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oil pulling ayurveda

Oil Pulling in Ayurveda: A Natural Way to Boost Your Oral and Overall Health

Ayurveda’s oil pulling technique involves swishing oil in your mouth daily for a few minutes. It is believed to have numerous benefits for your oral health, including preventing bad breath, tooth decay, plaque, and gingivitis.

However, many don’t know oil pulling can improve health and well-being. Ayurveda believes that the mouth is the gateway to the body, and by cleansing it with oil, you can detoxify your system, improve digestion, and enhance skin health, leading to overall wellness.

This article will discuss the following topics: What is oil pulling? How does it work? How can you perform oil pulling correctly and efficiently? Why is oil pulling beneficial according to Ayurveda? Oil pulling mistakes and precautions to avoid, What are some frequently asked questions about oil pulling in Ayurveda?

What is Oil Pulling, and How Does it Work?

Do you know what Oil Pulling is and how it works?

Oil pulling is a simple and natural technique where you swish a tablespoon of oil (usually sesame, coconut, or sunflower oil) for around 15 to 20 minutes, preferably on an empty stomach in the morning. The oil is a magnet for bacteria, toxins, and other impurities that accumulate in your mouth and tongue. As you swish the oil, it mixes with your saliva, forming a thin, white layer that coats your teeth and gums. When you spit out the oil, you also spit out the unwanted substances that can harm your oral and overall health.

Oil pulling follows the principles of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical system that aims to balance the body, mind, and spirit. According to Ayurveda, each Person has unique constitutions, which are determined by a combination of three vital energies: vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water), and kapha (water and earth). These doshas govern a person’s physical, mental, and emotional aspects, influencing their health, personality, and preferences. When the doshas are in harmony, a person is healthy and happy. When the doshas are out of balance, a person is prone to diseases and disorders.

Oil pulling is one of the methods that Ayurveda uses to restore the balance of the doshas and to prevent and treat various health problems. Choosing the right oil for your dosha can enhance the benefits of oil pulling and achieve optimal health and well-being.

How to Practice Oil Pulling

Take part in oil pulling exercises

The practice of oil pulling is an easy practice that anyone can do at home. Follow these steps:

Choose the Right Oil

The first step is choosing the oil that suits your dosha and needs. The most common oils used in oil pulling are sesame, coconut, and sunflower, but you can also use other oils such as olive, almond, or ghee. Each oil has different properties and effects on the body, so choosing the one that matches your constitution and goals is important.

Here is a general guide to help you choose an oil according to your dosha:

  • Sesame oil is the most popular and versatile oil for oil pulling. It is suitable for all doshas, but especially for vata and kapha. Sesame oil is warm, nourishing, and lubricating and stabilizes teeth, reduces inflammation, and promotes circulation. Sesame oil also has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, and it can help prevent and treat infections, cavities, and bad breath.
  • Coconut oil is another popular and effective oil for oil pulling. It is ideal for pitta and kapha but can also be used by vata. Coconut oil is cool, light, and sweet, and it helps to soothe and moisturize the mouth, reduce plaque and tartar, and whiten the teeth. Coconut oil also has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, and it can help to fight bacteria, fungi, and viruses and to protect the mouth from diseases and decay.
  • Sunflower oil is a good option for vata and pitta, but it should be avoided by kapha. Sunflower oil is mild, neutral, and pleasant, and it helps to cleanse and refresh the mouth. Sores and discolorations can be removed, and the mouth can be refreshed with the appearance of the teeth. Sunflower oil also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which help heal wounds, ulcers, and sores in the mouth.

Timing and Frequency

Before eating, practice oil pulling

The best time to practice oil pulling is before eating or drinking anything in the morning. This is because your mouth is full of bacteria and toxins that have accumulated overnight, and by oil pulling, you can remove them and start your day with a clean and fresh mouth. You can also practice oil pulling at other times of the day, such as before or after meals or before going to bed, but make sure to do it at least an hour after eating or drinking and to rinse your mouth well afterward.

The ideal frequency of oil pulling is once a day, preferably every day. You can do it more often according to your preferences and needs. Some people may benefit from doing oil pulling twice or thrice a day, especially if they have severe oral or health problems, while others may find it sufficient to do it once or twice a week, especially if they have good oral hygiene and health. You can adjust the frequency of oil pulling according to your condition and goals based on what works for you.

Step-by-Step Guide to Oil Pulling

Guide on how to pull oil

Here are the steps to follow to practice oil pulling correctly and effectively:

  1. Take a tablespoon of oil (or less if you have a small mouth or difficulty swishing) and put it in your mouth. You can use a spoon, a dropper, or a squeeze bottle to measure and transfer the oil.
  2. Swish the oil around your mouth, moving it between your teeth and gums and over your tongue and palate. Do not gargle, swallow, or spit out the oil. Keep your mouth closed and relaxed, and breathe through your nose.
  3. Swishing the oil for 15 to 20 minutes until it becomes thin, white, and foamy. This indicates that the oil has mixed with your saliva and absorbed the bacteria and toxins from your mouth. You can stop earlier and spit out the oil if you feel discomfort, pain, or nausea.
  4. Spit the oil into a trash can, a toilet, or a sink. Do not swallow the oil, as it contains harmful substances you want to eliminate. Do not spit the oil into a sink or a drain, as it can clog the pipes and cause damage. Rinse your mouth well with warm or salty water to remove any remaining oil. To clean and freshen your mouth, your teeth and tongue can be gently brushed with natural toothpaste or baking soda paste.
  5. Enjoy oil pulling’s benefits and feel the difference in oral and overall health. You can repeat the process daily or as often as you like to maintain and improve your results.

