You brush twice daily, you use mouthwash, you floss meticulously. Why do we need to even bother with something that sounds like a process akin to siphoning engine oil from a combined harvester? Yes, Old McDonald did have a farm, but in his mouth it is “with an Ugh! Ugh! here, with an Ugh! Ugh! there”. This particular technique – oil pulling – is centuries old that can make your mouth’s day… and week… and month… you grasp the concept. It is also au naturel, so there are no harmful chemicals and your smile will shine brighter than JLo’s rocks when she was still Jenny from the block!

What is this technique? And what happens to my mouth?

First up, we must clarify what it is. Long story short, it is putting organic oil in your gob (e.g. coconut oil), swishing and swirling it in there for twenty minutes just like a mouthwash, then spitting it out. However, not down the sink because that can clog up your pipes; you have been warned. It works as the oil sticks to bacteria in your mouth, killing the bacteria stuck in the process. Now, on to what happens after twenty minutes of goodness. Here are the benefits below provided by James Colquhoun at Food Matters.

These Ten Things Happen To Your Body When You Try Oil Pulling

oil pulling

1. Oil pulling helps get rid of bacteria

“The oil possesses natural antibiotic and antiviral properties that helps break down plaque to clean teeth, which may result in a whiter appearance

2. Increases energy

“Removing the noxious culprits (bacteria) in the first instance by oil pulling lowers the amount of work our body has to do to function, which leaves us feeling a whole lot better.”

3. Detoxes the body

“The gateway to the body for such contamination (caused by bacteria) is the mouth. Therefore, in removing the toxins at the source before they get a chance to spread, the body undergoes a complete detox.”

4. Aids hormonal changes

“Without having to compete with foreign substances, hormones can behave as they should, functioning to their best ability without being thrown off balance.”

5. Reduces headaches

“When the body is under toxic stress, headaches and migraines occur. By eliminating bacteria from the body via oil pulling, headaches can be avoided.”

6. Oil pulling keeps the skin clear

“Removing toxins from the body that would otherwise make it into the bloodstream means the skin has a chance to shine (along with more JLo bling perhaps?). Rashes and skin issues often reduce dramatically, or even clear up completely.”

7. Promotes oral hygiene

“Oil pulling is highly effective at reducing tooth cavities and at eradicating bad breath. It also helps with plaque-induced gingivitis.”

Please remember not to give up if you do not get the desired effect. Every case is different with varying factors, as explained by Colquhoun:

8. Prevents gingivitis and cavities

Another health benefit is that it prevents gingivitis and periodontitis. Oil pulling with sunflower or sesame oil, especially if they’re cold-pressed oils, removes bacteria, protozoa, and viruses from your mouth and oral cavity. They found that oil pulling for 40 days with sesame oil can reduce oral bacteria that cause dental cavities. Oil pulling reduces plaque build-up associated with gingivitis and cavities when used along with mouthwash, brushing, and flossing. Almond oil was the best oil to prevent gingivitis, and olive oil was the best oil to slow down plaque build-up.

9. Oil pulling improves your gum health

Oil pulling can reduce the bacteria responsible for cavities, peritonitis, and gingivitis. Your gums will get healthier, pink, and healthy. Practicing regular oil pulling improves the health of your gums and reduces inflammation.

10. Benefits your other organs

Your oral health affects your organs, such as your heart, kidneys, and lungs. Oil pulling reduces the bacteria and toxins from your body by getting trapped in the oil and then spit out.

How to Perform Oil Pulling

You should practice oil pulling first thing in the morning before breakfast while your stomach is still empty. Take one tablespoon of your preferred oil and swish it around in your mouth for at least twenty minutes. Force the oil out of your mouth, spitting it out between your teeth. The oil should become white and thin. After spilling out all the oil, rinse your mouth with warm tap water. Afterward, you can brush your teeth and rinse with mouthwash. Never spit out the oil into your bathroom sink because it’ll clog up your drain. Instead, spit the oil into a paper towel or a trashcan.


Avoid swallowing the oil while oil pulling since it contains bacteria and toxins. Be careful not to aspirate the oil into your lungs. Always stand or sit when you are oil pulling. You can practice oil pulling several times a day. Just be sure your stomach is empty between meals for the best effects.

Other Benefits of Oil Pulling

There are other benefits of oil pulling that are worth noting. These include:

  • Improve your hair condition
  • Can help reduce joint pain
  • Strengthens your gums, jaw, and teeth
  • Helps improve body odor
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Helps sore throat
  • Strengthen your senses

oil pulling

What are the negatives of oil pulling?

As with so many things, oil pulling has some potential negatives. These include:

  • Use of oil pulling instead of regular oral care-It’s important that you continue to practice good oral care such as regular brushing, flossing, and mouth wash.
  • It’s time-consuming.
  • The strain on your mouth-Vigorous swishing can make your mouth and jaw ache.
  • The oil tastes bad
  • You need to be careful not to swallow or aspirate the oil

What are the best oils to use for oil pulling?

Several oils work effectively. These include the following:

  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Coconut oil
(C)Power of Positivity, LLC. All rights reserved
Editor’s Note: Updated 11/30/2023 to remove direct claim of whitening, but to aid in breakdown of plaque, resulting in a whiter appearance.