Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient practice that is easy to do, takes only minutes and can have great benefits to your health and wellbeing.

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Why isn't Everyone Doing This?

I believe that there are many practices used to maintain the health and balance of our bodies that, over time, have been forgotten.

Nowadays people are turning to prescription medicines, over the counter medicines, surgery... or just not knowing where to turn to recover health. 

I believe that part of the problem lies in the fact that we have forgotten how to take care of this human body of ours. 

Mechanics know that to maintain the proper working order of a machine, sometimes the pipes need to be flushed or rinsed out.  Well, our bodies are machines too and there are certain practices that can be done to maintain the proper working order of this machine called the human body.

It is time to bring this ancient wisdom back into our lives, it is time to remember how to take the best care possible of our bodies.

Things that long ago were a normal part of life, things that are no longer readily known in the modern world, things like;

Origins of Oil Pulling

I am always looking to our elders and ancestors to learn how to take care of my own health.  I believe that there is much wisdom in the practices that people have been doing for ages.

Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic practice and it can be found mentioned in the Charaka Samhita which is an ancient Ayurvedic text.

Ayurveda is an old system of healing from India that dates back thousands of years.

Ayurveda translates from Sanskrit to mean the science/knowledge (veda) of healing (ayur).

There is much ancient wisdom that comes from Ayurvedic practices.  Oil pulling or Nithya Thaila Kriya is one of these practices.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil Pulling Benefits

So, what exactly is oil pulling?

It is a simple technique of swishing a small amount of oil in your mouth for a short period of time (about 15-20 minutes), then spitting this oil out and rinsing your mouth out well.

As I understand it, the swishing of oil increases the flow of saliva.  Toxins, bacteria, viruses, microbes etc. that are present in your mouth will be pulled into the oil and held there until it is spit out. 

Oil pulling keeps these toxins from moving through your system, that otherwise can contribute to a wide range of symptoms.

Sound simple?  Well, it is ... read on to learn why to do this (benefits of oil pulling) and for the step by step on how it's done.

Oil Pulling Benefits

Aside from being very inexpensive and super easy to do, here are some of the great benefits of oil pulling.

  • draws toxins out of your body.  Because of this, many issues that are due to a build up of toxins can be alleviated such as headaches, acne and other skin conditions, arthritis, stiff achy joints, muscle soreness and on and on...
  • increases energy
  • increases clarity of mind
  • stimulates the digestive system preparing it for the day ahead
  • improves health of teeth, gums and entire mouth including helping with things like gingivitis, bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, cavities and tooth decay
  • can help teeth to look white and healthy
  • can help with bad breath (halitosis)
  • can alleviate sore throat
  • helpful in keeping sinuses healthy
  • stimulates and exercises jaw muscles which can be helpful for lockjaw, clenched teeth, grinding of teeth, teeth chattering
  • can help dry mouth by stimulating the flow of saliva
  • assists the immune system in not becoming overburdened by decreasing the toxic load in the body

How to Do Oil Pulling

What is Oil Pulling

The best time to do oil pulling is first thing in the morning before you have eaten or drank anything.  Nighttime sleep is a natural time of detoxification and it is while we are sleeping that our bodies work hard to get toxins (unwanted materials) to places of elimination (tongue, teeth, colon, bladder, skin).  Upon rising it is natural and healthy to eliminate the toxins that have been pushed to these areas.

Tongue - tongue scraping and oil pulling

Teeth - brushing teeth with natural toothbrush and natural toothpaste

Colon - have a bowel movement

Bladder - urinate

Skin - dry skin brushing

Take advantage of this natural time of detoxification by doing oil pulling first thing in the morning right after scraping your tongue.


  1. Put about 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of oil into your mouth (sesame, sunflower or coconut oil - cold pressed and organic)
  2. Swish around your mouth, moving the oil in and around your tongue and teeth.  You can pull or suck the oil through your teeth as well as moving from side to side.  Do not gargle the oil in the back of your throat ... only swish it around your mouth.
  3. At times swish vigorously, at times more slowly (you may notice your jaw becoming tired, if it does relax and do more slowly).
  4. The oil should begin to feel more watery as your saliva mixes with it and then can feel thicker and slightly frothy as you continue.
  5. After 20 minutes, spit the oil out (Spitting into your sink will create an oily mess, we prefer to spit into the toilet, into the garbage or outside where we can make a little hole in the Earth and then cover it up).  DO NOT SWALLOW THIS OIL as it is now full of the things your body wants OUT of your system.
  6. Rinse your mouth well with a salt water mouthwash.
  7. Continue with your regular oral care routine - see my 'healthy teeth tips' protocol here.

