No Money for a Dentist? Try Oil Pulling.

Via elephant journal
on Jan 3, 2011
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For deep cleaning and whitening my teeth, I’ve found that the Ayurvedic remedy called “oil pulling” works better than going to the dentist.

An expert weighs in on how to do it…in-depth:


I first discovered this process about seven years ago on the website for natural remedies called  It requires only a tablespoon of sesame oil (supposedly sunflower oil works too), so it’s easy enough to try.  Since my first time, I’ve been blown away by how well it works–it whitens my teeth and draws phlegm from my body with dramatic effect.

Supposedly, oil pulling has other health benefits too–various websites claim that it doesn’t just whiten our teeth and draw out phlegm; it draws out toxins as well, leading to clearer skin, among other things.  But I can’t vouch for anything other than what I’ve seen: whiter teeth, clearer lungs.

I’ve had many friends try it, and all but one have had wonderful, similar effects (the one friend didn’t notice much difference.)  If you’re curious, here’s what I do:

  1. Brush your teeth and floss.
  2. Pour one tablespoon of sesame oil (or sunflower oil) into your mouth.
  3. Swish the oil around in your mouth without swallowing it for 15-20 minutes, and pull the oil through your teeth as you swish. If your jaw muscles become sore while swishing, you’re working too hard. Relax your jaw.  While swishing, the oil will become white and foamy.  This is normal.
  4. After 15 or 20 minutes, spit the oil (now white foam) into the sink drain or toilet.  If you choose the sink, be sure to clean it afterward; the substance contains toxins.
  5. Finally, rinse your mouth out 2-3 times with warm water, followed by some form of mouthwash.  (Sometimes I brush my teeth again instead of using mouthwash.)

That’s it!

Here’s a video that explains the exact same process:

YouTube Preview Image



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60 Responses to “No Money for a Dentist? Try Oil Pulling.”

  1. elephantjournal says:


    Danbo T I was just telling a friend about this. It works.

    Darrin Buehler Huh. Very intriguing. I am sure I will give it a "swirl".:)

    Susan H Very interesting.

    Stacey R Have used this for years … when I went to the dentist for a cleaning, they scraped around the teeth, then put the "mouth gunk" under a microscope for patients to see the living bacteria in the mouth. During mine, the tech returned very confused, saying they were unable to find anything swimming in there … gave it another go, and nothing again! I know it is the oil pulling. It also helps with allergies, and clearing illness and colds. Go for the sesame oil, unprocessed.

    Lori Gi trying it right now.

    Stacey D Allergic to sesame…other recommendatons?

    Patty A I've heard Sunflower oil works too …. it's worth the try…

    Jan T It works!! My dentist said she never saw my gums look better!

    Lori G i can't believe how well it works. My only question is how often?

    Juliana McCarthy i do it about once a month. not sure if there are limitations as to how often

  2. Travis May says:

    Thanks Juliana! I will definitely try this tonight.
    PS- Miss you…happy new year!

  3. Juliana says:

    Hi Travis! Happy New Year to you! I had lots of peops at Karme Choling trying it once last year. Everyone was walking through the halls swishing sesame oil. Pretty funny.

  4. elephantjournal says:

    I tried it! Tiring after 10 minutes, even when I tried to go more gently…and my mouth seemed to pick up a lot of water, so I had a full mouthful by the end, which made it hard to swish. ~ Waylon

  5. rainbowyoga says:

    i'm so gonna try it! thanks for the tip!

  6. Don says:

    Thanks, going to try this. I like the idea of the shower, good multi-tasking and if I slobber too much, no problem!

  7. elephantjournal says:


    Rachel B: you guys do realize that after using the oil they suggest a rinse of 'hydrogen peroxide' and that is probably more responsible for the whitening than the oil… its the most common ingredient in any whitening product…

    Anita M. Burke i have done this… it works i think and never did do the hydrogen peroxide with it… although be super careful with hydrogen peroxide use… dilute the heck outta it 3:1 at least and know that in some cases it has killed off healthy bacteria in the mouth and caused terrible halitosis… and gum disease..

  8. Erma says:

    I did it after breakfast, without any hydrogen peroxide and my teeth look and feel like I just left the dentist! But whiter! AMAZING

    pass this on.

    @Danika, if you can't take 20 minutes for yourself a day, you need to change that.

  9. Shawn says:

    @erma, do you have a young child?

    @Danika, good thing they grow fast so you'll have an opportunity to try this later. I do it after the kids are in bed at night.

  10. namastehon says:

    I met a man who used coconut oil, said he hadn't even brushed his teeth in over a year and the dentist said his teeth and gums were great!

  11. Craig says:

    Did it….no immediate results…I guess I got excited and though that I would have dazzling white teeth straight away. Maybe I need to do it a few more times.

