Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling: TikTok Myth or Dentist’s Dream?

Oil pulling has gained traction in recent years as a natural remedy for oral health, mostly because of the recent slew of TikTok enthusiasts touting its effectiveness. Their testimonies can claim it cures it all, from whitening teeth to detoxifying the body. But what does modern dentistry have to say about this age-old practice?

History of Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has its roots in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional system originating in India over 3,000 years ago. The practice involves swishing oil, typically coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil, around the mouth for 15-20 minutes before spitting it out. This process is believed to draw out toxins and impurities, promoting oral and overall health.

Proponents of oil pulling advocate for its diverse range of supposed benefits, including:

Improved Oral Health

Oil pulling enthusiasts assert that the practice can reduce plaque, fight bacteria, and prevent cavities and gum disease.

Whitening Teeth

Some claim that oil pulling can naturally whiten teeth by removing stains.


It is often suggested that oil pulling can detoxify the body by pulling toxins from the mouth and bloodstream.

Fresh Breath

Oil pulling is believed to eliminate bad breath by reducing bacteria in the mouth.

The truth is, despite its ancient roots and newfound popularity, recent claims aren’t entirely supported by science and should be taken with a grain of salt.

But all may not be lost. The act of swishing oil around the mouth can help dislodge food particles and bacteria, potentially reducing plaque and improving gum health. Anecdotally, some of my own patients report experiencing fresher breath and a cleaner feeling mouth after oil pulling.

However, despite its small benefits, it should definitely not be viewed as a substitute for traditional oral hygiene practices; including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups. These conventional methods have been extensively researched and clearly proven effective time and time again.

At this point, larger and more rigorous trials are needed to confirm the benefits of oil pulling. For now, we’ll have to continue our pursuit of those flawless, pearly whites and the miracle dental cure!

Dr. Gunjan Kella, DDS
From the midwest to the east coast to California, Dr. Kella has spent more than two decades pursuing her passion for dentistry. Throughout her 14 years of professional experience, she has treated hundreds of patients with their restorative needs and gum health. Sayva Dental is about more than oral wellness—it’s about holistic patient-centered care and support.