And that is it!  Now you can go about your day knowing that you have tapped into this ancient healing and preventative wisdom.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I do oil pulling at any time of day?

It is nice to to this first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, to take advantage of the natural detoxification that happens during nighttime sleep.  If you are going to do this at another time of the day do be sure your stomach is empty.

What oil should I use?

When I was first taught about this practice I was advised to use sesame or sunflower oil.  Nowadays I use those sometimes and often use coconut oil.  Whatever oil you choose, be sure to obtain cold pressed or expeller pressed and organic oils.  I like to rotate these oils, using one for several weeks, taking a break, then switching to another.

Click here for my recommended source for obtaining great quality oils.

I don't like the texture of coconut oil, what can I do?

Oil pulling is to be done with a liquid oil.  Coconut oil goes solid below temperatures of about 25C (77F).  If your coconut oil is solid, the texture may be unpleasant when you first put it in your mouth.  To avoid this, place your coconut oil jar in a warm place (in the sun, in your dehydrator, in a bowl of warm water ... NEVER use a microwave) until it liquifies and then use it.

How much oil do I use?

Use about 1 tablespoon. 

What if 1 tbsp is too much for me?

No problem, use whatever amount you can manage.  Over time you may be able to build up to 1 tablespoon.

What if I gag each time I try this?

This is quite common when first starting.  You may want to try a different oil to see if that makes a difference.  But when you begin to gag, it is time to spit the oil out, even if you haven't reached 20 minutes.  No problem, spit it out.   Over time gagging usually becomes less and you will be able to keep swishing the oil longer.

What if I can't do it for 20 minutes?

No problem, do what you can and then spit the oil out.  Over time you may find that you will be able to do longer.

Can I do this for longer than 20 minutes?

Stick to 20 minutes (or less) so as not to risk re-absorbing toxic material.

Can I do this every day?

Yes you can.  And I like to take a break every few weeks.  This can have a detoxing effect on your system so nice to take a break every so often to give your body a chance to catch up and re-balance if necessary.

Can I do this more than once a day?

Once a day is recommended.  If you are sick or doing a detox cleanse then you can do more than once a day (and always on an empty stomach).

How do I make time for this during my busy morning routine?

I find that how I spend the first 30-40 minutes of my day sets the stage for my entire day.  Think about getting up a bit earlier or re-arranging your morning to give yourself some precious meditative time in the mornings.  This is a wonderful thing to do for your wellbieng. 

You can also swish your oil while doing other things if you are really pressed for time.  Do this while in the shower, checking emails, making your morning juice or smoothie, preparing for the day, etc.

What if I feel sick after doing this?

There can be a detoxing effect that happens at times where you may feel congested, headaches, stiff and achy, tired or nauseous.  Give your body a chance to catch up by resting, drinking plenty of water (throughout the day and on an empty stomach), and eating healthy clean foods (and avoiding junky ones).  Take a break from the oil if you need to.

Is this safe to do while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Because there can be a detoxing effect, I would recommend avoiding oil pulling while pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Can I do this if I wear dentures?

Remove dentures first.

Can I do this if I have silver amalgam fillings in my mouth?

Hold off on doing this if you have silver amalgam fillings.  Work towards having your amalgams removed (visit a holistic dentist to have this done properly) before you start this practice.

Leave 'Oil Pulling', return to 'How to Detox'

Go to 'Making-Healthy-Choices' homepage

You may also like;

Tongue Scraping

Healthy Teeth Tips (My Complete Oral Care Protocol)

Homemade Mouthwash Recipes

Homemade Toothpaste, Tooth Soap and Tooth Powder

Natural Toothbrush

Dry Skin Brushing

Doing a Detox Cleanse

Our 10 day Juice Feast

Coconut Oil Benefits

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