Like acupuncture and yoga, oil pulling is a health practice that dates back thousands of years. An ancient Ayurvedic practice, it purports to purify the body. One simply swishes oil (coconut is the most popular) around in one’s mouth for fifteen to twenty minutes so that it can “pull” toxins through the mouth and gums. Then you spit the mouthful of harvested toxins and bacteria into the sink or trash and reap the rewards of having been pulled with oil.
What Are the Benefits of Oil Pulling?
The many claimed benefits of oil pulling include: whiter teeth, clearer skin, arthritis relief, migraine relief, improved gum health, improved heart health, relief from dry throat, improved bad breath, relief from cracked lips and gum bleeding. Has any of this been scientifically proven? Well, no. Has it been scientifically disproven? Also, not really. There just haven’t been enough large, well-funded studies conducted on the practice to draw any definitive conclusions.
In 2014, the Journal of Clinical and Dental Research found that oil pulling with sesame oil was able to reduce bad breath as much as using a Chlorhexidine treatment. Bad breath was not completely cured, but oil pulling did have as much success as using mouth wash.
The ADA Stance On Oil Pulling For Dental Health
The American Dental Association (ADA) does not officially recommend oil pulling. They cite a lack of science as the reason for the lack of endorsement. Again, there is a distinction to be made between something being disproven and something being unknown. As far as the science goes, oil pulling’s benefits remain largely unproven, but this does not mean they don’t exist. If more properly conducted and controlled studies were ever conducted, we might know a lot more.
As it is, the ADA declares: “scientific studies have not provided the necessary clinical evidence to demonstrate that oil pulling reduces the incidence of dental caries (cavities), whitens teeth, or improves oral health and well-being.”
Risks and Potential Side Effects of Oil Pulling
On its own, oil pulling is generally safe and is unlikely to have any risks or side effects. It is important, however, not to use oil pulling as a substitute for well-proven dental hygiene protocols. Oil pulling is not a replacement for brushing your teeth, flossing, or seeing your dentist for regular cleanings. Just because oil pulling might have been the only game in town for oral health thousands of years ago, doesn’t mean it is now!
Also know that there are no regulations in place to monitor or control the quality of plant oils. Do your research and try to source your oil from a reputable company that takes the purity of its oils seriously.
At Babylon Dental Care, We Care About Your Dental Health
Oil pulling is no replacement for regular dental exams and cleanings. Call us to schedule your cleaning with our friendly and qualified team today.