Oral Health Trends: What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pullingHere at Altschuler Periodontic and Implant Center, we tell our patients that maintaining a healthy smile simply boils down to creating good habits. Remembering to brush and floss daily along with visiting your dentist regularly should keep your pearly whites beautiful and healthy, While these are the fundamental habits for great oral health, there are plenty of other things you can add in addition to these to keep your smile healthy.

One obvious way to create great oral health is addressing any current problems with your smile. For example, treating missing gaps in your smile with restorative treatments like dental implants is absolutely crucial for preserving the rest of your remaining teeth. With the popularity of DIY or “do-it-yourself” treatments, we’ve had many of our patients ask about popular at-home treatments patients can try to do themselves. One of the most popular out there right now is oil pulling. This DIY treatment is said to have a range of perks, which includes both oral health and overall wellness benefits. To explain more on this topic, Dr. Gary Altschuler gives his readers here in Gainesville, FL a brief overview of this growing oral health trend.

Oil Pulling Basics and History

So, what is oil pulling and where did it come from? Oil pulling involves using a vegetable-based oil to swish in your mouth for around twenty minutes. Some oils that are commonly used include coconut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil or olive oil. You take a small amount of this oil, swish it around your mouth, and let it do its magic.

Although this trend has only recently become popular thanks to different articles on Pinterest, oil pulling has been around long before the internet. This popular routine dates all the way back to ancient India. The ancient Ayurveda texts describe the healing powers of oil pulling for your oral health and overall wellness. This holistic system of medicine, known as Ayurveda, dates back 3,000 to 5,00 years.

The two traditional practices of oil pulling are known as Gandusha and Kavala Graha. Both of these practices claim to have the same benefits but just differ slightly. Gandusha involves filling the mouth completely with oil and holding the oil for three to five minutes. Kavala Graha involves using a comfortable amount of oil and holding it for three minutes until you gargle and spit out. The benefits associated with oil pulling are wide reaching. Some of the benefits claimed include tooth decay prevention, stronger teeth, reduced symptoms of TMJ, whiter teeth, better breath, headache alleviation, improved skin, improved sinus issues, and more.

The Effectiveness of Oil Pulling

Although there have been many positive claims from oil pulling, there’s very little evidence looking into the validity of this practice. With this in mind, we can’t say that oil pulling is truly as effective as some people claim it is. What we do know if that it won’t actually harm our oral health or overall wellness and there have been some studies that show a slight benefit to oil pulling.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that oil pulling can be just as effective as chlorhexidine treatment for reducing bad breath and microbes causing it. However, there is no other evidence showing that oil pulling can actually benefit your health as many avid oil pullers have said. Most dentist will agree that oil pulling is similar to using a mouthwash and can be a great additional step, but is, by no means, a replacement to regular brushing and flossing.

Due to the lack of scientific research, the American Dental Association says it cannot recommend oil pulling as a supplementary practice or replacement.

Contact Altschuler Periodontic and Implant Center

There is a time and a place for certain do-it-yourself treatments, but in general, we believe it’s best to leave this work to your dentist. This is especially important to remember if you’re dealing with more serious oral health problems such as tooth loss. If you’re currently dealing with the consequences of missing teeth, we recommend looking into restorative treatment as soon as possible. Here at our office, we’ve seen countless patients enjoy a beautiful, complete smile with the help of dental implant treatment. To get started on your dental implant process, contact our office today to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Altschuler.