Whether oil pulling is a staple in your morning routine or the mere thought of swishing oil for 20 minutes makes you gag, this ancient, Ayurvedic technique is buzzing in the wellness community. So what exactly is oil pulling? It’s taking roughly a tablespoon or two of oil (traditionally sesame, sunflower or coconut) and swishing it in your mouth for up to 20 minutes prior to brushing your teeth. Many seemingly miraculous health claims have been touted about the practice, such as its ability to draw out toxins from your body, relieve TMJ symptoms, help digestion, prevent heart disease, whiten teeth, increase energy…the list goes on.
While there is a lot of anecdotal-based support for this remedy, the problem with oil pulling is that there is little scientific evidence to back up the claims—as there are only a handful of studies completed on the topic. It’s great to stay in-the-know when it comes to health and wellness, but it’s always important to do your research and make an informed decision with the help of a doctor before jumping on trends.
What oil pulling could do for your health
Studies show that a decrease in plaque and gingivitis symptoms can be noticed after 7 days of oil pulling, but naturally, these results will vary from person to person. Many have reported whiter teeth and sensitivity relief as the common and most noticeable effects of using this remedy daily.
Oil pulling is a great substitute for conventional mouthwash because it can eliminate bad bacteria without taking the good bacteria along with it. Still looking for a minty-fresh feeling after you brush? Add a drop of peppermint to the coconut oil promote better breath.
What oil pulling probably won’t do for you
While there are some apparent benefits of oil pulling, the jury is still out on its other supposed health benefits. There is no scientifically confirmed evidence that it can pull toxins from your body, balance hormones, prevent heart disease, etc. For now, we have only the testimonies of oil pulling advocates as we await new scientific studies to test this ancient, natural remedy.
It’s extremely important to remember that oil pulling is NOT a substitute for flossing or brushing. Like mentioned above, it can be a more holistic alternative to mouthwash, but nothing replaces the mechanical actions of brushing and flossing.
So…is it worth a try?
For now, it seems like the best way to find out if oil pulling will work for you is to try it! Most dentist’s philosophy seems to be “there’s no real risk so give it a try if you enjoy it,” just remember to NOT neglect your regular flossing and brushing. Another warning is to be very careful not to inhale oil down the wrong pipe, as it can cause lipoid pneumonia if it gets into the lungs.
Personally, I’ve used coconut oil for my sensitive teeth and it’s been helpful at providing some pain relief. My teeth seem whiter, but I’ve also stepped up my overall dental care routine, so that could have (obviously) played a role in that! In addition to sensitive pain relief, I prefer oil to mouthwash as it does leave a fresh feeling without the harmful chemicals and lingering aftertaste.
How To Oil Pull
If you think oil pulling can benefit you, here are a few tips to get started:
Like many natural remedies, it will take some time and regular practice before you see results. Are you an oil pulling advocate or not? Let us know why below!