Benefits of Oil Pulling: Detoxify Your Body and Improve Oral Health

06/15/2023 | 5 min. read

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Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice of detoxification that involves swishing oil in your mouth for a certain period, typically around 10-20 minutes. It is believed to have originated in India thousands of years ago and is known for its various health benefits.

It offers numerous benefits for your overall health. Not only does it promote oral health, but it also gently cleanses and detoxifies your internal organs on a daily basis. With no side effects and a wide range of positive effects, oil pulling is a simple and effective practice that can benefit individuals of all ages.

Benefits of Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is believed to provide several benefits for oral health and overall well-being. While scientific research on oil pulling is limited, many individuals have reported positive effects from incorporating this practice into their routine. Here are some potential benefits associated with oil pulling:

  1. Improved Oral Hygiene: Oil pulling helps to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth, including Streptococcus mutans, which is a primary contributor to tooth decay. It may help to prevent cavities, gum disease and bad breath.
  2. Reduced Plaque Formation: The swishing action of oil pulling helps to dislodge and remove plaque from the teeth and gums, potentially leading to reduced plaque formation and improved oral health.
  3. Gingivitis Prevention: Oil pulling may help to reduce inflammation and bleeding of the gums, thereby preventing or improving gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease.
  4. Teeth Whitening: Some report that oil pulling helps to whiten their teeth naturally by removing stains and discoloration caused by certain foods, drinks or habits like smoking.
  5. Detoxification: Oil pulling is believed to promote detoxification by drawing out toxins, bacteria and other impurities from the mouth and the body. The tongue is considered to be connected to the internal organs in Ayurveda, and oil pulling stimulates this system to support natural detoxification.
  6. Sinus Congestion Relief: The swishing action of oil pulling may help to alleviate congestion and promote sinus health by reducing the presence of harmful bacteria in the mouth and throat.
  7. Headache and Migraine Relief: Some individuals have reported a reduction in the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines after regularly practicing oil pulling. This could be attributed to improved oral health and overall reduced inflammation in the body.
  8. Increased Well-being: While not scientifically proven, some people claim that oil pulling has positive effects on their overall well-being, including increased energy, better sleep and improved digestion. These effects may be related to the potential detoxification and general anti-inflammatory effects of the practice.

How To Do Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a simple practice that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Oil pulling is often performed in the morning on an empty stomach, as this is an effective time for detoxification. However, it can be done at any time of the day per your convenience. I recommend incorporating this practice into your daily morning routine, but if that is too much, practicing this in the evenings or just a few mornings each week still offers you positive results.

To perform oil pulling, you take approximately 1 tablespoon of organic oil, such as sesame oil or coconut oil, and swish it around in your mouth, pulling it through your teeth and around your gums. The swishing motion should be gentle and thorough, ensuring that the oil reaches all areas of your mouth.

During the swishing process, the oil mixes with your saliva and begins to dissolve and trap harmful bacteria, toxins and plaque in your mouth. As you continue to swish, the oil becomes thinner and turns yellowish-white and frothy. It is important not to swallow the oil, as it is now carrying the toxins and bacteria that you are trying to eliminate.

  1. Take 1 tablespoon of organic sesame or coconut oil in the morning.
  2. Swish the oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes.
  3. Spit out the oil. Do not swallow it, as the oil contains toxins that have been removed from your body.
  4. To save time in the morning, you can start swishing the oil and continue while taking a shower.
  5. After oil pulling, brush your teeth and scrape your tongue. You may initially notice an increase in the coating on your tongue, which is a normal sign of early detoxification. Over time, the coating will get less after oil pulling.
  6. If desired, you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water after brushing your teeth to remove any remaining oil residue. But this step is not necessary.

How Does Oil Pulling Work

In Ayurveda, the tongue is considered to be connected to the internal organs, similar to foot reflexology. The tongue and the organs are connected through subtle channels or meridians. Oil pulling stimulates and opens these channels connected to the tongue, promoting natural detoxification throughout the entire body.

By observing the color and location of the coating on your tongue after oil pulling, you can determine which organs may have an accumulation of toxins. The thicker and darker the coating on the corresponding area of the tongue, the more toxins may be present in the associated organ.

Seeds of Wisdom

Ayurveda views the body as a whole and from that perspective, even seemingly simple acts such as oil pulling can have a tremendous benefit to the entire body and mind. Even in western medicine, we’ve made the scientific connection between oral health and inflammation in the body through the understanding of how the bacteria in the mouth triggers inflammation in other parts of the body, such as the arteries, for example. As a result of this knowledge, now gum health is an important part of managing the risk of cardiovascular disease because we know the microbiome in the mouth has a direct impact on the cardiovascular system. When we understand how the body functions as a whole, it allows us greater control over our health. When we don’t, it can feel overwhelming trying to make sense of the health challenges we face and understanding why we are facing them.

Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary

Meet Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary

Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary is an integrative neurologist, Ayurvedic practitioner, and author of The Prime and Sound Medicine. Her combined expertise in both modern neurology and the ancient science of health known as Ayurveda gives her a truly unique perspective that has helped thousands of people to feel better and achieve health goals they never thought possible.

More About Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary