Posted March 23, 2015
Oil pulling is considered one of the oldest oral health practices in the world. Through the years, its popularity has continued in many cultures and countries. However, many dental and medical professionals don’t believe it helps improve oral health.
Oil pulling involves swishing about 1 tablespoon of coconut, sesame or sunflower oil in the mouth. Some experts recommend spending 10-20 minutes moving the oil over the teeth and gums, while others believe two sessions of three to five minutes are sufficient. The oil is spit out into a trash receptacle, not into the sink. This technique primarily has been observed in India as a traditional form of medicine called Ayurveda, but other countries and cultures also have adopted it.
Practitioners of Ayurveda recommend using coconut or sesame oil as both have abrasive properties that assist in removing plaque and food particles from teeth. These oils also are known to assist with healing. For example, coconut oil contains lauric acid, which helps to kill viruses, bacteria and yeasts.
According to Ayurveda information, oil pulling can assist in curing about 30 systemic diseases and health problems, such as headaches and diabetes, but there is limited evidence available to verify these claims. A recent CNN story reported these research results:
- A study of teenage boys in 2009 found that oil pulling helped to reduce plaque and other oral bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans.
- A study published in 2013 demonstrated that oil pulling with sesame oil reduced plaque and gingivitis.
The American Dental Association doesn’t endorse oil pulling and recommends that the technique should not replace daily toothbrushing and flossing. Health professionals who practice Ayurvedic medicine advise following proper technique for oil pulling to avoid developing dry mouth, excessive thirst, muscle ache or loss of taste.
Learn more about oil pulling by reviewing these articles: