The Ancient Art of Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing oil around in your mouth, on an empty stomach for 20 minutes a day. The idea is that this process removes the oil-soluble toxins in the body.

Oil Pulling has a number of linked health benefits, including whiter teeth and fresher breath as well as the reduction in plaque and harmful bacteria. There are also a number of other testimonials that claim oil pulling has helped people with skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems and more, however, none of these claims are yet to be scientifically proven.

What Oil do you use?

You can use any vegetable oil – coconut, olive or sesame oil. For taste and texture, I personally recommend Loving Earth Cold Pressed Coconut Oil.

What do you do?

Place 1 tablespoon of your chosen oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes before spitting it out. Rinse your mouth well and you’re done!

So what does the science say?

A study conducted in 2009 showed that oil pulling therapy showed a reduction in the plaque index, modified gingival scores, and total colony count of aerobic microorganisms in the plaque of adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis.

A 2011 study found that oil-pulling therapy was equally effective as chlorhexidine (antiseptic) on halitosis (bad breath) and organisms, associated with halitosis. 

A 2014 study stated that oil pulling with sesame oil is equally efficacious as chlorhexidine (mild antiseptic) in reducing oral malodour (unpleasant smell) and microbes causing it.

In saying that, a study conducted in 2015, found a slight but not significant decrease in the bacterial counts post oil pulling and hence, rendered it ineffective.

Oh, science.

Have you tried oil pulling? What were your thoughts?



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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.