Benefits of Oil Pulling in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, oil pulling has many benefits

Oil pulls can be a simple and natural way to care for oral health and a powerful and holistic way to boost overall health and well-being. By oil pulling, you can enjoy the following benefits:

Oral Health Benefits

Oil pulling can improve your oral health in many ways, such as:

  • Preventing and treating tooth decay, cavities, and dental caries. Oil pulls can help reduce the number and activity of bacteria responsible for tooth decay, such as Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus. Oil pulling can also help to remineralize the teeth and strengthen the enamel, which protects the teeth from decay and damage.
  • Preventing and treating bad breath or halitosis. Oil pulling can help to eliminate the bacteria and the toxins that cause bad breath, such as volatile sulfur compounds and ketones. Pulling oil from the mouth can also balance the mouth’s pH and neutralize the odors, improving the freshness and the quality of the breath.
  • Preventing and treating gingivitis, periodontitis, and other gum diseases. Pulling oil from the gums can reduce inflammation, bleeding, and infection of the gums, which are the signs and symptoms of gum disease. It can also be used to heal wounds and ulcers of the gums and prevent the receding and loosening of gums, resulting in tooth loss and bone loss.
  • Preventing and treating plaque, tartar, and calculus. Oil pulling can help remove the sticky and hard deposits on the teeth and gums, which are the sources of bacteria, toxins, and stains. It is also possible to prevent the formation and accumulation of plaque, tartar, and calculus, which can damage gums and teeth, cause diseases and

Detoxification and Cleansing

Getting Clean and Detoxified

Oil pulling can also help detoxify and cleanse your body from the inside out by removing the toxins and waste from your mouth and bloodstream. It is believed in Ayurvedic medicine that the tongue connects with various organs and systems of the body, such as the lungs, the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the stomach, the intestines, and the brain. 

You can stimulate and activate these organs and systems by oil pulling and enhancing their functions and performance. Oil pulling can also help improve blood, lymph, and energy flow and quality, boosting your immunity, metabolism, and vitality.

Improved Digestion

Also, oil pulling improves digestion and absorption of nutrients by enhancing the production and secretion of saliva, enzymes, and bile. Saliva is essential for the digestion of carbohydrates, as well as lubricating and moistening food and protecting the mouth and throat from irritation and infection. 

In addition to helping to digest proteins and fats, they also help to break down and eliminate the toxins and waste products from the food. Fats and fat-soluble vitamins are digested and absorbed by the bile, and it also helps to regulate the pH and the flora of the intestines. 

By oil pulling, you can optimize the functions and the balance of these digestive agents and prevent and treat various digestive problems, such as indigestion, acidity, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Skin Health and Overall Wellness

Health and Wellness of the Skin

Oil pulling can also improve your skin health and overall wellness by enhancing the appearance, texture, function, and appearance of your hair, skin, nails, and beard. According to Ayurveda, the skin is the body’s largest organ, reflecting the state and quality of the blood, lymph, and energy. 

You can purify and nourish these vital fluids by oil pulling and improving their circulation and distribution throughout the body. As a result of oil pulling, it is also possible to balance hormones and emotions, which can affect the skin and the mood. You can prevent and treat skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, dryness, wrinkles, and aging by oil pulling, enhancing your beauty, confidence, and happiness.

Common Mistakes and Precautions

Oil pulling is a safe and effective method that anyone can use at home, but there are some common mistakes and precautions that you should be aware of and avoid, such as:

Not Swallowing the Oil

One of the most important rules of oil pulling is not to swallow the oil since it contains harmful substances you’d like to eliminate. Swallowing the oil can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other adverse effects and negate the benefits of oil pulling. If you have the urge to swallow the oil, you can spit it out and start over with a fresh batch of oil, or you can decrease the amount of oil or the duration of oil pulling until you become accustomed to it.

Overdoing It

Mistakes to avoid when oil pulling

Another common mistake of oil pulling is to overdo it by using too much oil, too long, or too often. Overdoing oil pulling can cause irritation, inflammation, and damage to the mouth, the teeth, and the gums, and it can also interfere with the natural balance and the functions of the mouth and the body. 

The recommended amount of oil for oil pulling is one tablespoon. Use less oil if your mouth is small or you have difficulty swishing. The recommended duration of oil pulling is 15 to 20 minutes or less if you feel discomfort or pain. 

The recommended oil pulling frequency is once a day, or less if you are in good oral health, or more if you suffer from severe health issues.