  12. Tanya says:

    Hi Juliana – thanks for this article! Really cool! My boyfriend and I are going to give this one a serious go. I've also read something about rubbing Magnesium Oil on teeth and gums, but have not given it a go yet. Adding to the list of fun alternative care, you may also like my article:
    Tanya :-)

  13. […] minutes later my old Jeep gets an even uglier start to the day than me, and I’m on the road, teeth un-brushed, in a state of mild shock. I know there are probably some yoga teachers who commonly roll out of […]

  14. john smith says:

    Can you elaborate on the "toxins"? Just how deadly are they if they get washed down the sink? Can they hurt you if you touch them? Maybe we should handle them as hazardous waste? How come no one has been able to identify them?

  15. Nate says:

    Oil pulling for whitening your teeth? That's interesting. Thanks for sharing this, Juliana!

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  17. guest says:

    i shall have to try this. i have been interested in ayurvedic medicine and use oil to cleanse my skin, particularly my face. i use castor oil and olive oil together and it is excellent! especially if you have deeply dry skin like myself. i can attest for the oil cleansing for skin so it must work just as well in the mouth. thanks for the article!

  18. shannon says:

    Can I use coconut oil? I have some locally from Puerto Rico!

  19. Elaine says:

    I have been doing oil pulling for 5 months. I found out about it when i had an abscess in my tooth that made my face swell. It cured the abscess and my teeth have improved 200%. I never visited the dentist with the abscess – in fact dentists are to blame in the first place for all the teeth problems with excessive tooth extractions in childhood! I use sunflower oil or olive oil. You can use coconut oil, sesame or any pressed oil – experiment with a few for what suits.
    I never use fluoride or toothpaste – i brush with bicarbonate of soda & a little salt. Mouthwash & fluoride is the worst thing you can clean your teeth with – fluoride rots the enamel, and mouth wash actually discolours the teeth ( a dentist told me that!).
    Oil pulling cures a whole host of conditions (psoriasis etc etc etc!) it removes toxins from the body, improves skin, hair, complexion, aides sleep and your teeth are white, more firmly set and pink healthy gums – it is quite incredibly.
    I do it 1 or 2 times a day for 20 mins (in the shower). Persevere for a few weeks and see amazing results – the longer you do it the far deeper the drawing of toxins (mercury, metal residues) are removed from the body for greater overall health. It is recommended and safe to do it daily – it is an ancient practise.
    oh, rinse well after, do not swallow…your mouth, teeth are so clean afterwards! Happy pulling! :-)

  20. trueayurveda says:

    It is hilarious how we take something and blow it completely out of proportion and now a days with the interent so accessible anyone can write anything.

    Gandusha or "oil Pulling" has been is from Ayurveda and has been around for centuries. It does not do as all the web sites have claimed, it doesn't cleanse your liver or anything like that. As for the white foam, try putting the same oil in a blender and mixing it. It becomes white foam. This too as put out by uneducated and uninformed people becomes dangerous in the hands of the innocent. Sesame oil or water is used only, not other oils. Gandusha is to be used as per the individual. Just plain water can be used as well. The temperature of the oil or water has to do with the personal individual and what is going on with them. It is used to mitigate kapha in the mouth. Bodaka Kapha is the saliva. A build up of this can create cataracts as well as a ton of other diseases. Please people, don't just take a little piece of ayurveda and give it out to everyone as a chew toy. It is not how ayurveda works. It is completely contraindicated and will create disease if used by someone that has has poisoning, fainting disease, alcoholism, depletion, TB, bleeding diseases or low clotting factor, inflammation of the eyes, constipation, and depletion of wastes. It only is used for cleansing the mouth, thirst,(which is a disease), loss of taste, diseases of the teeth, and it bestows lightness in the mouth. Bhavaprakash Chpt 5.31 – 35

    You are better off telling people about using sweet toothpaste and how it is creating the gum disease and other dental problems.

    So Julianna, think about this for a second. As you put out misinformation definitely in the attempt to be helpful and of innocence, who cares who else is doing it, the people that you are effecting adversely and harming them…….. what about them?

  21. Guest of the world says:

    There are a lot of claims flying around this thread. Who is the most qualified medical professional in the room, exactly?

  22. trueayurveda says:

    Well since Gandusha is actually from Ayurveda then I would think obviously that looking at Ayurveda for answers to any questions would be the correct choice right? Translating ayurveda to western science doesn't work. So Gandusha will never be understood what it is, why to do it, when to do it, who should do it, how it should be done, etc… by western science. Improper knowledge and improper translation can only occur.
    Gandusha is of four kinds- unctuous, pacifying, purifying and healing. oils with medicinal drugs are prepared in a special way for special use. It is used specifically for specific treatment. There is a whole preparation procedure that is done of fomenting the throat cheeks and forehead prior to, yes this is a must for the treatment. Not doing it and you already are creating problems with the treatment. It is done for a certain time, not 20 minutes like stated above. There are signs of when it is done properly as well as symptoms of it not done properly which will lead to complications and disease. As i wrote above there are many things that come from it not being done properly as well as who should use it or not. This is the ignorance of the masses and yet one more person thinking they are going to help people by giving information out thy don't understand. Ayurveda is a science, it has a huge depth of knowledge diagnosis way deeper than western medicine, and actually cures many diseases while western medicine can only see a symptom and try to cure that. One of the most important points here that i should point out is that the diet itself is needing to be light and digestive to do this. This means no raw food and half the other diets that people are on out there. Just not following that will lead into trouble. But go ahead people swish away.

