Coconut Oil pulling is an ancient traditional medicine in Ayurveda. It helps to improve your oral health hygiene, freshen your breath, and whiten your teeth.

This Indian medicine remedy is becoming popular across the world. The only ingredient in this therapy is coconut oil, easily available in any grocery store.

In Ayurveda, coconut oil pulling is known as gandusha. Many people have benefitted from this technique.

According to several research studies, oil pulling helps improve dental health and kills bacteria in the mouth [1].

What is Oil Pulling?

oil pulling

Oil pulling is a technique in which you swish the oil in your mouth as a mouthwash. It has been used for many decades for treating oral health issues like bad breath, cavities, etc. 

It detoxifies the oral cavity from the mouth. The swishing sucks the toxins and dirt from the mouth and keeps your mouth clean and disease-free. It helps kill the harmful bacteria in your mouth and prevents cavities. There are 100s types of bacteria in your mouth; many are usually harmless, while others can affect your oral health.

A thin layer (known as plaque) created by bacteria on your teeth is ok. But can cause various health issues like cavities, bad breath, gingivitis, gum inflammation, etc., if it gets out of hand.

Coconut oil is the most preferred choice for oil pulling as it contains favorable fatty acid and lauric acid profile having antimicrobial properties [2].

How to Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is a simple method that helps to kill the unwanted bacteria and keeps your oral health healthy.

Steps of Oil pulling:

  • Put 1 tsp of oil in your mouth
  • Swish the oil for 15-20 mins (you can start with 5 mins and slowly increase your time)
  • Spit the oil
  • Brush your teeth with your regular toothpaste

If you find any discomfort during swishing, you can reduce the oil and swishing time as per your comfort. For best results, you should do it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning [3]. However, you can do it later after your meals, like a mouthwash. You can do swishing up to 3 times a day.

Dangers of Coconut Oil Pulling

coconut oil

There is no danger in doing oil pulling. But every person is different and can face some discomfort.

Some people can face minor problems like releasing mucus in their nose and throat, as swishing can release sinuses. However, it is harmless but can cause some discomfort.

Also, few people experience jaw soreness. In this case, you should do the swishing gently. And reduce your swishing time to 10 mins and slowly increase it once you get adjusted to it.

Another discomfort that some people face is that it can trigger the gag reflex. In this case, you should reduce the oil quantity and lean your head slightly forward.

Why is Coconut Oil Used for Oil Pulling?

Coconut oil has many health benefits associated with it:

  • It balances the hormones
  • Reduces cellulite
  • Moisturises the skin (especially good for dry skin)
  • It helps in improving digestion
  • It can help to decrease wrinkles and dark age spots
  • Battle yeast infection
  • Boost energy
  • Balances blood sugar level
  • It can help increase HDL cholesterol and lower LDL
  • Highly absorbable

Remember to use unrefined coconut oil for pulling as it will not have added harmful or unnatural substances.

Coconut Oil Pulling for Teeth

Oil pulling on teeth is an ancient practice used in Ayurveda for centuries. Using coconut oil for oil pulling for only 10-20 mins can help resolve many dental problems like bad breath, cavities, and tooth decay. It can also prevent gingivitis and other oral health issues.

Benefits of Coconut Oil Pulling

coconut oil

Some of the benefits of oil pulling using coconut oil include:

Reduces Harmful Bacteria from Your Mouth

According to research, more than 700 types of bacteria can stay in our mouths. And at least half of them can be found in your mouth at any given time [4].

And coconut oil helps reduce these harmful bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans (referred to as S. mutans), which are the key bacteria for tooth decay, bad breath, or plaque buildup [5].

Can Help with Gingivitis and Plaque

Gingivitis is a gum disease with red, swollen gums that bleeds easily. The inflammation of the gums causes it. It happens when your immune system attacks the bacteria.

The major cause of gingivitis is the bacteria found in plaque which causes bleeding and inflammation of the gums [6].

Coconut oil helps to reduce inflammation and plaque as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Reduces Bad Breath

Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, is found in 50% of people. The smell of several chemicals and gases in your mouth created by the bacteria is the main reason for bad breath.

Also, infections, gingivitis, tongue coating, and poor oral hygiene cause bad breath [7].

You can reduce bad breath if you get rid of these bacteria and improve your oral hygiene.

