Your Patient Asks you about Oil Pulling. What?

Posted by Kate Ranta on Apr 30, 2014 12:29:51 PM


Your patient is sitting in the chair and asks you about oil pulling. Huh? Yup, it's a "thing"...the latest wellness craze. It's an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique from India that claims to naturally whiten teeth, strengthen the gums and jaw, prevent gingivitis and cavities, rid the body of toxins, improve skin, clear sinuses, promote heart health and alleviate headaches and hangovers.

Oil pulling involves placing a tablespoon of coconut oil (or any vegetable-based oil) in the mouth and swishing it around for about 20 minutes.


What’s the Theory Behind it?

There haven’t been a lot of studies, and there’s no real scientific evidence behind it. But, theoretically, bacteria in the mouth that cause plaque are supposed to “stick” to the oil. So, harmful bacteria is removed each time you swish, improving oral and overall health.

Does it Work?

I tried it using coconut oil. It has a strange texture at first, starting as a lump but becoming more liquidy. It didn’t taste badly, with a slight hint of coconut. The difficult part was the swishing—I made it to 10 minutes and then had to spit it out.

So, I can’t speak personally yet to whether it works because I haven’t done it often or long enough. Other bloggers who tried it saw some benefits: cleaner, shinier teeth, fresher breath. Another said her teeth were whiter and brighter. As for all the claims listed above, I didn’t find any research showing that swishing coconut oil can make miracles happen for patients' health. But, I also didn’t find anything that said it’s harmful either.

If you have any patients who ask you about it, or if you know anything more about it than I could find online, please message us!


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