Ayurvedic Oil Pulling: Remedy for a Healthy Smile

Ayurvedic Oil Pulling: Remedy for a Healthy Smile


Ayurvedic oil pulling is a type of dental care that can whiten teeth, reduce plaque and gingivitis, and even improve mental clarity.

Ayurvedic oil pulling, known as “Kavala” or “Gandusha” is a highly regarded technique in Ayurveda. Though there have been only a few small studies on oil pulling, this century-old practice is being used by many celebrities and health gurus worldwide. In one small study, sesame oil was found to be effective at reducing plaque and oral bacterial load. In another study, oil pulling therapy showed a reduction in plaque index and modified gingival scores in the plaque of adolescents with gingivitis.

Many also claim a plethora of health benefits ranging from whiter teeth to increased mental clarity.

How Ayurvedic Oil Pulling Works

F. Karach, MD., said to be the one who brought oil pulling to hearts and mouths of the Western world, claimed that it could cure numerous illnesses ranging from heart disease and digestive problems to even hormonal imbalances.

Bruce Fife, a naturopathic doctor and author of Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing, says that “The oil acts like a cleanser. When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it 'pulls' out bacteria and other debris.”

Fife goes on to say, “As simple as it is, oil pulling has a very powerful detoxifying effect. Our mouths are home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other parasites and their toxins. Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in our mouths. It is these types of germs and their toxic waste products that cause gum disease and tooth decay and contribute to many other health problems including arthritis and heart disease. Our immune system is constantly fighting these troublemakers. If our immune system becomes overloaded or burdened by excessive stress, poor diet, environmental toxins and such, these organisms can spread throughout the body causing secondary infections and chronic inflammation, leading to any number of health problems.”

[Read: "Don’t Forget Your Teeth and Feet."]

If you think about it, plaque is not water-soluble, it’s fat-soluble! The theory is that the oil binds with the "amma" (toxins) in your mouth and if swished around long enough can pull toxic by-products out of the tissues to be spit out.

Benefits of Oil Pulling

  • Whiter teeth
  • Healthier gums
  • Prevents bad breath
  • Increased energy levels
  • Mental clarity
  • Soothes headaches
  • Clears the sinuses
  • Reduces allergic reactions
  • Better sleep
  • Radiant skin
  • Hormone regulation
  • Anti-inflammatory

How to Practice Ayurvedic Oil Pulling

It's recommended to use a high-quality, cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil or sesame oil (traditionally used).

  1. Take 1-2 tbsp of oil and swish it around in your mouth as you would mouthwash.
  2. Start with 5 minutes at first, then work your way up, adding 1 minute per day until you reach 15-20 minutes. Try doing it while watching TV or sending your morning emails.
  3. When swishing is complete—spit the oil out in the trash can.
  4. Follow with using a tongue scraper to remove the excess amma (toxins).
  5. Continue with brushing with an Ayurvedic, fluoride-free toothpaste or make your own (see below).

DIY Ayurvedic Toothpaste


  • 1 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c. Redmond clay
  • 1 Tbsp neem oil
  • 10 drops clove essential oil
  • 20 drops sweet orange oil
  • 20 drops peppermint oil

Mix ingredients together in an air-tight container. Use a spoon to scoop a small amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush and brush away!

Don't forget your skin and hair! Check out additional uses for coconut oil.

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