Ins and Outs of Oil Pulling

Ins and Outs of Oil Pulling

New Fade or The Secret to a Sensational Smile?

A few months ago, I had a number of patients ask me what I thought about the practice of oil pulling and what benefits it could offer their oral health. I stared at them blankly and thought I must be missing out on a new trend.  Turns out I was.

Oil pulling is being touted as the new “it” treatment even though the history of the practice is quite ancient. Over the last year, oil pulling has been promoted in multiple magazines and news outlets as a way of improving your oral health.

Oil Pulling is described online as an ancient Aurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (usually sesame or coconut) in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This action supposedly draws out bacteria and toxins in your mouth, primarily to improve oral health.  Some users report a teeth whitening effect in addition to a reduction in headaches, asthma and acne, to name just a few of oil pulling’s many supposed benefits.

Like any good editor for the MDS I decided to try it.  My first reaction was that a tablespoon of oil felt like a lot!  In the initial few minutes of swishing the amount of oil about doubled in size with my saliva.  I went through periods of idle contentment but mostly periods of wanting to quit.  I sat at my desk looking through emails swishing away and researching the method more online.  That didn’t exactly help, as reading about the bacteria and toxins that were now currently in my mouth made me feel a bit ill.  I made it successfully to the 20 minute mark and was glad to be done.  Online recommendations say to oil pull for 20 minutes a day for two weeks.  I was good with the one session.

The American Dental Association has stated that there is insufficient research done on oil pulling and its benefits to make any claims good or bad.  Either way at least it may get a few of our patients more focused on their dental health!

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