Oil Pulling

Coconut-and-Coconut-OilMany of our patients have asked us about oil pulling/oil swishing and want to know if we feel it is something they should try.

First, a little background: Oil pulling originated as an Ayurvedic technique (traditional Hindu medicine) whereby coconut, sunflower or sesame oil is swished in the mouth for up to 20 minutes. In doing so, the belief is that all the toxins in your mouth are “pulled” away and become trapped in the oil that you are swishing.

There are a wide variety of claims regarding the benefits of oil pulling including:

  • The reduction of plaque
  • Removal of toxins in the mouth
  • Teeth Whitening

Ayurvedic medicine also claims that oil pulling can cure several systemic diseases, including diabetes and asthma. Unfortunately, there is no credible scientific evidence that supports oil-pulling, and there are documented cases of diarrhea, upset stomach, lipid pneumonia and mineral oil aspiration, so the practice is not without risk.

The prevailing thought is that swishing with any non-harmful, non-acidic liquid for a prolonged period is likely to have some benefit – specifically the disruption of the biofilm that has settled on your teeth and dislodging/removing potentially harmful bacteria.

At the end of day, brushing twice daily, flossing, and seeing your dental professional for routine checkups and cleanings are proven methods for maintaining good oral health.