Oil pulling seems to be the new craze patients are excited to talk about, although according to other parts of the world, this therapy is nothing new. Oil pulling, also called oil swishing, is a traditional folk remedy where oil is swished or held in the mouth. Ayurvedic medicine, which is a system of traditional and alternative medicine native to India, states oil pulling is capable of improving oral and systemic health by pulling out toxins and reducing inflammation
Proper Pulling Technique
Benefits of Oil Pulling
I spent many hours researching the efficiency of oil pulling, to the point where my brain actually started to feel like swooshing oil. On a lighter note, I found a broad range of topics dealing with the oral cavity, as well as benefits beyond the mouth. In short, it appears many scientists believe that the lipids in the oil pull out bacteria and stop it from sticking to the walls of the mouth. Other possible oral health benefits include:
And beyond the mouth…
What Do We Think?
The dental hygiene department is completely perplexed. What do we make of this new trend? Could it be a total coincidence that overall oral health seems to have improved in patients partaking in oil pulling? Have they been more diligent with home care routines? Are they less stressed? Has their overall health improved? Did they change hygiene products? Or do I dare speculate they are actually FLOSSING?
Whatever the case may be and before you get too excited, this therapy will never replace good ol’ brushing and flossing but for people who are interested, it could possibly be used as a substitute for mouthwash. Any reduction in bacteria results in less inflammation, which means less bleeding and ultimately less pain during appointments.
Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?
Am I in any rush to give oil pulling two thumbs up for a cure-all? The short answer is no. What I have concluded is that this therapy really is an old way to clean your mouth more thoroughly than you probably are now. No magic tricks are being performed; it’s just one of the many ways you can keep your mouth as clean and healthy as possible.
Alternative medicine and dentistry is here to stay, so let’s open the dialogue and get involved. Have you ever tried oil pulling? What was your experience?
HV Amith, Anil V Ankola, L Nagesh. Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and Gingivitis. Journal of Oral Health & Community Dentistry: 2007 ;1(1):Pages 12-18