Oral Health Trends: What is Oil Pulling?

patient oil pulling in Fort Lauderdale, FLNew home remedies and do-it-yourself projects are always floating around the internet. One that you’ve probably seen scrolling down your Pinterest is oil pulling. While just the name sounds like something you would do with your car, it’s actually a growing trend for oral health. Although oil pulling is an ancient method for oral health, there isn’t sufficient evidence from modern studies to show just how effective this treatment is. Those who are avid believers of oil pulling say that there are many health benefits associated with it such as fighting against gingivitis and bad breath. While home remedies may or may not be great additional tools for aiding oral health, we recommend professional help if you’re dealing with more serious dental issues. For those patients who are suffering from tooth loss, we offer high-quality dental implants. For other patients in good oral health, home remedies may be a more viable option for boosting oral health. Dr. Daniel Fenton explains oil pulling and its claimed benefits for his patients here in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is swishing an edible oil around your mouth to “pull” out harmful bacteria. Some sources suggest swishing for 15-20 minutes is the most effective time frame to fully draw out bacteria. However, the time that is actually necessary is a topic of debate. Most people will use sunflower oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil when oil pulling. People that use this method claims that it treats gum disease, whitens teeth, eliminates plaque, and treats TMJ. Sound too good to be true? It might be. The American Dental Association does not recommend oil pulling as a supplementary or replacement oral hygiene practice based on lack of available evidence.

The two techniques for oil pulling, kavala and gandusa, call for slightly different methods to remove bacteria. Kavala requires you to fill your mouth and hold it still before swishing it around the mouth and spitting out. It should take around three to four minutes and should be repeated two or three times. The other method, gandusa, requires you to hold the liquid still for three to five minutes and then spit it out to repeat the same process. Remember, don’t spit the oil into the sink once you’re done. That can cause the oil to clog your pipes. Instead, spit into a trashcan. 

The History of Oil Pulling

Although oil pulling seems like a new and trendy home remedy, it actually dates back thousands of years. Ayurveda, the ancient holistic system of medicine that formed in India 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, describes oil pulling as a natural healing practice. Ayurveda also describes other oral health practices, which include chewing on sticks and eating herbs. They were very adamant on using oil to treat all sorts of oral issues. In history, Ayurveda followers would use sunflower or sesame oils to treat or prevent bad breath, cracked lips, bleeding gums, and tooth decay.

Can Oil Pulling Hurt?

As we said before, it’s hard to say whether oil pulling is actually beneficial or not. However, there certainly are benefits of certain oils like coconut oil. Coconut oil has lauric acid, which includes anti-microbial agents. While it may not be any better for you than a standard mouthwash, are there are risks associated with oil pulling? The American Dental Association says that oil pulling has caused diarrhea and upset stomach along with lipoid pneumonia if oil gets into the lungs. Although these risks can occur, oil pulling enthusiasts stand firm that it can do wonders for oral health and the rest of the body. Among the oral health benefits, some claim other benefits including:

  • Cures hangovers
  • Aids with sleep issues
  • Clears out sinuses
  • Manages weird hormonal imbalances

Contact our Office

As you can see, feelings toward oil pulling are pretty torn. For those who love oil pulling, they cite plenty of benefits for teeth and gums. Whether it’s true or not is controversial until there is more evidence available. If you’re dealing with an oral health issue that can’t be solved with a home remedy such as tooth loss, contact our office. We’ve seen many patients achieve a beautiful, healthy smile with the help of dental implants. To begin your dental implant process, contact our office and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.