Oil pulling- fact or misconception 1 Oil Pulling- fact or Misconception

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Oil Pulling- Fact or Misconception

Sara Scarborough and Kim Le

Lamar Institute of Technology

Oil Pulling- Fact or Misconception

Ayurved, also known as oil swishing, or oil pulling, is a very old holistic healing system used for over a thousand years. The history of Ayurveda comes from the Indian folk remedies (Singh, 2011). Oil pulling consist of swishing coconut oil, sesame oil or sunflower oil in the mouth for about 15-20 minutes and then expectorating it (Laughter, 2011). The purpose for this research project is to let the dental field know about this widely unknown prevention topic. Oil pulling helps all the bacteria that is attached to the oral cavity get dissolved into liquid oil. By presenting oil pulling as a research topic, we hope to influence other dentists and dental hygienists to learn and experiment with oil pulling as well as come up with their own conclusion as to if it really works to heal and prevent oral harms.

The oil pulling process starts as the oil is warmed in the oral cavity, it begins to thin down and mix with the saliva. As this process begins, the oil’s lipids draw out toxins (thus the claim that is a detox agent). As the patient continues the swishing motion, toxins continue to be absorbed by the oil. The oil begins to thicken and begin turning opaque. It is at this point (usually after 10 minutes) that has reached its maximum detoxifying effects and should be expelled so that the toxins won’t be reabsorbed (F, 2014).

There are many great positive findings of why one should encourage oil pulling as a prevention of many oral diseases and problems. One main reason that oil swishing is a great concept for the dental clientele is that it is said to reduce oral toxins. By reducing oral toxins, the oral cavity is less likely to have an infection, be inflamed or acquire a disease (F, 2011). Oil pulling is also known to help control malodor. Research found that after 14 days of oil pulling, it was just as effective as using chlorhexidine. As widely known, chlorhexidine when used is known to leave staining, where as when tested against oil pulling, it left no stain. Oil puling also had no after taste, and also no allergic reactions. Another advantage from oil pulling is that is decreases the Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and also in saliva. Since the Streptococcus mutans count decreases, so does the risk for caries (Burkart, 2014). Research says that after oil pulling, the risk for caries has been reduced by 50 percent. Research has shown that oil pulling can also make teeth whiter (F,2014) . Oil pulling is also said to halt the bleeding of gingival tissues, improve the gingival tissues and also reduce the plaque score (Burkart, 2014). Not only does oil pulling have dental advantages it also has long term health effects, it is said to help ones metabolism and also lymphatic system (F,2011).

As there are many advantages to oil pulling, there are also many studies showing and telling that Ayurveda is a misconception. It was tested and proven that in fact chlorhexine was more prone to reduce Steptococcus mutans than oil pulling (Asokan, Rathan, Muthu, Rathna, Emmadi, Raghuraman, Chamundeswar. 2008). While the clinical evidence did prove that the Stephtoccus mutans did reduce, the chlorhexide showed a much faster reduction than the oil (Laughter, 2011). It was also proven that oral toxins cannot be removed by the blood by the act of oil pulling and that oral toxins cannot pass through the mucosa. While it has been said that oil pulling improves the gingiva, there is no clinical evidence that backs up this statement (Laughter, 2014).

In conclusion, there are some benefits to oil pulling, such as no allergic reactions and no staining. Most of the research and experiments that have been tested have found that oil pulling does not do what many in the world believe. Dr. Karach, the writer and creator of oilpulling.com, said the Oil pulling heals “head-aches, bronchitis, tooth pain, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and women’s diseases. It heals diseases of nerves, paralysis, and encephalitis. It prevents the growth of malignant tumors, cuts and heals them. Chronic sleeplessness is cured (Karach, 2004, p. 1).” While Dr. Karach words are believable, they are lacking in clinical evidence. It was published that Dr. Andrew Weil, stated that “Oil pulling won’t hurt you, but I wouldn’t depend on it to help you improve your overall health or treat significant medical problems (Burkart, 2014, p.75-77).”


Asokan S, Kumar RS, Emmadi P, Raghuraman R, Sivakumar N. (2011, September 9). Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial. Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, 29, 90-94. doi: 10.4103/0970-4388.84678.

Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu MS, Rathna PV, Emmadi P, Raghuraman, Chamundeswar. (2008) Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled triple-blind study. Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, 26, 12-17. Retrieved from http://www.jisppd.com/article.asp?issn=0970-4388;year=2008;volume=26;issue=1;spage=12;epage=17;aulast=Asokan

Burkhart, N. W. (2014). Oral Exam. ORAL OIL PULLING. Rdh, 75-77.

F, D. (2011, April 9). Oil Pulling: Not Just for Oral Health?. Retrieved from http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/oil-pulling/

F, D. (2014, August 8). The Health Benefits of Oil Pulling. Retrieved from http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-oil-pulling/

Karach. (2004). Oil Pulling A wonderful Therapy. Retrieved from http://oilpulling.com/index.htm

Laughter, L. (2011). Web Weaving. Just what is oil pulling therapy?. Rdh, 31(4), 64.

Laughter, L. (2014). Web Weaving. A SECOND LOOK AT OIL PULLING. Rdh, 70-71.

Singh, A. B. (2011). Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. Journal Of Ayurveda & Integrative Medicine, 2(2), 64-68.

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