Does Oil Pulling Work?

oral hygiene - Coconut Oil

There are countless ways to take care of your smile. Some tools and methods have been around for centuries, while some technology is very new. While we practice modern dentistry here at New Generation Dentistry, we are always interested in finding new ways to help our patients keep their teeth clean! One trend that has come back into popularity in recent years is oil pulling. Some of our patients have asked us if oil pulling is an effective way to keep their mouths clean. We are here to answer that question!


Oiling pulling is a tradition that originated in India as part of Ayurveda, an ancient holistic system of health that also includes yoga and other practices that we continue to draw from today. Originally, practitioners would use sunflower and sesame oils to prevent bleeding gum, tooth decay, and dry mouth. Today, many people still use these oils, but coconut oil has emerged as the most popular choice because of its additional health benefits and sweet taste.

Potential Benefits

Many people swear by the oil pulling method. The idea is that toxins from the body build up in the mouth, and these toxins and bacteria are mostly oil soluble or single cells that will stick together when they come in contact with oil. Research has shown that oil pulling can in fact reduce halitosis (bad breath) by removing some of the bacteria that causes it. While oil pulling could potentially be a helpful addition to your oral care routine, it is important to remember that it does not replace tried and true hygiene basics, like brushing with toothpaste and flossing. It is also important to remember not to swallow the oil, as that defeats the purpose of cleansing toxins from your body and can cause an upset stomach if it happens too frequently.

Oil Pulling Instructions

Interested in trying the oil pulling method? Take about a tablespoon of oil (coconut or sesame oil), and swish it around in your mouth for about twenty minutes once per day. This may seem like a long time at first, so start with five to ten minutes per day and slowly work your way up. Be sure to spit the oil out when you are finished. Too much oil can potentially clog your sink or shower, so we suggest spitting the excess oil into a trash can.


Once again, oil pulling is not a replacement for other oral hygiene basics, like thorough brushing, toothpaste, and floss. However, it may be a holistic way to supplement your oral care routine! Have you tried oil pulling before? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!