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DATE: 08.04.2014
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This summer, patients everywhere are going to an unlikely place to get their mouthwash – the kitchen. Social media has recently shed light on the practice of oil pulling, or swishing organic oils in your mouth anywhere from five to twenty minutes, in the hopes of reaping the dental benefits. So, what’s the buzz about? Keep reading to hear our own doctors weigh in on the subject. 


As it turns out, this “new” craze is hardly new. Oil pulling traces its roots back roughly 3,000 years to India and Southern Asia, specifically to the holistic practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic practitioners would prescribe a teaspoon of edible oil, such as coconut or sesame oil, to be swished around the mouth and through the teeth, for up to twenty minutes to remedy a multitude of conditions. Over the years, statements came out claiming “pulling” the oil through the teeth not only loosens and removes oral bacteria, but can also relieve cavity pain and whiten teeth. But is oil pulling good for your mouth?

Dr. Saferin believes this practice can be helpful in addition to your regular habits. “There is evidence to indicate a decrease in the amount of plaque and some resolution the symptoms of gingivitis can be seen after oil pulling. All the studies I have read investigated oil pulling in addition to regular brushing and flossing. It seems the benefits lie more in the lavage or rinsing action performed for a prolonged period of time rather than some curative property of the oil itself. Provided you are not allergic to any components of the oil, oil pulling is not harmful and can be used in conjunction with your regular brushing and flossing techniques.”

“I can’t stress enough that oil pulling alone is not going to cure gingivitis, periodontal (gum) disease, or tooth decay. Combined, however, with your diligent brushing and flossing techniques as well as professional cleanings at least twice a year, it is certainly a safe practice and may even provide some benefits.”

Currently, there is no scientific evidence to support that this trendy rinse actually provides the dental benefits it claims to. Mouth Healthy, the American Dental Association’s consumer information website, also chimed in on the hot topic. Unfortunately, the ADA has not uncovered any proof that says oil pulling is beneficial for teeth cleaning, whitening or pain relief.  Without the reliability of a scientific source, we don’t suggest replacing your regular dental habits with oil pulling alone. Instead, continue your regular routine of brushing twice a day for two minutes, along with flossing, and try out oil pulling on the side!

If you’ve tried oil pulling, or are planning to, we’d love to hear about your experience. Click the button below to share this post on Facebook and leave us a comment with your thoughts.

 

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Untreated dental disease can lead to serious long-term problems. The American Dental Association recommends all adults and children visit a dentist every six months. Whether you're a current or future client we hope to see you soon!