The phrase “oil pulling” has been gaining popularity in recent years, as evident by millions of search results for it online. Claims of its effectiveness can range all the way from teeth cleaning to ridding the body of disease. But is this just the latest social media trend or does oil pulling have real merit?
- Let’s take a look -
Oil pulling is a traditional Indian folk remedy dating back 3000-5000 years. It is performed by swishing, sucking, and pulling oil between teeth for about 15-20 minutes before spitting the oil out. This practice has origins in Ayurvedic medicine and has since been practiced in many cultures around the world. Proponents of oil pulling say it has the ability to remove harmful toxins and microorganisms that grow and accumulate in the mouth. Some people even believe it can help “pull out” other toxins in the body.
While the proclaimed ability of oil pulling on removing toxins from the body has yet to be empirically confirmed, there have been recent studies that show oil pulling has the ability to reduce plaque and improve oral health. Traditionally, sunflower or sesame oils have been used to attain these benefits, however, coconut oil may be a better option because coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is a precursor to many soaps and can help better serve as an antimicrobial agent.
Compared to more mainstream oral hygiene options, such as a medicated chlorhexidine solution, oil pulling has very few negative side effects. The main drawbacks of oil pulling are the time requirements and the possibility of the taste inducing a gag reflex. Unlike oil pulling, chlorhexidine solutions can only be used for short periods of time because it has a tendency to stain teeth. Additionally, chlorhexidine binds to both hard and soft tissue and can stain tooth crowns or caps made of glass ionomer or composite, a risk not associated with oil pulling.
While oil pulling has the possibility to improve oral health, further studies are needed to accurately verify its validity. You’re unlikely to experience negative side effects using this technique, however, if you’re concerned about your oral health or curious about treatment options, it is best to contact a healthcare professional to receive the best advice possible.
We are on a mission to become the top rated dentist in Jupiter, Florida, so please share this blog with your friends and family to help spread the word!
By providing links to other sites, Harbor Breeze Dental Care does not guarantee, approve, or endorse the information or products available on these sites. All pictures are from Pixabay. This blog has been endorsed and approved by Dr. Mark Kubiliun, Cosmetic Dentist in Jupiter.