Everything you need to know about oil pulling and maintaining health through oral hygeine. 

Sanskrit: Gandusha

English: Oil Pulling

What is oil pulling?

The Ayurvedic technique or practice of oleating the mouth with oil. From Sanskrit it translates to “process of holding liquids in the mouth”. In Ayurveda medicine, different liquid preparations are made to treat various ailments of the mouth (ulcerations, halitosis, distaste, etc) as well as helping promote healthy digestion and metabolism for the day. Oil pulling can be conducted every day at home by individuals who want to improve oral hygiene, improve digestion, and boost energy. The act of oil pulling removes the coating of toxic materials from your tongue called “ama”. Wondering what it looks like, stick out your tongue real wide and look at the back – see that coating, whitish, greyish, yellowish, that’s the ama. It’s filled with toxic particles and fecal matter from your previous day, and really not something we want hanging out in our bodies. On a more superficial level, this coating is also what makes your breath smell unpleasant. Proper oil pulling technique can remove ama as well as improve your overall health. 


What you need:

  • Sesame Oil (Sesame is the ideal oil for oil pulling because it’s neutral qualities benefit everybody constitution. If you have a sesame allergy and cannot use sesame oil for medical reasons, please feel free to email or message (via Facebook) Anupanas so we can work together to find you the best alternative. While coconut oil is popular, it may not be the right oil for your constitution.)
  • Tongue Scraper
  • Warm Water

How to pull:

Find yourself a warm, dry environment – bathrooms tend to be ideal. Take 2 teaspoons of your oil and pour it onto your tongue, move the oil around your mouth with your tongue and keep it moving gently with soft movements of the mouth (avoid aggressive swishing or gargling movements).

While you’re swirling the oils in your mouth, pay close attention. As soon as the oil feels frothy and doubles in volume, it’s time to spit it out. Depending on the thickness of the coating this can take anywhere from 2 to 25 minutes. The first few times, you should be prepared to spend 25 minutes oil pulling but the duration reduces significantly with daily use.

Scrape off any residual coating from your tongue using a tongue scraper and then rinse and spit with warm water. 


When to pull:

Oil pulling is best done first thing in the morning before a meal. It should not be done more than once a day unless specified by an Ayurveda Practitioner.


Who can do it:

Anyone is a great candidate for oil pulling! Children should be supervised during oil pulling. Oil pulling is also one of the few practices safe for pregnant and breast feeding individuals.



  • Improves metabolism
  • Corrects appetite
  •  Increases energy
  •  Boosts immune system
  • Improves oral health and hygiene
  • Removes surface level toxins from the body 
  • Balances endocrine system



  • Remember to spit in the toilet or designated bin as the oil mixed with toxic matter may harden and clog regular sink drains.
  • Refrain from swallowing the oil as it redistributes toxic material back into the body
  • Avoid oil pulling more than once a day (unless instructed by a practitioner). While there won’t be any severe consequences, excessive oleation can bring about imbalances to your constitution.


Boost the benefits:

Follow up oil pulling by massaging your gums with an herbal tooth powder. Remember to brush your teeth!