L&R Dental

Oil Pulling – How effective is it at removing toxins?

May 6, 2020
Posted By: Priyanka - OHT

Admit it, at some point you have seen this method come up on the internet by ‘’Influencers and Youtubers” and you have wanted to try it out for yourself, right? 

It’s cheaper than buying expensive products from the dentist and even better… it’s DIY.

What is oil pulling? 

Oil pulling is an ancient Indian Ayurvedic technique which is meant to help remove toxins from the mouth from the swishing action as well as providing systemic benefits. The intention was never to replace it with brushing but rather to use as a mouthwash. The most commonly used oils are coconut and sesame seed oil,  then you take approximately one tablespoon of this and swish it around your mouth for 20 mins or until it turns into a milky white colour. 


What does the research say?

There isn’t much supporting evidence to show that oil pulling is effective. A study published in 2009 compared two groups, one that used oil and a control group, every day for 10 days in conjunction with their normal brushing habits. The study concluded that oil pulling did not show a significant change in the plaque levels in the mouth or reduce the bacterial colonies to a noticeable level. 

Another interesting study included a patient who practiced this method for six months and presented with shortness of breath with no other health issues. After testing the patient further with exams and radiographs, it was found that the patient had been slowly ingesting the oil and was diagnosed with Lipoid pneumonia. After three months of stopping oil pulling, the patient showed improvement. Lipoid Pneumonia is a difficult condition to diagnose as only 40% of people are only mildly symptomatic.


So, should you do it or not?

This method is not recommended by most dental professionals due to there being insufficient scientific evidence and lack of long-term studies to support it. Being a controversial subject, make sure you do your own research if you’re planning on trying this out.  



Asokan, S., Emmadi, P. and Chamundeswari, R., 2009. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian Journal of Dental Research, 20(1), p.47.   

Kuroyama, M., Kagawa, H., Kitada, S., Maekura, R., Mori, M. and Hirano, H., 2015. Exogenous lipoid pneumonia caused by repeated sesame oil pulling: a report of two cases. BMC Pulmonary Medicine, 15(1).


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