Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oil Pulling for Your Oral Health—Why and How?

Oil pulling is inexpensive and can be easily included in your morning oral hygiene routine. Based on a recent review, it concludes that:[13]
The limited evidence to date from clinical trials suggests that oil pulling may have beneficial effects on oro dental hygiene as seen for the short period of time investigated. Given that this is a potentially cost-effective intervention, this practice might be of particular benefit. Future clinical trials should be more rigorous and better reported.
Oil pulling is also claimed to have advantages over commercial mouthwashes since it causes no staining, has no lingering after taste, causes no allergic reactions and is readily available in the household.[5]

As a personal testimony, I claim that oil pulling could and should be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving your oral health.

Why Bad Breath in the Morning?

When you sleep, your mouth dries out. When your mouth dries out, odor-producing bacteria proliferate. "When you sleep, your normal flow of saliva decreases,” Dr. Cram explains. “That’s why your breath can be worse in the morning."[1]

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling has been used extensively for many years, without scientific evidence or proof, as a traditional Indian folk remedy to prevent teeth decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat and cracked lips, and for strengthening the teeth, gums, and jaws.

The basic idea is that oil is swished in the mouth for a short time each day and that this action helps improve oral health. Just as with Oil Cleansing for the skin, the principle of “like dissolves like” applies, as oil is able to cut through plaque and remove toxins without disturbing the teeth or gums.

Before You Start

The best time to do oil pulling is in the morning after you wake up and before you drink the first glass of water for the day.  If needed, Dr. Bruce Fife also suggests that it can be done before each meal for more severe infections or dental problems.[4]

Do these preparation before you start the morning oil pulling routine:
  1. Reserve at least 20 minutes in the morning for the practice
    • Notice that you can practice oil pulling while work through other morning routines at the same time.
  2. Keep your choice oil handy in a small covered glass for easy pouring
    • A good location to place the oil is in the restroom and in a shady area.
  3. If you sneeze in the morning, blow your nose first.
    • You don't want to sneeze with a mouthful of oil at the same time.
  4. Keep a warm salty water handy.
    • This is needed in the post oil pulling step.
  5. Keep paper towel handy
    • Don't spit dirty oil into the sink as fats, oils, and grease (The FOG) cool, they begin to congeal and clump together in pipes. Spit the oil into a paper towel and throw it into the waste basket. Also, you need the towel to wipe clean your lips.

What Oil to Use?

Whatever oil you put in your mouth should be good-quality ones. In [1, 2, 5], the following oils with additional antibacterial and/or antifungal activity, are recommended:

How to Do Oil Pulling?

Here is the procedure:
  1. Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil into the mouth
    • After a couple of times, you should have a good feeling of how much oil is good for you.
  2. Swish for 20 minutes
    • According to Dr. Bruce Fife, 20 minutes is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria.[4]
  3. Spit oil out
    • The oil will get thicker and milky as it mixed with saliva during this time.
      • A saponification process occurs as a result of alkali hydrolysis of oil by bicarbonates in saliva.
  4. Rinse well with warm salty water
    • Goggle salty water deep down in your throat to bring out more mucus
  5. Drink regular water to rehydrate


  1. Why Do We Have Morning Breath?
  2. 擺脫牙周問題的口腔排毒­法 (oil pulling in Chinese)
  3. Oil Pulling for Oral Health
  4. Oil Pulling Therapy (Dr. Bruce Fife)
  5. S Asokan, J Rathan, MS Muthu, PV Rathna, P Emmadi, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari. 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 the Indian Society of Pedodontics & Preventive Dentistry. 26(1):12-7, 2008 Mar
  6. S Thaweboon, J Nakaparksin, B Thaweboon. Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models. Asia Journal of Public Health: 2011 May-Aug.
  7. HV Amith, Anil V Ankola, L Nagesh. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and Gingivitis. Journal of Oral Health & Community Dentistry: 2007; 1(1):Pages 12-18
  8. TD Anand, C Pothiraj, RM Gopinath, et al. Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria (PDF). African Journal of Microbiology Research, Vol 2:3 pp 63-66, MAR 2008.
  10. Oil Pulling Benefits for Plaque & Gingivitis (Dr. Michael Greger)
  11. Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res. 2009 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-51.
  12. Kaushik M, Reddy P, Sharma R, Udameshi P, Mehra N, Marwaha A. The Effect of Coconut Oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans Count in Saliva in Comparison with Chlorhexidine Mouthwash. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2016 Jan 1;17(1):38-41.
  13. Gbinigie O, Onakpoya I, Spencer E, McCall MacBain M, Heneghan C. Effect of oil pulling in promoting oro dental hygiene: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2016 Jun;26:47-54.
  14. Overbrushing: Watch out for too much of a good thing
    • Known as “toothbrush abrasion,” overbrushing can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums. Vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel on the teeth as well as damage and push back the gums, exposing the sensitive root area.

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