Oil Pulling in Medicine and Dentistry

Oil Pulling in Medicine and Dentistry

Does this ancient self-help practice work?

Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy that purportedly is a solution to strengthen teeth, reduce cavities, reduce periodontal disease, stop bad breath, reduce dry mouth and throat and relieve cracked lips.
It it also said to help you with tooth whitening, sleep, hangovers, and sinus infection.

Oil pulling is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita where it is called Kavala Graha or Ganusha (Gandush) and is claimed to cure about 30 systemic diseases ranging from headaches and migraines to diabetes and asthma.

The procedure involves swishing oil in the mouth for oral and systemic benefits. The oils that are frequently used are sesame or sunflower although coconut oil is becoming vogue “because of its high antioxidant levels and other therapeutic properties.


The Gandush cleansing technique involves filling the mouth completely with the oil, holding for 3-5 minutes and then spitting out. In the Kavala Graha technique, you add a comfortable amount of oil into your mouth and hold for 3 minutes then gargle with it. You should use pulling for at least a month to see if any benefits arise.

Try this in the morning…

When you wake up, take a tablespoon of coconut, sesame or sunflower oil (organic) and swish all around your teeth and mouth. Swish slowly for about 15-20 minutes. The Ayurvedic philosophy is to meditate while doing this as it quiets the body. However, if you find that you can’t sit still for 20 minutes, then go ahead and swish while you are in the shower, preparing breakfast, etc.

After swishing do not swallow, spit it out. I would recommend spitting it out into the garbage instead of down the drain as oil will eventually gum up your pipes.

Note: The taste can be disgusting when you first start out. You may want to take a couple of drops of peppermint or oregano oil along with it to ease the taste. Peppermint and oregano oils are naturally antibacterial.

My take on this

As far as bacterial control of the mouth, it is hard to say. I think it depends on the individual and the compliance.

We do bacterial studies with a microscope to determine if the bugs you have in your mouth are normal or disease causing. If we know you are pulling, then we can assess if it is working just by the microscopic evaluation.

Oil pulling should be a compliment to your normal dental hygiene routine. Yes you still need to be brushing and flossing!

Regular visits to the hygienist can help you make sure your teeth and gums are in top condition. Contact Dr. John Rothchild to schedule your appointment at: 970.382.7780.

If you think Oil Pulling may work for you, try it. You have nothing to lose. It is cheap and if it works, great!
So the jury is still out on this technique. Email me and let me know your experiences with it: Contact.