Home » Should you try oil pulling to boost your oral health? Dentists explain benefits and side effects

Should you try oil pulling to boost your oral health? Dentists explain benefits and side effects

by UNN Feed

Oil pulling, which involves swishing oil around in the mouth and spitting it out, is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that’s getting a lot of traction on social media. The technique is believed to help clean the mouth and promote dental hygiene.

On TikTok, there are hundreds of videos from people claiming the practice can do even more: whiten teeth, reverse tooth decay, fight gum disease, and treat a number of oral health conditions.

The practice has evolved from taking a spoonful of coconut or sesame oil to using pricey single-use oil pulling packets that come in a variety of fancy flavors.

How does oil pulling work and is there any validity to these claims about its benefits?

How does oil pulling work?

“Oil polling has been around for thousands of years as a way to better oral hygiene,” Dr. Matt Messina, clinic director of Ohio State Upper Arlington Dentistry, tells TODAY.com.

The traditional remedy is rooted in the Ayurvedic medicine system and has been practiced widely in India and Southern Asia.

“It’s a tradition that’s now being adopted because it’s trendy … I think it’s become popular over the last couple of years with the idea of, how do I find something ‘natural’ to make my mouth healthier,” Dr. Suhail Mohiuddin, Chicago-based dentist and founder of Dentologie, tells TODAY.com.

Oil pulling starts with taking a tablespoon of an edible oil and placing it in the mouth. Coconut oil is commonly used for oil pulling, Dr. Mark Wolff, dean of Penn Dental Medicine, tells TODAY.com. Sesame oil, olive oil, and sunflower oil may also be used — as long as the oil is edible, the experts note.

Next, the oil is vigorously swished around in the mouth similar to mouthwash, the experts note. “The idea is you sort of chew the oil around and ‘pull,’ by creating your own suction to tug it between the teeth and the gums,” says Messina.

After swishing the oil around for some time — oil pulling techniques vary but the practice can last anywhere from two to 20 minutes…

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