All about oil pulling

Oil Pulling and Detoxing Treatment: Why do it? Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy that is practiced to cleanse and detoxify the body via the mouth and blood stream. It is said to alleviate symptoms from a wide variety of ailments, including: allergies, arterial diseases, arthritis, asthma, bad breath, bronchitis, cancers (various), chronic infections, constipation, eczema, gum diseases, gingivitis, receding gums, heart disease, insomnia, kidney diseases, lung diseases, meningitis, migraines, sinus problems, skin complaints (various), stiff joints, tartar (calculus), toothache, tooth decay, and varicose veins.

How Does it Work? It isn’t necessarily that oil pulling “pulls” anything out of your body. Instead, it seems to infuse your body with essential fatty acids (EFAs) sublingually. These EFAs enter the bloodstream, bypassing the gastric juices in your stomach. It is a fast and effective way to get some of the components of healthy oils (omega-3 and omega-9 acids, for example) straight into your blood. This explains why many skin conditions clear up with oil pulling.

The oil dissolves mucus, plaque, and even tartar, which makes your teeth look so much whiter after you start oil pulling!

Additionally, bacteria in the mouth are attracted to the oil. Bacteria naturally grow in your mouth and you continually swallow them. Some of these bacteria are beneficial and you need them for good health, but ailments can occur when harmful bacteria proliferate and get out of control. Oil pulling is a safe and gentle way to balance this ecosystem for optimal health.

The Technique: Basically, you’ll be holding some oil in your mouth for twenty minutes, gently swishing it all around and between your teeth but avoiding the back of your throat. Perform this daily or several times a week for best results. The traditional instructions call for sesame or sunflower oil, but coconut oil may also be used. You can rotate what type of oil you use every few months to increase the efficacy of the treatment. For instance if you start with sesame, rotate to sunflower after four months, then switch to coconut after another four months, and so on. Always choose organic, cold-pressed oils, and store them according to package instructions. Remember:

  • Do not swallow the oil. It contains bacteria and toxins.
  • Do not gargle in the throat. The oil should be swished in the mouth only.
  • Do it slowly.


Step 1
First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach and before drinking any liquids (including water), pour one to three teaspoons of oil into your mouth. We don’t recommend doing this process at any other time. Children can also do this with less quantity of oil provided they have control and practice to avoid swallowing the oil. As you gain proficiency and master the technique, we recommend graduating to a full three teaspoons of oil for maximum benefit.

Step 2
Swish the oil around your mouth and through your teeth without swallowing it. The oil will start to get watery as your saliva mixes with it. Keep swishing. Gently “chew” the oil and use your tongue to help move the liquid around inside your mouth. When you do this correctly, it will feel very comfortable. It does take some time to get used to, so don’t be discouraged if your mouth feels too full at first.
There is no right or wrong way to perform this! Don’t focus on doing it “right.” Do it with very natural movement, and eventually, you may find a task like folding clothes or putting on the kettle helps pass the time while pulling. Keep swishing gently for 20 minutes. If you have the unbearable urge to swallow, or if it becomes too unpleasant, spit the oil out and try again.
When you’re done, the oil will have turned whitish with a thicker, milky consistency, depending on the type of oil used. Each time you “pull,” it can take a different amount of time to get to that point, but 20 minutes is a good start.

Step 3
After your time is up, spit the oil into the trash (not the sink; it can clog the pipes!) and rinse your mouth with warm water containing sea salt (1 teaspoon per 8 ounces is sufficient). Saltwater rinsing isn’t necessary, but is helpful. It is antimicrobial and will soothe any inflammation.

That’s it! With time you’ll find the right amount of time and frequency that’s best for you to perform this treatment. Bear in mind that this is a detoxifying procedure, so take a break every now and then. Understand that this process works best in the morning. If for some reason it is absolutely not possible for you to pratice this method in the morning, you can do this on an empty stomach at any time of the day (ideally four hours after you’ve ingested any food).

In some cases, you may want to increase the antibiotic potency of the treatment for a short period. To do so, add TWO drops of organic Oregano essential oil to THREE tablespoons of your base oil. This makes the procedure potent, and not as palatable. Do this after root canals, during illness, or when the body is fighting infection. Oregano oil is a very powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent so please, do not add more than recommended here and be extra vigilant not to swallow this mixture. Call the clinic before adding Oregano oil to your treatment, as this may aggravate symptoms of detoxification. We suggest you do not do this for more than one week every few months.

If detox symptoms manifest or get worse when you start oil pulling, it is an indication that the treatment is working. Do not stop oil pulling if this happens for a few days – it is a sign that your body is healing.

Naturopathic physician who is educating people about their health in order to empower them to practice self care.