  23. apimom says:

    I am sure swishing oil or water around for a while gets rid of stuff that should not be in your mouth but please don't state that after doing this you will never have bacteria in your mouth. Which dentist looks for bacteria right there at your visit? They have to be cultured to see a result – for at least 48 hours!. Minutes after an impossible "all bacteria kill" you will again have a bacteria population growing in your mouth – trust me. It is normal!

    If you like, go ahead and swish – I am sure people put worse things in their mouth all the time, but how about a tiny bit of common sense regarding a lot of the totally ridiculous statements above. And before posting please read over your post a few times – its worth the effort and passes the time while you swish!

  24. Pierre says:

    I have tried it and really like it. How often should one do oil-pulling though?

  25. Dollie Elmo says:

    F*ckin’ amazing issues here. I am very happy to look your article. Thank you so much and i’m looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  26. […] be taken internally unless infused into another carrier oil (as for Nasya or Abhyanga or Gandusha), and the plant structure eaten actually helps the body absorb and use the nutrients […]

  27. […] be taken internally unless infused into another carrier oil (as for Nasya or Abhyanga or Gandusha), and the plant structure eaten actually helps the body absorb and use the nutrients […]

  28. Brad says:

    If you don't believe it works, go fly a kite. My teeth have improved beyond my wildest dreams. I will roll past the skeptics with oil pulling, no sugars, vegan diet. This proves that main stream medicine is self serving, for the most part. Man I'm feel great for a 60year old.

  29. Kali says:

    I just started using this because I have an older filling that was very sensitive and starting to show stains around the edge. I made an appointment with a dentist on the road and it was two weeks away. Using coconut oil and swishing for five to ten minutes before brushing (morning), the discoloration is now nearly invisible and I only have mild sensitivity when I eat or drink something acidic like orange juice and don’t rinse or brush within an hour. I cancelled the dental appointment and will just go when I return home. My teeth don’t feel fuzzy, my breath is great, everything looks whiter even though my dietary habits of drinking dark liquids have not changed, and I’m not sensitive to sweet food or liquid anymore. No other changes were made in my dental care regimen. This is a success by every standard I can think of. And coconut oil in the morning reminds me of the tropics. I wish I had known about this before I had power whitening done a few years ago. It was painful and I’m seeing the same transformational change with a cheap spoon of delicious every morning.

  30. Morales says:

    I'm in my early 30s, and about 2 years ago I started having psoriasis problems. It's not the worst case ever, but I have 1- to 2-inch patches on both elbows, both shins, about 1/3 of my scalp, my eyebrows, and WORST of all, "down there." Tar shampoo has helped the scalp a little, but it still itches and flakes constantly. Dovonex and tar ointment give minimal help for the elbows and shins, but spending a week in the sun helps as well. However, I have no idea what to do about the "down there" patches. They itch horribly, the skin breaks, it's positively disgusting and embarrassing. Does anyone know of a good treatment for ANY of this crap? I really don't want to go on a systemic drug but I suppose I'd consider it if there weren't horrible side effects and the possbility of liver damage…. Recently Psoriasis Control from ForcesOfNature is becoming a more popular natural treatment. Help?

  31. It's definitely not the fanciest way to whiten your teeth. Still, as they say, "don't knock it if it works".

  32. H.V says:

    Anyone think about without brushing the oil pulling method workout for your dental problems? No, it is a wrong assumption then. Actually a daily routine proper brushing might help you to avoid these oil pulling itself. But as you can see in the article the first step of an oil pulling procedure is the brushing. So without telling more you could imagine the importance of the daily brushing for keeping your dental health in a good manner. From the article I am really impressed with the oil pulling for the dental treatment. Even though this may keep our money in our pockets!

  33. Benj says:

    I read that it is far better to spit out your finished oil pulling into a toilet. Your sink, with repeated oil deposits, may be come clogged over time. No chance of this happening in your toilet pipes.

  34. iday says:

    not in the sink. you might clog your drain…

  35. stalo says:

    well, now days we have the luxary to hear and watch about everything…. is good to know or hear but before we try something or bealive it we should double check it…

  36. WildcrestedZhiby says:

    I’m imagining that this wouldn’t be good to do with mercury fillings???

  37. Chris Connot says:

    Do not spit the oil in a drain. Oil congeals and ruins drains and will inevitably cause for more drain maintenance down the road. Spit into trash.

  38. My gums are often bleed. Can you suggest me something?

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