The idea of swishing a mouthful of oil around, and then spitting it out, to cure oral disease might sound strange, but oil pulling is, it seems, not just an effective oral detoxification procedure but good for the overall health.

Oil pulling, also known as "kavala" is an ancient Indian Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 5 to 10 minutes. This action is said to draw out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health.

Sesame was the oil of choice for Ayurvedic practitioners. However, nowadays more people are advocating coconut oil for oil pulling as it is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride that is incredibly effective at killing the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay. These same compounds also decrease the amount of plaque that builds up on teeth, in turn reducing gum disease. Some other claimed advantages of oil pulling include whiter teeth and relief from toothache.

Actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra has been an advocate of oil pulling and has been doing it regularly for six-seven years.