Oil Pulling – An Ayurvedic Practice for Oral Health

Oil Pulling – An Ayurvedic Practice for Oral Health

I have been meaning to write a blog post about –  Oil Pulling – An Ayurvedic Practice for Oral Health. I personally started this practice in 2010; however I still do not practice it as often. Therefore I am writing this blog to share with you and remind myself how wonderful this healing regime is. Oil pulling, also known as oil swishing is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment, performed to maintain strong oral health. It involves rinsing the mouth with cold pressed and extra virgin oils specific for your Dosha. Oil pulling or oil swishing is done first thing after tongue cleaning. A healthy oral hygiene regime include the following

1.  Tongue cleaning to expel ‘ama’ or toxin.

2. Oil pulling using cold pressed oil

3. Gentle brushing using herbal tooth powder or herbal toothpaste

4. Flossing

5. Salt water rinsing (warm water is ideal)

All of the above must be practiced before eating any food.

Note that Ayurveda recommends a warm salt water rinse after oil pulling or oil swishing. The warm water dissolves the salt fast, and warm reduces inflammatory conditions in the mouth. Salt has anti-microbial properties however it does not disrupt the balance of healthy flora. Therefore when toxins are being expelled after oil pulling, salt is a simple and easy way to clean the mouth, and soothe inflammations. I highly recommend using Celtic sea salt or Himalayan rock salt.

How to Perform Oil Pulling or Oil Swishing?

This practice is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text – the Charak Samhita, where it is also known as ‘Kavala Gandoosha’ or ‘Kavala Graha’.

  1. You place about one tablespoon of oil in the mouth.
  2. Swish the oil around for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Spit it out.
  4. Rinse mouth. I use salt water to rinse my mouth.

Oils for Different Dosha’s:

 Sesame seed oil is considered the most superior oil for oil pulling or oil swishing and is ideal for Vata and Kapha Dosha individual.

 However, during pitta aggravation, sesame oil is not recommended to use. Melted coconut oil is your best option.

Never purchase hydrogenated, refined vegetable oils for oil pulling.

Benefits of Oil Pulling or Oil Swishing:

According to Charaka, oil pulling or oil swishing can improve oral health and even have an impact on overall health.

Sesame oil is the oil of choice due to its many health-inducing benefits and internally

balanced make-up for the doshas.

Some benefits of oil pulling or oil swishing are:

  1. Oil pulling or oil swishing can reduce oral plaque.
  2. This practice can reduce halitosis (bad breath).
  3. Reduce the chances of gingivitis. It pulls out harmful bacteria, fungus and other microbes present in your mouth, teeth, gum and throat.
  4. Strengthens teeth, gum and even your jaw.
  5. Acts as a preventative shield against cavities and bleeding gum.
  6. I have personally experienced whiter teeth.
  7. Could be used for the treatment of TMJ and soreness in the jaw.
  8. According to Ayurveda, each part of the tongue is connected to internal organs or the meridian systems of the body. Oil pulling gentle and naturally stimulates these organs to detoxify.

What to Avoid when Practicing Oil Pulling or Oil Swishing:

In addition to oil pulling practice to maintain oral hygiene, reduce or eliminate using any oral care products that contain SLS, synthetic scents, parabens etc.

You must also not consume refined sugar or else oil pulling will not have much of an effect.

Oil Pulling or Oil Swishing Precautions

After oil swishing is complete always spit out the residue and never swallow it.

If you are allergic to sesame seed oil, swap with olive oil or sunflower oil.

Like any Ayurvedic regime, diet or food, oil pulling alone cannot cure everything or even the above mentioned benefits unless combined with proper diet and hygiene practices.

If you want to learn more  about Oil Pulling read Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing Body Through Oral Cleansing by Bruce Fife.



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  1. Hi, right now I have a canker on the tip of my tongue and an
    abcess in the lower part of my mouth due to a blocked
    salivary gland. Would oil pulling help this?

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