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Oil Pulling: Gross or Healthy or Both

By Edited Sep 28, 2016 1 5

Health is such a major topic online that it, along with finance, politics and entertainment, tends to dominate the internet.  If something is trending in health or any of the other mentioned topics then you can be sure that there are millions of people around the world researching and trying the latest buzz.

One of the latest health buzzes is “oil pulling”.  Sounds kind of dirty, right?  Don’t worry.  We’re going to stay clean in this article and try to give a straight forward explanation of what heck oil pulling actually is.

Oil Pulling is healthy but gross

What is Oil Pulling?

How many ancient treatments make a comeback in regards to oral health?  Not many.  Why?  Well, prior to the advent of modern dentistry and tooth care, a person’s grill could look more mangled than road kill and not smell much better, either.

Oil pulling involves using pure oils as a means of using the oil’s natural agents to pull harmful bacteria, fungi, and other nasty organisms out of the mouth, teeth, and throat.  Oh, and supposedly the oils can help with detoxification.

Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing
Amazon Price: $15.95 $8.94 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 28, 2016)

How to Oil Pull

The best method of oil pulling is accomplished by placing about a tablespoon of cold-pressed oil in your mouth and swishing with it for around 10 to 15 minutes and then spitting it out.  It is widely thought that the best type of oil to accomplish this is sesame oil.  Other forms of oil that are used are extra virgin, cold-pressed olive, coconut, sunflower, and coconut oil.  Which is the best oil?  No one really knows so many experts recommend trying the different oils on alternating days to get all of the health benefits out of each.

I know your next question…

What is Cold Pressed Oil?

Cold Pressed Oils
When oils are extracted from their sources a method of pressing and grinding is used.  This pressure and grind method results in heat caused by friction.  In order for an oil to be considered “cold pressed” the temperature from this method must not rise higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius).  Cold pressed oils retain more flavor, nutritional value and aroma.

The Gross Part of Oil Pulling

So, you put a tablespoon of this really high-end, cold-pressed oil in your mouth and start swishing for several minutes.  If it doesn’t sound appealing to you at this point then just wait for what happens next.  After swishing for a little while the oil starts to turn thin and white.  As you continue to swish the oil actually turns thick and viscous while maintaining its white appearance.  At that point, it’s time to spit it out.  Yeah.  Nasty.

The whole time you’re swishing with the oil it is pulling toxin out of the saliva, gums and teeth.  It’s important to spit it out at the correct time before the body starts to re-absorb those toxins.

How Oil Pulling is Healthy for You

Oil pulling supports and intensifies overall oral health by:

  • Reducing the amount of germs in tooth plaque and mouth saliva. 
  • Lipids in the oil pull out bacteria as well as preventing new germs and bacteria from sticking to teeth and gums. 
  • Creates a soapy effect in the mouth and keeping it clean because vegetable oil is a natural.
  • Increases tooth strength as well as that of the gums and jaws.
  • Prevents tooth decay, cavities and gingivitis.
  • Aids in preventing bad breath (no bacteria and germs equals good breath).
  • Helps to fight chapped lips, dry mouth and dry throat.

Oil Pulling Health Benefits

Other Claims on How Oil Pulling Can Increase Overall Health

Some believe that oil pulling actually helps the lymphatic system because harmful bacteria are removed from the mouth which allows beneficial microflora can begin to flourish.  Oil pulling is used a lot in holistic healing and because of these beliefs, it is often used to treat several different types of body ailments, such as:

  • Migraine Headaches
  • Hormone imbalances like the ones that cause gynecomastia
  • Reduce arthritis from flaming up and becoming more painful
  • Reduction of eczema spots and overall skin health
  • Reduce the symptoms of bronchitis or “chest cold”
  • Promote healthy kidney function
  • Sinus congestion
  • Hangovers
  • Improved vision.  Really?
  • Pain reduction
  • Allergy relief
  • Detoxification


As you might be able to tell from the tone of this article, I am not a true believer in all of the positive things that oil pulling can do for the body.  Oral health, sure, I buy that-but arthritis and hangovers?  The last thing that I want to do when I wake nauseous and with a headache is gargle with oil.  I shudder just thinking about it.

There have been oil pulling studies[1] conducted on its benefits and many results have shown a boost in oral hygiene and overall healthier mouths for those that are doing it.  However, the “holisitic” uses for oil pulling is a little too far-fetched for me to totally buy into.  

Thinking About Oil Pulling? Here are some oils to try:

Nature's Way Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil, 32-Ounce
Amazon Price: $28.99 $16.19 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 28, 2016)
Life-Flo Organic Pure Sunflower Oil, 16 Ounce
Amazon Price: $13.59 $8.67 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 28, 2016)


Mar 22, 2014 3:28am
Hi Ken,

This is a fascinating article. I, like you, have doubts about the general health benefits but, if oral hygiene is aided it has got to be worth a try.

I will try it for a day or two with extra virgin olive oil as I have that in the pantry.
Mar 23, 2014 3:27am
Wow! I'm impressed!
Mar 23, 2014 2:24pm
Michi, thanks for reading.
Mar 24, 2014 10:13pm
This will probably beomce new mouth hygeine instead of toothpaste with sodium flouride which is actually ratpoinson. So thank you for posting.
Mar 24, 2014 10:29pm
Gonzoid, thanks for the compliments and for reading. Henning, much appreciated that you stopped by and commented.
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  1. Abhinav Singh and Bharathi Purohit "Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health." US National Library of Medicine. 20/03/2014 <Web >

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