The first time I heard of “oil pulling “ was a few years ago when a periodontist friend of mine suggested it for a patient of ours who was not responding to traditional therapy. I decided to write this blog about it in part because another patient asked me about it this morning. Apparently this centuries-old Ayurveda technique has seen a resurgence in popular culture. Why, I’m not sure!
The practice itself involves swishing oil (usually sesame, olive, sunflower or coconut oil) in the mouth for twenty minutes and then spitting it out. Theoretically, this “pulls” harmful bacteria and toxins from the body and traps them in the oil.
The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda claims that oil pulling can be used to treat some 30 systemic diseases. What limited studies there are demonstrate that this practice can be used to reduce halitosis (bad breath) and to control the bacteria associated with tooth decay. Anecdotal claims have been made that suggest oil pulling can also reduce plaque and tarter in the mouth and even whiten teeth!
While there may in fact be some value to oil pulling, what bothers me the most about the practice is why someone would undertake this when we have so many tried and proven methods for achieving the same or better results today. In addition, I find that most people have a difficult enough time finding two minutes a day to brush and floss their teeth, let alone taking 20 minutes for oil pulling. That being said, if you are so inclined to try this technique, I would be more than happy to hear about your experiences with it next time you visit the office.
Please contact Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA today to schedule your next appointment.