Oils for Bad Breath

This article is a multi-part series attempting to answering the question:  Does Oil Pulling Really Work?  This article addresses the Oil Pulling Claim:  Does Oil Pulling Improve the Freshness of Your Breath?  And, if so, which oils for bad breath work the best.

In this article we will research to find existing studies and/or believable sources that answer or contradict the question Does Oil Pulling Improve the Freshness of Your Breath?

Do You Want the BEST Oil Pulling Product?


Bad breath at cape cross (what Oils for Bad Breath do I need?)

“Bad breath at cape cross” by fiverlocker (Some Rights Reserved), via Flickr.com

WebMD states that “about 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source”.

But, what does that mean?

Our research found several examples of “oral sources”:

  • Cavities
  • Gum Disease
  • Trapped food particles in your mouth
  • Dentures that are not cleaned
  • Smoking
  • Fasting or Low Fat Diets
  • Medications

The theory is that if you eliminate these “oral sources”, you can often eliminate the source of the bad breath.  Read on to find out which Oils for Bad Breath do the best job to eliminate these “oral sources”.

Many people that participate in the art of Oil Pulling believe that oil pulling can play a big part in improving breath freshness.

Who Says Oil Pulling Improves Breath Freshness?

Very Bad Breath

“Very Bad Breath” by Randy Wick (CC BY-SA 2.0), via Flickr.com

Many web sites make the claim of eliminating bad breath.

Or, they claim it makes your breath fresher.

The following claims have been made online about oil pulling improving breath freshness.


The web site Jezabel in an article titled “The ‘Oil Pulling’ Health Craze Works, Just Not in the Way You Think“, quotes a superfan who provided a list of oil pulling benefits.  The following is a claim made regarding breath freshness:

If you have halitosis, oil pulling has been a big savior for
many sufferers & your morning breath will get MUCH better (you
can now kiss your S.O. good morning w/o them cringing!).

Later in the same article, the section titled “So does it really do all this stuff or what?” answers that question with:

Actually, yeah — but not like you think…To say nothing
of the connection to bad breath…that would likely be linked to constant infection in the mouth… what of the improved sinuses, and skin clarity, and cavity-healing people are raving about post-oil-swishing?

I know.  A little hard to follow.  The jist of the quote above is that the author is saying that bad breath can come from “infection in the mouth”, and that oil pulling has people raving about the results (improved sinuses, etc).

The author then it sums up by quoting Nancy Guberti who said:

“If I had to choose between conventional tooth paste and
oil pulling then I’d go with oil pulling.”

Natural News

The web site Natural News is a site dedicated to science-based natural health.  It is led by the self proclaimed Health Ranger Mike Adams.

In an article titled “Oil pulling can treat bad breath, study finds“, Natural News author Michael Ravensthorpe

Though evidence of oil pulling’s benefits remains largely
anecdotal, a small but growing number of studies are starting to
reinforce the claims of the Ayurveda.

He then goes on to quote a study we also found and will talk about below.

Tips Bulletin

Joan Clark at the Tips Bulletin suggests a different oil than we’ve seen before.

In the article “How To Get Rid Of Bad Breath“,

Try minty oils like wintergreen or peppermint to fight halitosis as they
will stay in the mouth longer than mouthwash

In addition to swishing the peppermint oil, Joan also says that adding some hydrogen peroxide to the mixture and it will kill bacteria and germs.  And, as you know from reading other articles on our Dazzling White Teeth HQ site, hydrogen peroxide is well know for improving the whiteness of your teeth!

Dr. Axe

Dr. Josh Axe DNM, DC, CNS is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist for the Dr. Axe web site.

The Dr. Axe site published an article titled “Coconut Oil Pulling Benefits & How-to Guide” says this about oil pulling and breath freshness:

This unbelievably effective procedure has been used for
centuries as a traditional India remedy to:

– Kills bad breath

Later, the article goes on to say:

Within one week, most people notice a cleaner mouth
and change in their breath.

Who Says Oil Pulling Does NOT Improve Breath Freshness?

Well, we could not find anyone that was directly contradicting that oil pulling helps to freshen breath.

The closest thing we could find were some statements from the ADA.

ADA Statements

While the ADA didn’t specifically list improving breath as one of the things that oil pulling does NOT do.  It did have these fairly strong statements:

This Science in the News provides a brief overview on the
practice, health claims associated with oil pulling, and information
on the lack of science to support use of this technique for any
oral or general health benefit.

The ADA then goes on to say:

Based on the lack of currently available evidence, oil pulling
is not recommended as a supplementary oral hygiene practice,
and certainly not as a replacement for standard, time-tested
oral health behaviors and modalities.

We feel that this is more of a statement that the ADA doesn’t want Oil Pulling to replace standard teeth cleaning procedures like brushing and mouthwash, and not a statement on the effects of Oil Pulling for breath freshness.

Proof That Oil Pulling Improves Breath Freshness

During our research, we found several studies that we believe scientifically prove that Oil Pulling does have a measurable positive effect on breath freshness.

Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Chennai, India

The first scientific article we found is titled “Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial“.

The study tested two groups for values of plaque and modified gingival index score.

This study says:

Oil pulling therapy has been equally effective like
chlorhexidine on halitosis and organisms, associated with halitosis

The study uses sesame oil.  And, it concludes that oil pulling is at least as effective as a chlorhexidine mouthwash.

Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

We also found an article with the title of “Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study“.

This study uses twenty age-matched adolescent boys.  The study directly measures the count of Streptococcus mutans in plaque and saliva.

This study is specifically trying to test the claim that oil pulling prevents oral malodor (among other claims).  The study then goes on to say that the amount of plaque was significantly reduced in the first two weeks.


The studies we found link Oil Pulling to a reduction in plaque.  How does this relate to bad breath?

In this article from WebMD, there is the following statement that links bad breath to plaque:

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be
a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease.
Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth.

More Collaboration

We also found a trial named “Comparative efficacy of oil pulling and chlorhexidine on oral malodor: a randomized controlled trial“.

This trial is a collaboration of three professors from two Dental schools in India.

In this trial, the conclusion was:

Oil pulling with sesame oil is equally efficacious as chlorhexidine
in reducing oral malodor and microbes causing it.

Which are the Best Oils for Bad Breath?

During our investigation, we found the following Oils for Bad Breath.  The following oils were used for the purpose of Oil Pulling to improve breath freshness.

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil was found the most in the scientific studies we found.

Most of the studies we found originated in India.  Sesame oil seems to be a favorite oil for oil pulling in India.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a more recent player on the Oil Pulling front.  Many of the studies we found use sesame oil for the experiments.

However, when searching for those that are making claims about oil pulling affecting breath, almost all of the articles we found mentioned coconut oil.

We also found several studies that talk about Oil Pulling with coconut oil killing the same bacteria that sesame oil was killing.  These just were not specific studies focused on the effect of Oil Pulling on breath.

Conclusions for Does Oil Pulling Improve Breath Freshness?

In our findings, coconut oil is the “oil of choice” for the lay person.  Probably because the taste is much more palatable.

Sesame seed oil seems to be used as often or more as coconut oil in scientific testing.

Either of these two oils are the best Oils for Bad Breath.

Do You Want the BEST Oil Pulling Product?


Hopfully, you have found our research useful and that it also convinces you to agree with our findings about the claim Does Oil Pulling Improve Breath Freshness?


 Oils for Bad Breath  Posted by  Facts

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