Oil pulling, also known as "kavala" or "gundusha," is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique (Ayurvedic Medicine is a system of healing that originated in ancient India) that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in the mouth. The process attracts and removes bacteria and toxins that typically reside in the oral cavity. With the help of saliva these undesirables bind with the oil and are readied to be disposed of when spit out after approximately twenty minutes. Traditionally pure sesame oil has been the oil of choice. Today many people choose coconut oil because the Lauric Acid and Monolaurin contained within the oil contribute potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects.
Oil pulling has been shown to significantly reduce cavity-causing bacteria, plaque, and bad breath while improving gum health. When swishing the oil within the mouth, the oil (especially oil with naturally antibacterial properties) binds to the bio-film or plaque on the teeth reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth. Streptococcus Mutans is one of the bacteria that is prominent in the mouth and it has been studied for its role in tooth decay and gum disease. Oil pulling has been shown to reduce the number of Streptococcus Mutans bacteria in the mouth, especially when done with coconut oil. Along with ridding the mouth of unhealthy microbes oiling pulling reduces plaque formation which alleviates inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Lastly, this totally natural ancient detoxification technique can eliminate halitosis. In many cases (but not all), bad breath is caused by the smell of chemicals and gases produced by bacteria in the mouth. With a reduction of odour causing harmful bacteria it is reasonable to expect a reduction in bad breath.