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Can Oil Pulling Improve Your Immunity?

Oil pulling is a practice which involves swishing oil in your mouth and then spitting it out to remove bacteria from the mouth.

Updated:July 29, 2020, 7:58 PM IST
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Can Oil Pulling Improve Your Immunity?
Representation purpose only.

After the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, caution became the key feature in most of our lives. Frequent washing of hands, wearing masks and repeated use of sanitizers are some of the things that are a part of our lives now. Additionally, many people have also been trying out home remedies that claim to either help protect them from this infectious virus or to boost immunity so they are better able to fight the infection. One of these home remedies includes oil pulling. Oil pulling has been a part of Ayurvedic treatment but does it really have any benefits?

Oil pulling

Oil pulling is a practice which involves swishing oil in your mouth and then spitting it out to remove bacteria from the mouth. There are various types of oils that can be used for oil pulling but the ones that are most commonly used are coconut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil and palm oil. In this practice, you have to put about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and then swish the oil around your mouth for about 5 to 20 minutes. Then spit the oil and rinse your mouth. Do not swallow the oil.

Benefits of oil pulling

Oil pulling, also called ‘gundusha’, is a practice which has been prevailing in Ayurveda for thousands of years. Many people swear by oil pulling to clean their mouth. Ayurveda believes that oil pulling not only draws out toxins from your mouth but also improves your overall health. In fact, in their guidelines for immunity boosting Ayurvedic measures during the COVID-19 crisis, the Ministry of AYUSH, India, has recommended oil pulling with coconut or sesame oil as one of the effective ways of boosting the immunity of the body.

It is believed that oil pulling can remove the infection-causing bacteria from the mouth and can increase the production of saliva. Increased saliva prevents the bacteria or the food products to stick to your teeth, thus preventing cavities.

Lack of proper evidence

There are plenty of people who praise its use, but scientific evidence is still lacking. All the research pieces state that oil pulling can only be used as an adjunct and not as an individual treatment.

According to Dr Sonia Bhatt, a Dental Surgeon associated with myUpchar, “Swishing of oil in the mouth cannot ensure good oral hygiene. The oils used for oil pulling, such as the coconut oil, olive oil or the sesame oil, are known to have antibacterial, antioxidant and antifungal properties and so they can be used as an organic substitute for mouthwash. But it should not be considered as a reliable dental hygiene practice and I do not recommend it as a replacement for brushing and flossing.’

She further stated that since oil pulling is not harmful, you can practice it along with your regular oral hygiene practices.

For more information, read our article on Coconut oil.

Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.


The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor News18 is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.

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