Oil Pulling

Oil pulling seems to be all the rave on social media these days… But what is it? And does it work?

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling claims the use of natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums with the added benefit of whitening teeth naturally. Oil pulling also claims that toxins and bacteria in the body build up in the mouth and that swishing or holding oil in the mouth for a prolonged amount of time will draw out these impurities and wash them from the mouth.

Scientifically speaking – only limited studies have been done and have not been able to pin point the exact mechanism of action that oil pulling therapy claims to do.
The suggestion is that oil provides a surface layer that prevents plaque or bacteria adhering to teeth.

It is also suggested that by increasing the secretion of saliva, oil pulling uses the salivary glands in the mouth as a detoxifying organ: the saliva can trap the toxin within the oil particles.

Finally it is suggested that the prolonged and forceful mechanical action could play a part in dislodging bacteria and undigested particles from the deep crevices within the mouth.

Oild Pulling pictures

Picture of oil Pulling

Among the things it claims to help, oil pulling its meant to:

  • + Strengthen your gums/teeth/& jaw. Helps with sensitive teeth & even help TMJ sufferers.
  • + Prevent cavities & gingivitis. Some people even reported it HEALED their cavities?! We don’t believe this one… that’s not really possible unless it was a very very early lesion… Maybe then it could work like fluoride and replace the lost calcium particles in the tooth with whatever beneficial product is meant to be in the oil?!
  • + Help get rid of acne/ eczema/ psoriasis/ & other skin care issues.
  • + Generally detoxify the body.
  • + Cure hangovers & migraines!
  • + Help with sleep issues.
  • + Clear out your sinuses & help allergy sufferers.
  • + cure bad breath and morning breath will apparently get MUCH better.
  • + Help with general pain issues.
  • + Manage any weird hormonal imbalances.
  • + Oil pulling with sesame seed oil moisturizes gums, which can provide a measure of relief to those suffering from dry mouth. Dry mouth is known to increase bacteria growth.
    As dentists we look at scientific research before we support anything. Reliable scientific evidence of the benefits and risks of oil pulling remains scarce and the American Dental Association actually states that insufficient research has been done on oil pulling. Rather than oil pulling, the ADA recommends brushing teeth twice a day, flossing – both practices which have been scientifically proven.

The Canadian Dental Association, responding to published research, has stated that “We sense oil pulling won’t do any harm, we’re not convinced there are any particular benefits to it.”

Of the few studies performed on the effects of oil pulling, in 2013 a study found that oil pulling with olive oil, safflower oil, or linseed oil had no effect on the microbial colonization of the enamel. The authors concluded that it could not be recommended for biofilm or plaque reduction.

Other lab studies performed attest to the antibacterial activity of edible oils such as coconut oil, sesame oil and sunflower oil and the effectiveness of essential oils (such as tea tree oil) against gingivitis and dental plaque formation when used in combination with regular oral hygiene.

Dr. Leslie Laing, from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry, conducted an as yet unpublished pilot study on the use of coconut oil for treatment of dry mouth in a dozen patients suffering from Sjögren’s syndrome, with promising results. However this was not oil pulling. It was the use of coconut oil to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.

Against the background of current scientific and empirical knowledge, edible oils might be used as oral hygiene supplements but a decisive benefit for the oral health status is questionable.

The drawbacks highlighted by medical professionals and experts are:

  • Oil pulling consumes more time than conventional alcohol-free, antiseptic mouthwashes which have been studied with proven effectiveness.
  • There is a report of lipid pneumonia caused by accidental inhalation of the oil during oil pulling.
  • Coconut oil, in rare cases, can act as an antigenic agent that causes contact dermatitis.
  • In addition, according to the ADA, cases of diarrhea or upset stomach have been reported.
  • The oil has to be spit into the garbage can, not the sink. Coconut oil if it solidifies can clog the pipes.

Even Ayurvedic experts warn of negative side effects – if improper technique is used – such as dry mouth, excessive thirst, muscular stiffness, exhaustion and loss of sensation or taste in the mouth.

So what do we suggest?

Stick to conventional medicine with proven efficacy before spending more time and money on something that takes time, ( your meant to swish for 10-20mins!) and is not proven and could possibly cause negative side effects.

Once more studies have been done on oil pulling, the evidence on wether to or not to oil pull will become more clear.

For more information:

Call 33698300 or book an appointment online.