Oil pulling is swishing with coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil for about twenty minutes and then spitting it out. The internet is full of lofty claims that oil pulling cures eczema, arthritis, gum disease, bad breath, and even whitens your teeth.
Is it as good for you as everyone says? No — but I do think there can be some benefit to it.
If you’re interested in oil pulling, this is what you need to know, based on the scientific literature as well as my own experience trying it out.
1. Oil pulling can’t replace flossing and brushing.
The claim is that swishing oil in between the teeth can remove bacteria. Just like scale on your bathtub, plaque needs to be mechanically removed by scraping it from tooth surfaces, this is done with floss and the hygienist’s tools. But what about all the studies that say oil pulling reduces plaque? Reducing plaque and removing it in a way that prevents gum disease are different things. Swishing for 20 minutes with oil reduces plaque in the same way that swishing with water for 20 minutes reduces plaque, it dilutes the stickiness of plaque and its ability to stick on teeth.
If done daily, oil pulling could remove some tooth staining and reduce plaque and bacteria, but not enough to prevent gum disease. That’s where flossing, brushing, and tongue scraping come in.
2. Oil pulling isn’t kid-friendly.
If oil goes down the wrong tube, it can cause lipoid pneumonia, an awfully silly risk to take for something that does not have much upside for a child’s dental health. The best thing parents can do for their children’s dental health is focus on raising great brushers and flossers using only positive reinforcement.
3. Oil pulling is not a cure-all.
There is no scientific evidence to support the claims that oil pulling helps with diabetes, migraines, arthritis, eczema, migraines, or asthma. If you’re going to spend 20 to 30 minutes doing something for your health, perfect your brushing and flossing technique. Many of us don’t stop to think about our technique, but I see the damaging effects of over-brushing all too often.
4. Oil pulling does not whiten teeth.
Oil pulling for 20-30 minutes every day could help remove some teeth staining, but so does swishing with water for just as long.
It is recommended that you visit your dentist for professional cleaning and check-up. So contact Corne Smith Dentistry in Cape Town, Claremont today!