What is oil pulling? Oil pulling is the ancient Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil (like coconut or sesame) in your mouth for several minutes. Oil pulling originated in India millennia ago but is now widely practiced around the world.
You can technically oil pull with any edible oil, but coconut oil is best for improving oral health.
Oil pulling is an easy, inexpensive way to rebalance the oral microbiome and improve oral and dental health.
The Best Oil for Oil Pulling
Coconut oil is the best oil for oil pulling due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to balance the bacteria in the mouth. However, as long as you choose an oil that is cold-pressed and organic, you will still receive some benefits.
The most popular oils used for oil pulling are:
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
- Olive oil
Coconut oil is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse. It also contains lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) that is incredibly effective at killing the bad bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. These same compounds may also decrease the amount of plaque that builds up on your teeth, in turn reducing your chance for gum disease.
Oral Health Benefits of Coconut Oil Pulling
1. Coconut oil pulling reduces the risk of gingivitis.
Regular oil pulling might help you avoid the challenging and potentially dangerous form of gum disease known as gingivitis.
When your gums become swollen, inflamed, and tender, it may be a sign you have gingivitis. The oil acts as an emollient. Essentially, it suds up a little like soap, cleaning the teeth and gums from unwanted buildup.
2. Oil pulling may help prevent and reverse cavities.
By supporting a balance of good-to-bad bacteria in the mouth, oil pulling may help remineralize teeth and play a part in reversing cavities naturally.
Your teeth are designed to rebuild (remineralize) themselves on an ongoing basis, but this remineralization is only possible in the presence of the proper nutrients and the absence of cavity-causing bacteria.
Overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your mouth, such as Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), can lead to cavities, or “dental caries.”
3. Coconut oil pulling may reduce oral thrush symptoms.
Coconut oil is known to have antifungal properties, so it helps to kill and Candida living in the mouth. A review of current research found that coconut oil pulling is a very cost-effective and easy way to reduce oral thrush symptoms.
When Candida yeast is allowed to proliferate in the mouth, it can lead to an infection known as oral thrush.
4. Oil pulling can fix bad breath.
Oil pulling is able to support your saliva’s efforts in disorganizing bacteria without killing the good bacteria and drying your mouth out. At least three separate clinical trials found that regular oil pulling can kill the bacteria responsible for halitosis.
Unlike mouthwash, which dries out the mouth and makes bad breath worse, oil pulling supports a healthy oral microbiome.