Oil pulling is being talked about in the news and by celebrities for its oral health and overall health benefits. But is it an effective alternative to your dentist's oral hygiene recommendations?
Oil Pulling Origins
A form of CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine), oil pulling therapy has its origins in ancient India some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. You can find information on oil pulling in Ayurvedic medicine. References are in early Ayurvedic texts known as the Susruta Samhita and the Charaka Samhita.
How Oil Pulling Works
Oil pulling (or oil gargling) is a process that takes about 20 minutes. You place a tablespoon of any unrefined oil - such as sesame, coconut, or sunflower - in your mouth, and swish it around long enough to coat your teeth and gums. Bacteria and toxins are 'pulled' from your mouth. You see the process as the oil goes from clear to a white, milky substance, which removes plaque like a soap.
Is it Effective?
Although oil pulling can remove some bacteria and plaque from the mouth, the issue is that there is not scientific evidence or clinical research to show that it is as effective as regular brushing and flossing. It is also not a proven method of treating gum disease.
What we've really just discovered with oil pulling is that it is an old way to clean the mouth. If you don't like to floss, it might seem like an appealing alternative to the daily flossing routine your dentist recommends.