Oil pulling

Can Oil Pulling Improve Your Oral Health?

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Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic dental practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, is making a major modern day comeback. And why not, when huge celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley went all out and swear by it too?

Oil pulling is nothing new. In fact, it has been practiced for centuries in India and southern Asia. It’s been said to whiten teeth, improve oral health and draw out toxin in your body.

But before we all go and jump on the bandwagon, let’s have a look at some available information about oil pulling to see if it’s something worth a try.

So how exactly do you do oil pulling?

Oil pulling involves swishing or “pulling” a tablespoonful (15mL) of edible oil like coconut, olive, sesame or sunflower for 20 minutes and spitting it out. As you go along, the oil will get thicker and you will feel a sense of fullness in your mouth. The liquid that you spit out should appear frothy and creamy-white.

How does it work?

Oilpulling.com says, “What you’re drawing out is not only toxins from the mouth but from deep within crevices between teeth and gums and from within the many small tube-like structures inside the teeth, which can build up in those areas and are not usually being eliminated.”

What research has been done to prove the effectiveness of oil pulling on oral health?

There have been a few studies made on oil pulling. A 2008 study published in PubMed involved 20 subjects for 2 weeks concluded that “Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health.” Results from another research in 2007 involved 10 subjects for a 45-day study stated that “Oil pulling is having dental benefits. Hence this holds a chance to be added to other oral hygiene measures.”

However, dental professionals say that these studies encompass such a small number of subjects and such short-term durations to be of great value in terms of oral health.

Should I consider adding oil pulling to improve my oral health?

At the moment, there hasn’t been substantial research that says oil pulling can provide additional benefit over highly researched and scientifically-proven techniques like regular brushing and flossing, and the use of mouthwashes as an add-on measure.

As for the American Dental Association, they released a statement saying, “Based on the lack of scientific evidence, the American Dental Association does not recommend oil pulling as a dental hygiene practice. The ADA continues to recommend that to maintain good dental health you brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and floss between your teeth once a day and don’t use tobacco.”

There are no documented ill effects of oil pulling to date. People that “oil pull” say that it has helped whiten their teeth, alleviate bad breath and even reduce gingivitis. Coconut oil, a favorite among oil pulling enthusiasts, is believed to have viable microbial properties (in its semi-digested state) that may benefit the oral health industry.

What about you? Have you tried oil pulling? Will you give it a try? Share us your thoughts in the comment section below.