You may have heard of oil pulling while searching for oral health tips on the internet. Our Pacifica dental practice has certainly heard about it.
While our Pacifica dental practice enjoys people focusing more on their oral care, what is the science behind this trend? Is oil pulling worth its tablespoon weight in… well, oil?
Oil pulling is not new.
Oil pulling is a branch of Ayurvedic medicine, which is an ancient holistic healing practice hailing from India. By ancient, we mean 5000 years old.
The practice is simple. A person takes a tablespoon of oil and swishes it around their mouth for 20 minutes. When they are done, they spit it out.
Purveyors of oil pulling claim the practice pulls plaque-causing bacteria from the oral cavity, whitens teeth and freshens the user’s breath. Some have even gone so far to claim it cures certain serious diseases.
Studies conflict on the benefits and effects of oil pulling.
The American Dental Association says yes. They claim due to lack of peer-reviewed studies and clinical tests on oil pulling, they do not recommend it as an oral care practice.
However, they cited a study published on US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health that concluded: “Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health.” The ADA criticized the study, along with other existing studies, due to reasons ranging from small sample sizes to lack of negative controls.
As doctors and healthcare providers, we align ourselves to dental care practices and procedures that consistently show to improve oral health and treat dental ailments.
This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, drinking water and eating a healthy diet low in acid-producing foods and beverages.
Most of these low acidic diets include consuming, not swishing, the oils used in oil pulling.
While swishing with coconut or sesame seed oil may provide an immediate moisturizing effect to the oral cavity, we are skeptical of it being an oral health panacea.
Finally, we encourage all people to see a dentist twice a year. Even if you are dutiful in your oral care regimen, it’s better to have the insurance of a medical professional looking out for you.
We also encourage people to continue research and curiosity in the dental field. If you want to be the one to show the ADA or the world at large that oil pulling does or does not work, do it.
In the meantime, if you need oral care from the best dentist in Pacifica, he’s ready to see you now.
We offer a variety of services including cosmetic dentistry and pediatric dentistry in Pacifica.
Contact us today and leave our office with a smile.