times I can last 10 minutes or more.

Teeth and mouth again feels much cleaner. I have a few small cavities, so it will be interesting to see if oil pulling lives up to the hype and claims of whether it can reverse dental cavities or not.

Again I'm not sure if it is placebo, but there seems to be a mild improvement in well-being and energy after every oil pulling session, especially in the morning. Felt really good this morning afterwards.

Will keep updating my results with oil pulling as I go.

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