What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an inexpensive home remedy that has been touted to do wonders for one’s health. This ancient Ayurvedic practice, that dates back about 3,000 years, involves swishing oil gently in your mouth. The most common oils used in this natural therapy are sesame, sunflower, and coconut. Simply take a tablespoon of the oil and swish the liquid in your mouth for about 15-20 minutes before spitting it out. It is recommended that you do this on an empty stomach to avoid nausea.1

debunking and explaining oil pulling

There are several purported oral benefits associated with this simple practice, including the removal of:

  • Dental plaque
  • Bad breath
  • Toxins

It is also known to ease jaw pains and cure hangovers.1

But are all oil-pulling benefits verifiable or supported by scientific evidence? What are some of the things that potential oil-pullers need to know about before starting the regime? Read on!

Cannot Replace Flossing and Brushing

The main purpose of brushing and flossing is to remove plaque and food debris that are trapped in the crevices between your teeth. Plaque and food particles have to be mechanically removed, either by the home care regime or through professional cleaning tools used by the dentist or oral hygienist.

Although there are studies that claim the benefits of oil pulling in the prevention of cavities and gingivitis, it does not mean that oil pulling can be regarded as a replacement for at-home oral care activities like brushing and flossing or professional cleaning at a dentist’s office. Oil swishing, while beneficial in diluting the sticky plaque substance such that it is less prone to stick to your teeth, does not help to remove plaque or food debris that are trapped in your teeth.

A Replacement For Mouthwash

There are billions of bacteria in the mouth but not all are bad. Good oral bacteria act as the body’s natural defence against diseases for the welfare of our dental as well as overall health. Many mouthwash brands claim to eliminate 99% of germs, meaning that they invariably throw the baby (good bacteria) out with the bathwater (bad bacteria).

Oil pulling has been regarded as a natural alternative to “pulling” bad bacteria from the mouth and spitting it out in the oil.2 Coconut oil, known for its antibacterial properties, is able to attract all the bad bacteria in the mouth – much the same way water possesses the physical property of cohesion that makes it effective as a cleaning agent.2

Is Not A Cure-All

Oil pulling has been credited as a traditional remedy for both dental and medical ailments, including tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, dry mouth syndrome, asthma, insomnia, thrombosis, heart problems, diabetes and leukaemia.2 However, it must be noted that the scientific community does not endorse most of its health and dental claims, while positive research on the Ayurvedic practice is still very limited by sample size and demographic data.2

Does Not Whiten Teeth

Once again, the stain removal benefits of oil pulling are more hearsay – peddled by famous Hollywood celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow – than based on actual clinical evidence. As a teeth cleaning agent, there is no evidence to suggest that oil pulling brightens your teeth more than say gargling with water. A simple scale and clean at the dentist’s office will remove more teeth stains than regular oil pulling could ever help to achieve. Of course, to remove more stubborn stains, Zoom teeth whitening is probably your best bet.

Bringing General and Dental Health Together

If you are not sure about the health benefits of natural dental therapies, please consult a professional dentist for advice. In fact, Face Value Dental is home to an experienced holistic dentist in Brisbane who can help patients with total health and well-being! Contact Face Value Dental on (07) 3221 0677 for more information.

References

  1. "What you need to know about Oil Pulling." Dental Benefits of Oil Pulling - Myths and Truths. August 24, 1970. http://blog.dentalcarenetwork.com/oral-health-news/article/what-you-need-to-know-about-oil-pulling.html.
  2. "Oil Pulling: Busting the Myths (& Rookie Tips for Success)." Kitchen Stewardship | Real Food and Natural Living. July 31, 2017. https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/oil-pulling-tips-and-success-stories-do-you-swish/.