Risk of Oil Spills

Oil pulling can also cause stains and damage if you spill oil on your clothes, furniture, or floor, which can cause stains and damage. To prevent oil spills, you should be careful and attentive when measuring and transferring the oil and when swishing and spitting the oil. 

You should also use a container, a towel, or a piece of paper to catch and dispose of the oil and to clean and wipe any spills or drips. You should also avoid oil pulling when you are in a hurry, distracted, or in a public or crowded place.

Consulting a Doctor before Starting Oil Pulling

One of the most important precautions of oil pulling is to consult your doctor before beginning, especially if you have any medical conditions, are pregnant, or are taking any medications or supplements. Oil pulling can have interactions and contraindications with some diseases, drugs, and herbs, and it can also affect the absorption and effectiveness of some nutrients and substances. For example, oil pulling can lower blood sugar levels, benefiting people with diabetes. 

Still, it can also be dangerous for people who are hypoglycemic or who are taking insulin or other antidiabetic drugs. Oil pulling can also thin the blood, benefiting people with high blood pressure. Still, it can also be risky for people who have bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulants or other blood-thinning drugs. Oil pulling can also detoxify the body, benefiting people with high levels of toxins. 

Still, it can also be harmful for people who have low levels of toxins, or who are pregnant, or who are breastfeeding, as it can release toxins into the bloodstream and the milk. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a physician before starting oil pulling, monitor your health and symptoms, and adjust your dosage and frequency of oil pulling accordingly.

FAQs about Oil Pulling in Ayurveda

Here are some of the questions people have about oil pulling in Ayurveda and their answers:

Can Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth?

Yes, oil pulling can whiten teeth by removing the stains and the discoloration caused by food, drinks, tobacco, and other factors. Oil pulling can also improve the teeth’ brightness and shine by polishing and smoothing the surface of the enamel. However, oil pulling cannot change the natural color or the shape of the teeth, and it cannot correct the defects or the damages caused by genetics, trauma, or disease. For these cases, you may need to consult a dentist and use other methods, such as bleaching, veneers, or braces.

How Long Should I Oil Pull?

The ideal duration of oil pulling is between 15 and 20 minutes, after which the oil turns white, foamy, and thin. The oil has mixed with your saliva and absorbed the bacteria and toxins. If you oil pull for less than 15 minutes, you may not get the full benefits of oil pulling, as the oil may need more time to interact and react with your mouth and your body. If you oil pull for more than 20 minutes, you may not get any additional health benefits because the oil may have reached its maximum capacity and efficiency. It may start to reabsorb the toxins and the waste products it has removed. Therefore, it is advisable to oil pull between 15 and 20 minutes, or until the oil changes its color and consistency, and then spit it out.

Can Children Practice Oil Pulling?

The practice of oil pulling by children

Yes, children can practice oil pulling as long as they are old enough and mature enough to understand and follow the instructions and the precautions of oil pulling and as long as they have the consent and the supervision of their parents or guardians. Oil pulling can benefit children, as it prevents and treats oral and health problems common among children, such as tooth decay, cavities, bad breath, gum diseases, infections, allergies, asthma, and earaches. 

However, oil pulling can also be challenging and risky for children, as they may have difficulty swishing the oil, swallowing the may, spilling the oil, or they may spill the oil, or they may have adverse reactions or interactions with oil pulling. Hence, it is best to consult a doctor and to start with a small amount of oil, or a mild oil, or a flavored oil, and to do it for a short period, or a low frequency of time, and to monitor the child’s health and behavior, and to adjust the oil pulling accordingly.

Is Oil Pulling Safe for Everyone?

Oil pulling is generally safe and effective for everyone, as it is a natural and gentle technique that uses edible and harmless oils commonly used for cooking and other purposes. Some people should avoid or not use oil pulling. This includes those who have allergies or sensitivities to certain oils, people with medical conditions or complications that may be affected by oil pulling, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those taking medications or supplements that may interact with oil pulling.

Before you start oil pulling, the best thing to do is consult a doctor, select an oil suitable for your dosha and your needs, follow the proper steps and precautions, pay attention to how you feel, and adapt your oil pulling accordingly.


Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurveda method in which oil is swished in the mouth for minutes daily. This practice treats and prevents oral health issues such as tooth decay, bad breath, gum diseases, plaque, tartar, infections, inflammation, and more. Additionally, it promotes digestion, detoxifies the body, balances hormones, boosts immunity, increases energy, and promotes beauty, confidence, and happiness.

Simple and easy to do, oil pulling can be done at home by gargling with oil for 15 or 20 minutes, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach. You should pick an oil that suits your needs, spit it out, and rinse your mouth well afterward. You can do it once a day or as needed.

While oil pulling tends to be safe and effective, some precautions must be remembered. You should not swallow the oil, overdo it, or spill it. Before starting oil pulling, consult your doctor, especially if you have health conditions or are taking any medications. Oil pulling may also alter the absorption and effectiveness of certain nutrients and substances.

Ayurvedic oil pulling is a technique that has been used for thousands of years and has many benefits for oral health and overall health and well-being. Anyone can give it a try and see the difference for themselves.

Picture of Dr. Kavi Arya

Dr. Kavi Arya



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