What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is a form of alternative medicine or folk medicine; many people believe it provides positive benefits to one's teeth and gums. In addition to that, people also do this to treat headaches, migraines and other overall health ailments. Oil pulling is also referred to as oil swishing, as it is done in a process that is similar to swishing traditional mouthwash. The term "pulling" is used because some people believe that swishing oil pulls out toxins from the mouth and body. There is a lot of contradicting information and opinions about oil pulling, so it is important to focus on the facts surrounding this alternative medicine.
Facts About Oil Pulling
1. Oil pulling does not reverse the effects of tooth decay. According to Eastgate Dental Centre, oil pulling should never replace regular trips to the dentist nor a traditional oral health care routine. The use of natural oils may provide supplemental benefits for some patients, but it is not a substitute for checkups, professional dental care, flossing and brushing.
2. There is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth. Dr. Steven Haber said in this article that he could not find credible sources or evidence that prove oil can whiten teeth. Instead, this article recommends that a paste made of baking soda and water is best for "natural" teeth whitening.
3. Oil pulling may be helpful in removing plaque, but it is equal to swishing with water or alcohol based mouthwash. When used as a mouthwash, however, it may be beneficial in removing plaque. When oil is swished around in the mouth, it works the same way that mouthwash does. Another dentist, Dr. Jennifer Akkaway, says in the same article that swishing with oil is no different than swishing with water. She states that, when swishing for 20 minutes with either substance, plaque and debris are going to become loose. She believes the oil provides no additional benefits.
4. Oil pulling requires the swishing of oil for 10 to 20 minutes; many people report this as unpleasant and time consuming. People who have experience with oil pulling have reported that this causes jaw pain and can taste very unpleasant. One user even reported mild nausea, in addition to pain, the first time she tried oil pulling.
Is Oil Pulling Worth It?
No it is not. There is no solid medical or scientific evidence that suggests oil pulling is truly effective. The best way to maintain oral health is by seeing a dentist on a regular basis and seeking professional advice regarding homeopathic methods.