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Dabur, Colgate refresh age-old ‘oil pulling’ practice for new launches, take Ayurveda route to mouthwashing

While Dabur launched Dabur Red Pulling Oil, Colgate launched Vedshakti Oil Pulling under its rather new Vedshakti line of Ayurvedic products.

Thousands of years before the world discovered Listerine, Indians followed practices like Gandusha and Kavala Graha. The oral care practices based in Ayurveda requires one to swish edible oil (mostly coconut oil) in the mouth for 10-20 minutes and then spit it out. The practice is supposed to draw out out toxins and disease causing bacteria from the teeth and heal oral ailments.

Its English name ‘Oil Pulling’ reflects the practice and desired outcome. Increased focus on hygiene and natural wellness due to COVID might have breathed new life into the practice. In July last year, Bollywood star Anushka Sharma mentioned oil-pulling as a daily ritual in an Instagram post. And more recently, Colgate Palmolive and Dabur, two of the top FMCG companies started showing interest. Both the companies launched their upcycled versions of the ‘oil’ to be used in the ‘pulling’.

While Dabur launched Dabur Red Pulling Oil, Colgate launched Vedshakti Oil Pulling under its rather new Vedshakti line of Ayurvedic products. With this, both join brands like Idhayam Wealth Sesame Oil Pulling which has had strong regional presence, especially in the South Indian markets.

Dabur, Colgate refresh age-old ‘oil pulling’ practice for new launches, take Ayurveda route to mouthwashing

Dabur Red Pulling Oil marks Dabur’s entry into the mouthwash category where Colgate already had a presence with Plax, Colgate’s response to Listerine.

Both Plax and Listerine sell for Rs 130 for 250ml bottles. Priced at RS 275 for a 195 ml pack, Dabur Red Pulling Oil is initially available on e-commerce platforms. Colgate is yet to announce the price but the company mentioned that it’s variant will be available in SKUs of 200 ml bottles.

The practice might have been limited to pockets of consumers, specific cultures and geographies, but a star’s endorsement pushed it to the surface. The more recent boost from the larger national FMCG players could get it into the Indian hygiene routine. Unlike Idhayam, Dabur and Colgate decided not to limit themselves to singular oils and made theirs into a blend of multiple herbal oils (like clove and cinnamon oils).

Dabur, Colgate refresh age-old ‘oil pulling’ practice for new launches, take Ayurveda route to mouthwashing

While Gandusha is yet to pick up pace nationally in India, the practice has travelled well and far. A simple search for ‘Oil Pulling’ on Flipkart throws up only a few brands/products (including Idhayam). On the other hand, a similar search on Amazon.com (global) brings up close to a hundred products. Variations range from branding initiatives like ‘gum serum’ to value additions like flavours and added vitamins. One of them, called Keeko even married virgin coconut oil with charcoal.