What Is Oil Pulling, And How Does It Work?: Explained


  • Introduction

Holistic health techniques have grown in popularity recently as more individuals look to natural remedies to improve their overall health. Oil pulling is one such age-old method that has reappeared in modern wellness conversations. Oil pulling is a practice that has its roots in Ayurveda, an Indian ancient medical system. It includes swishing oil about the mouth for a predetermined amount of time and is frequently promoted as having health advantages. 

Let’s delve into the world of oil pulling, exploring its origins, the science behind it, and the potential oil pulling benefits.

  • Understanding Oil Pulling

Oil pulling, sometimes called “kavala” or “gundusha,” is a practice that entails swishing a spoonful of oil—usually sunflower, sesame, or coconut oil—around the mouth for ten to fifteen minutes. Spitting out the oil follows this routine, which is usually done in the morning on an empty stomach. Oil pulling proponents assert that this age-old practice has numerous health advantages in addition to encouraging dental care.

  • How Does Oil Pulling Work?

The mechanics of oil pulling are rooted in the principles of Ayurveda. According to this ancient system, the process helps detoxify the body by drawing out toxins and impurities through the oral mucosa. The swishing action activates enzymes in the saliva that mix with the oil, creating a lipid layer. This lipid layer is believed to attract and bind to toxins, bacteria, and other unwanted substances in the mouth.

Additionally, oil pulling is thought to improve oral health by reducing the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth. The swishing action is said to help remove plaque, bacteria, and debris from the teeth and gums, potentially leading to fresher breath and healthier gums.

  • Oil Pulling Benefits Explored
  • Improved Oral Health:

One of the primary benefits associated with oil pulling is enhanced oral hygiene. Proponents claim that regular oil pulling can help reduce plaque, prevent cavities, and promote healthier gums. The antimicrobial properties of certain oils, such as coconut oil, may contribute to this positive effect.

  • Whitening of Teeth:

Oil pulling enthusiasts also suggest that the practice can lead to whiter teeth. The removal of surface stains and the elimination of bacteria may contribute to a brighter smile over time.

  • Reduced Bad Breath:

The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of the oil used in pulling may help combat bad breath. By eliminating bacteria and toxins in the mouth, oil pulling proponents argue that the practice can lead to fresher breath.

  • Detoxification:

Ayurveda traditionally views oil pulling as a method of detoxification. Advocates believe that the process helps draw toxins from the body through the oral mucosa, contributing to an overall sense of well-being.

  • Potential Anti-Inflammatory Effects:

According to certain research, oil pulling may help the body’s inflammatory processes. Reducing oral inflammation may have systemic effects that influence general health.

  • Support for Healthy Skin:

While the primary focus of oil pulling is oral health, proponents claim that the detoxification process may have positive effects on the skin. Clearing toxins from the body could potentially contribute to healthier-looking skin.

  • Alleviation of Jaw Pain:

Oil pulling enthusiasts sometimes report a reduction in jaw pain and tension. The gentle swishing motion may help relax the jaw muscles, providing relief for those experiencing discomfort.

  • Enhanced Immune System:

Some advocates suggest that the detoxifying effects of oil pulling may contribute to a strengthened immune system. By reducing the overall toxic load in the body, the immune system may function more efficiently.

  • Potential Allergy Relief:

Though not scientifically proven, some individuals claim that regular oil pulling helps alleviate allergy symptoms. The purported mechanism involves reducing the overall burden of toxins in the body, potentially leading to a reduction in allergy-related symptoms.


While oil pulling has gained popularity in holistic health circles, it’s essential to approach it with a critical mindset. Scientific evidence supporting the myriad of claimed oil pulling benefits is limited, and more research is needed to validate these assertions. However, many individuals incorporate oil pulling into their daily routines and report positive experiences. As with any health practice, it’s advisable to consult with healthcare professionals before adopting new rituals, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions. Whether you’re drawn to oil pulling for potential oral health benefits or as part of a holistic wellness routine, understanding the practice and its historical context can contribute to a well-rounded approach to health and well-being.


Elaine Allen
the authorElaine Allen