Can Help Prevent Cavities

Cavities are a common problem among both kids and adults. It stems from tooth decay. And poor oral hygiene, the buildup of bacteria, and eating too much sugar can cause tooth decay. This leads to the formation of holes called cavities.

Plaque is another reason that causes cavities. Plaque comprises bacteria, saliva, and food particles that form a coating on the teeth. This further destroys the tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.

Studies suggest that coconut oil pulling can help in reducing these bacteria and prevent tooth decay and cavities.

Whitens your Teeth

According to the ancient Ayurveda system, coconut oil pulling can help whiten your teeth. It is a natural way without any side effects.

The research study also shows that it can pull the teeth strains from the surface, giving a whitening effect.

Economical and Easy to Adopt in Daily Routine

Coconut oil pulling is simple and can be easily added to your daily routine. And it is economical and easily available in any store.

Coconut Oil Pulling Before and After


Coconut oil pulling should ideally be done on the stomach in the morning, and brush with your regular toothpaste after oil pulling.

However, you can also use it after your meals as a mouthwash. You can swish 1 tsp oil for 5-7 mins and then rinse with regular water.

Oil Pulling Side Effects

Coconut oil pulling is quite safe as coconut oil is edible. However, you should not swallow the oil after swishing it as it has toxins and other bacteria in your mouth.

You should spit that oil and brush your teeth with regular toothpaste.

People with coconut allergies should avoid coconut oil pulling.

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil for Oil Pulling


Both Coconut Oil and Olive oil are used for oil pulling.

Olive Oil has antibacterial properties and can control the development of organisms.

Coconut Oil is more popular for oil pulling as it contains a lot of health benefits. It is edible and can be used in its natural form. The oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help with many dental problems. It is safe to consume and easily available at any grocery store.

Whichever oil you prefer, always spit the oil after swishing as it contains toxins and other bacteria.

Bottom Line

Oil pulling with coconut oil is an ancient ayurvedic practice followed for ages. It is a simple technique that helps reduce tooth decay, bad breath, cavities, gingivitis, heals cracked lips, and other oral dental problems.

Coconut oil is best for oil pulling as it contains lauric acid and has other anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Oil pulling using coconut oil is safe and has no side effects. You can easily incorporate this into your daily routine.

It is best to do oil pulling in the morning empty stomach.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Singh, A., & Purohit, B. (2011). Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine2(2), 64–68.
  • Nakatsuji, T., Kao, M. C., Fang, J. Y., Zouboulis, C. C., Zhang, L., Gallo, R. L., & Huang, C. M. (2009). Antimicrobial property of lauric acid against Propionibacterium acnes: its therapeutic potential for inflammatory acne vulgaris. The Journal of investigative dermatology129(10), 2480–2488.
  • Shanbhag V. K. (2016). Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine7(1), 106–109.
  • Palmer R. J., Jr (2014). Composition and development of oral bacterial communities. Periodontology 200064(1), 20–39.
  • Kaushik, M., Reddy, P., Sharma, R., Udameshi, P., Mehra, N., & Marwaha, A. (2016). The Effect of Coconut Oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans Count in Saliva in Comparison with Chlorhexidine Mouthwash. The journal of contemporary dental practice17(1), 38–41.
  • National Institues Of Health U.S. (2022b). Gingivitis and periodontitis: Overview. National Institues of Health U.S. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from
  • Aylıkcı, B. U., & Colak, H. (2013). Halitosis: From diagnosis to management. Journal of natural science, biology, and medicine4(1), 14–23.


  • Sarika Moghe

    With her Master in Business Adminstration (MBA), Sarika has explored numerous industries and picked up valuable experiences and skills along the way. She is now a professional content writer and meditation instructor who enjoys helping and empowering people to get deeper in touch with their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Sarika also has experience as a social media manager and research and marketing professional, which equips her to communicate effectively through her articles. LinkedIn

  • Kim Monasterial, BSN

    Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn


With her Master in Business Adminstration (MBA), Sarika has explored numerous industries and picked up valuable experiences and skills along the way. She is now a professional content writer and meditation instructor who enjoys helping and empowering people to get deeper in touch with their physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Sarika also has experience as a social media manager and research and marketing professional, which equips her to communicate effectively through her articles. LinkedIn