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Oil Pulling: Is It Beneficial Or Just A Fad?

Oil pulling is a hotly debated subject with a variety of contrasting opinions. Many believe that it is a fad and will have a short-lived resurrection. Others argue that it really does reduce plaque. Both sides will admit that the technique was originally used by ancient Indians who were interested in oral health care.

How To Perform Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is performed by swishing coconut oil or sesame oil around in the mouth to eliminate harmful bacteria. Both have abrasive characteristics that will attack plaque better than other oils. Those who would like to try oil pulling will have to perform it for two sessions of four to five minutes. Those who try it will likely feel that their teeth feel cleaner, almost as if they had just had a cleaning at the dentist.


Proponents of oil pulling cite the results of a few small studies that shows how it reduces the plaque on teeth. They commonly cite a 2009 study in which 20 subjects used sesame oil to combat gingivitis that resulted from plaque. Not only did it reduce the plaque but it also attacked the harmful Streptococcus mutans bacteria that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Proponents also argue that it will help to fight the development of cavities and strengthen the gums. If oil pulling is performed on a regular basis, it can produce results within merely a couple of months.


The American Dental Association doesn’t endorse oil pulling for oral hygiene even though it is quickly gaining steam and reaching a mainstream tipping point. The Association argues that there is a lack of credible evidence to support the practice. They specifically point out that individuals should not use oil pulling in place of traditional brushing and flossing.

If you’d like to learn more about oral health and whether oil pulling is a better choice for your unique dental challenges than traditional care tactics, ask surrey dentists such as Dr. Peter Wong Even proponents of oil pulling advise those with significant plaque buildup to visit a dentist for the most effective treatment methods.

Oil Pulling Techniques

Two oil pulling techniques are commonly used: gandusa and kavala. The kavala technique involves filling the mouth with liquid, holding it in for a few minutes and then proceeding to swish it around. Once it has circulated throughout the mouth, it should be spit out. This entire process should be limited to four minutes or less. It should be performed at least two times. Gandusa involves holding the coconut oil in the mouth for four minutes and then spitting it out. This should be done at least two times in a row to eliminate as much plaque as possible.

It appears that there is a benefit from oil pulling even though it isn’t as significant as many of its proponents argue. Anyone who is looking for a quick fix to temporarily hold them over until their next dental visit should give oil pulling some consideration. Any with concerns about their oral health should understand that nothing compares to a thorough cleaning at a dentist’s office.

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