Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: November 21, 2023

Swishing oil around in the mouth—known as oil pulling—is an ancient Ayurvedic practice for promoting oral hygiene, cleanliness and health. It may seem bizarre, but it is, in fact, a proven wellness practice that has immense oral benefits. Firstly, it helps to rid the mouth and body of ama (excess impurities and toxins). Studies show that is has an effect on the reduction of plaque and gingivitis. As the oils swishes throughout the mouth the debris, viruses, bacteria, and other toxins stick to it, ultimately pulling it from the mouth.   

Furthermore, research touts oil pulling as a way to “cure more than thirty systemic diseases when practiced regularly and as directed.” Our oral cavity is often looked at as a telling sign of what else is happening in the body, from gut issues to autoimmune diseases. Billions upon billions of organisms fester in the mouth, many of which can contribute to various illnesses and diseases, from cardiovascular issues to diabetes. All of this is interconnected with our oral health, which makes it an essential element to care for. Oil pulling helps in mouth detoxification, to kill bacteria connected to these health ailments, ultimately preventing various illnesses. Studies show it can also help to increase metabolism and improve overall longevity. 

There are also the superficial benefits: Oil pulling is key for freshening breath, healthy gums and even whitening the teeth. At UMA, we love it because it can also feel like a massage on the gums and tongue. It’s incredibly simple to do: Take approximately one tablespoon of oil—coconut is preferred in Ayurveda for its lauric acid content, a fatty acid that boasts anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties. (Sesame is an excellent oil to use as well.) Gently swish it around your mouth for about fifteen to twenty minutes, making sure to move the oil around so it touches all areas of the gums and sides of cheeks. (You can use this time to listen to a podcast, do your self-care routine, shower—you name it.) When finished, spit the oil into a trash can and rinse your mouth with water. Make sure not to swallow any remaining oil as this is riddled with toxins. This practice—which is ideally performed daily—can be done at any time of day, but traditional Ayurvedic medicine recommends oil pulling in the morning.