Gateway to Health: Is Oil Pulling More Than a Fad?

In which I look into the real and scientifically proven benefits of oil pulling. Plus: swish oil suggestions for beginners.

Let’s start with a (probably well-known) bummer:

More and more studies link poor oral health to heart disease, inflammatory diseases, cancer and diabetes.

While there is a whole new world concerning holistic dental and oral care that I just can’t dwell on right now (but do check out the videos in the Interesting Dental Health Facts section below to get into the rabbit hole of knowledge); instead, let’s focus on oil pulling.
After all its adepts swear by swishing oil. They claim that it will detoxify the body, whiten & cleanse your teeth.
There is also strong opposition and an awful, awful lot of half-truths, beliefs, old wives tales and prejudice afloat – people wandering whether oil pulling is harmful, would loosen crowns and fillings or kill off the good bacteria.
But blind beliefs and panic are not how we roll here, heh?
So here are the most recent, scientifically proven beneficial facts that show impressively why oil pulling is good for you and oh so worth it.
These are also reasons why oil pulling is part of my dental routine.

5 Amazing & Proven Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

oil-pulling-ayurveda-fact-check1. Oil pulling (with sesame oil) shows the same amount of plaque and gingivitis reduction as chlorhexidine
Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study;
2. Oil pulling with sunflower oil has antifungal properties
3. Oil pulling with sesame oil is antibacterial against Streptococcus mutans
Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models
4. Oil pulling fights bad breath – equal effect with chlorhexidine
Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial
5. Oil pulling really is effective in cleansing teeth – due to the saponification/emulsification processes that occur during swishing
Mechanism of oil-pulling

So as you can see, oil pulling is neither a hoax, nor a fake, nor a myth, nor a new age joke.
It might look like a bit of a hype nowadays, but that’s by virtue of more people paying attention to traditional, holistic healing (here: Ayurveda).”

So, for those who want to try, what oils to choose and how does it work?
You’ll want to use sunflower, coconut or sesame oil.
Keep in mind that coconut oil is solid when cold, and the sensation of having a cold chunk of pure fat in your mouth is quite unpleasant, so you’ll want to melt it (but don’t cook it -– you don’t want to burn your gums!).
As for the duration, the gingivitis reduction effect occurred after 5 minutes of swishing once a day, while the real cleansing effect only sets in after about 15 minutes (saponification takes time). Ayurvedic healers say 20-30 minutes. Ain’t nobody got time for that. This is time better invested than getting root canal treatments.
My advice: get used to the process slowly. Start with 3 minutes, and build.

In fact, dental health is paramount for a healthy life, and whatever keeps our choppers healthy, keeps us on track:
Here’s a must-read article on dental health and cancer.oil-pulling-sesame-oilIn the pictures above: organic sesame oil infused with ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin seed and black pepper by Maienfelser Naturkosmetik (100 ml/ €9.50/). The bottle won’t last longer than 10-14 applications; the oil has a very strong cumin, ginger and turmeric flavour that reminds of killer spiced Pakora – but it’s a nice variation for those who, like me, don’t like to use the same oil everyday.
Before you ask: the oil does not make your teeth yellow.
As always: product purchased by me; no affiliates.

Interesting Dental Health Facts Your Dentist Knows Little About
(Well, Mine Doesn’t Anyway)

I also found these two talks on holistic dental/oral health very interesting, both given by Nadine of Living Libations:
Invisible Toothbrush (about 16 minutes) + Five Secrets to Beautiful Teeth (about 10 minutes)

You’ll learn how to get whiter, healthier teeth and how our teeth are connected with our endocrine system and our wellbeing.
A particular and huge Thank You to my soulmate Sonja of Life in Blush for introducing me to Living Libations in the first place! ❤
Now I just can’t wait for my first order to arrive – it took me a while to source an online store in Germany, but that’s, well, another story.

Somewhat ironic to talk dental health during Halloween season, but I’m told healthy teeth can handle an occasional treat.
I will address dietary choices for a healthy smile at some point later, meanwhile: feel free to ask your Qs in the comments below!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

13 Responses

  1. […] Oil pulling is something I’ve discussed earlier, and will discuss further, and have come to love. Most recent conclusion: it lets your lips – where, as you remember, the skin is so much thinner and way less protected than on the rest of the face – so, it lets your lips get in touch with a beneficial oil on a daily basis! For minutes! As you swish, some of the oil always slips to and just slightly over your lips, and helps keep them soft and healthy. The movement that occurrs during swishing (the “fish mouth” grimace moving left and right? yeah, that thing) is great exercice, too – unless you squeeze your lips into a gazillion of wrinkles, obviously. So don’t do that; and you’ve got yourself two unexpected lip beauty perks, from simply taking care of your teeth. Sweet! […]

  2. BLYSS chocolate

    My family have been doing it since they came our of the jungle – parents and grandparents swear by oil pulling. For me, heritage is a good reason as any. ❤

  3. Abby's Kitchen

    I’m a believer! I honestly believe I had an abscess as evidenced by (swollen gum & pain) that just went away after a few weeks of oil pulling, gum tonic, and oregano oil. Excellent article! Thanks for sharing!!

      1. Abby's Kitchen

        Yes I agree! Love her website! She’s pretty informative & helpful! I’m ordering the self dentistry kit right! Can’t thank you enough for sharing this info! Muah! ❤

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