In light of the recent buzz surrounding the ancient trend of oil pulling, here at Macdonald & Whaley Cosmetic Dentistry we wanted to take some time to discuss the potential benefits of oil pulling — and whether or not it should be practiced.
If you have not yet heard of oil pulling, here’s a quick rundown: Oil pulling is an ancient Indian practice that has recently attracted quite a bit of attention in the news and around the Internet. Popular among celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley, it is believed to have numerous oral and systemic health benefits. But what is oil pulling, really, and how does it work? Let’s take a look.
What Is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic medical practice that uses vegetable oil to remove toxins from your mouth, and body, by swishing the oil around in your mouth.
What Are The Benefits of Oil Pulling? Should I Do It?
The practice is believed by some to have numerous health benefits, such as teeth whitening, improved overall oral health and even systemic health benefits, such as sinus and migraine relief. Some have even said that practicing oil pulling has helped relieve symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, eczema and other conditions — though it should be noted that there is no hard evidence to support any of these claims.
The lack of evidence may leave you wondering, “should I try oil pulling?” While it is hard to determine whether or not oil pulling really has any true benefits, the answer is: it may not hurt. Because oil pulling uses natural ingredients, like vegetable oils, there is likely no harm in trying the practice.
How Do I Oil Pull?
Have you decided to give oil pulling a try? Here’s how:
- Choose your oil. Would you prefer sesame, olive or coconut oil? Though sesame was used traditionally, many present-day oil pullers use coconut for the pleasant taste.
- Place 1-2 teaspoons of oil into your mouth. If you are using coconut oil give it a few seconds to melt in your mouth before swishing.
- Swish for 20 minutes. Though 20 minutes is the suggested time, some sources say 10-20 minutes is enough to do the trick and many oil pullers report having to build up to 20 minutes over a few days. While swishing, push and pull the oil through your teeth and all around the gums to cover many surfaces. Be careful not to swallow any oil in the process.
- Spit out oil. Do not swallow the oil! The idea of oil pulling is to rid your body of toxins and bacteria. If the oil is full of the bacteria it has pulled from your mouth, the last thing you would want to do is swallow it. Be sure to spit the oil in a cup or trash can, not a sink or toilet, as the oil may clog plumbing.
- Rinse and Brush. After stirring up all of that bacteria, be sure to brush well and rinse with warm water. Some sources suggest having a separate toothbrush to use after oil pulling, in case any excess bacteria remains.
All in all, oil pulling is a simple practice. Whether or not there are numerous health benefits is still up for debate, but it won’t hurt to try. And, perhaps best of all, if oil pullers are willing to put 20 minutes a day into oil pulling and their oral hygiene, then hopefully they are willing to put time into brushing twice and flossing once a day.
At Macdonald & Whaley Cosmetic Dentistry we would like to stress that, while it may not cause any harm, oil pulling should not take place of your daily oral hygiene routine. Remember to continue to brush twice and floss once daily, in addition to oil pulling. Oil pulling should also not replace regular trips to see your dentist for a check up and cleaning. If you do try oil pulling, use it as a complement to your normal routine, not as an alternative.
It is our priority at Macdonald & Whaley Cosmetic Dentistry to provide our patients in High Point, Greensboro and Winston-Salem with quality and personalized dental care. If you have any questions regarding your oral health or if you would like to make an appointment with our team, give us a call today!