Here at iSmile, our cosmetic dentist practice in NYC, Dr. Chiarello and I are quite familiar with Oil Pulling. Some of our patients do it and others have asked about it. While there are no scientific studies proving its claims, many people, including celebrities, are big proponents of it.


oil pulling fad or fabulous


What is Oil Pulling? 

Oil pulling is a centuries-old Ayurvedic dental treatment to clean and detoxify the gums and teeth by swishing oil through the mouth for a set period of minutes.


What Are the Purported Benefits of Oil Pulling? 

Oil pulling is said to remove plaque and toxins from the teeth without damaging the teeth or gums. While there are no scientific studies that prove its benefits, there are hundreds of testimonials online from those who practice oil pulling that it has improved their dental health, created smoother and whiter teeth, boosted the appearance of their skin, and reduced symptoms of arthritis, asthma, headaches and other conditions.


How Does One Perform Oil Pulling?  

Oil pulling is really quite easy to do. The two-fold challenge is in working up to the 20-minute recommended time period and not swallowing the oil!


  • While it’s recommended that oil pulling be performed in the morning before you eat or drink anything, you can perform oil pulling as many times per day as you wish, though most practitioners do it only once, in the morning.
  • Using a vegetable-based oil such as coconut, olive or sesame oil, place 1-2 teaspoons of oil in the mouth and swish for 20 minutes. According to Dr. Bruce Fife, the author of Oil Pulling Therapy, it takes 20 minutes for the oil to absorb toxins and plaque.
  • You will notice, over the 20 minutes, that your saliva will combine with the oil to create much more liquid in your mouth. This can be uncomfortable for some patients, so feel free to spit out a little until you are used to this phenomenon.
  • After 20 minutes, spit out the oil, which will now appear whitish, and thoroughly rinse your mouth. Some of our oil pulling patients spit the oil into the wastebasket to avoid concerns about the oil becoming solid again and creating a clog in the plumbing (this is only a concern with coconut oil because it is solid in its cold state).
  • Brush your teeth well.


Those who perform oil pulling on a regular basis tend to prefer coconut oil, which tastes milder than other oils, and is said to be naturally antibacterial.


Are There Any Negative Side-Effects of Oil Pulling? 

There are no reported negative effects of oil pulling.


Now that you know the process of oil pulling, we’ll be eager to hear about your results!

Dr Jeffrey Shapiro

Dr. Jeffrey Shapiro 

Manhattan Cosmetic Dentist