Does oil pulling whiten teeth?

Oil pulling is an ancient indian remedy that has gained popularity by claiming to whiten teeth and greatly improve oral health also.


Many people claim that the practice of oil pulling can make your mouth healthier and whiten your teeth but does it actually work and is oil pulling safe?

This article explores everything you need to know about oil pulling and if the claims are true.


What is oil pulling?

Oil pulling also known as kavata or gundusha , is the practice of swirling edible oil around the mouth like a mouthwash and then spitting it out after 15-20 minutes to enable the oil pull through the teeth and mouth.

You can use different types of oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil or sesame seed oil.

Health Benefits of oil pulling

Oil pulling is said to have several potential health benefits, let’s look at some of them.

  1. It can kill harmful bacteria in your mouth: The mouth contains bacteria which could be harmful and lead to tooth decay, bad breath or gum diseases. However, studies have shown that coconut oil contains a fatty acid called lauric acid which is effective at killing harmful mouth bacteria.
  1. Effectively gets rid of bad breath: Bad breath also known as Halitosis is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. This may be related to poor oral hygiene, infection, or gum disease but the good news is studies have found that oil pulling may be an effective natural treatment for bad breath.
  1. Helps to heal bleeding gums: Oil pulling with coconut oil can help to heal a bleeding gum as it contains lauric acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which heals bleeding gum.
  2. Reduces plaque-induced gingivitis: Gingivitis is a condition that’s caused by inflammation of the gum. It occurs when your immune system start attacking the bacteria in the plaque. Both oil pulling and mouthwash are said to reduce the inflammation in your gums and also the plaque that causes that inflammation.
  1. Preventing cavities: When plaques are formed around your teeth, it damages the enamel and causes cavities and this could be as a result of bacterial buildups, poor oral hygiene or sugar consumption. Oil pulling is believed to reduce the population of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth and also support oral health.

Does oil pulling whiten teeth??

Simply put, there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that oil pulling will make you teeth whiter.


However coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil and other edible oils are said to contain some chemicals which can whiten the teeth and get rid of plaque (the reason for yellow teeth)

How to do oil pulling

  1. Put a teaspoon of edible oil such as olive, sesame or coconut oil in your mouth and allow it to sit on your tongue until it liquefies.
  2. Start swishing it in your mouth for anywhere up to 20 minutes.
  3. Spit out the oil into a trash can when your 20 minutes is up.
  4. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water and then brush your teeth.

What is the best oil for oil pulling ?

Not all edible oils are created the same. Sesame oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil are the popular and effective oils to use for oil pulling. However, coconut oil for is the most popular oil to use for pulling present-day.

Does oil pulling whiten teeth??
Coconut Oil

This is because many people are drawn to its numerous antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which is effective at killing harmful bacteria that could lead to tooth decay.


In conclusion, oil pulling is not a practice that is backed up by tons of modern science, however, it is an ancient practice that is “claimed” to have many different health benefits like whitening the teeth, getting rid of bad breath and healthier mouth with less harmful bacteria.

If you do want to try it, make sure to not swallow the oil, and to use oil that is edible and preferably organic as well.

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