I actually had a sweet patient last week inform me she was “oil pulling”. I had no idea what she was talking about, so I asked her about it. She told me she was pouring a tablespoon of oil (olive, coconut, sesame, sunflower, grape seed) into her mouth and would swish with it for anywhere from five to twenty minutes daily. I asked her why. She told me that she was told the benefits of oil pulling included whitening her teeth, treating gum disease, improving her health, among other things.
When she told me all this, I was quite confused. I had never ever heard of this before. Then, today, I read about a headline in last week’s May 24, 2016, issue of Women’s Health magazine. Sure enough, the writer of the article was Allison Young, and she described this oil pulling in detail. After I had done some research, I found this oil pulling practice is an ancient traditional remedy that was done in India and southern Asia. However, there is no reliable scientific study that supports the claimed benefits of oil pulling.
Going back to the patient from last week, I kindly advised her I had never heard of oil pulling nor its benefits. I advised her to continue with those things that evidence-based dentistry has recommended for years. These include brushing at least twice daily for at least two minutes each time, and to floss daily as well. The ADA also recommends not using tobacco products, among other things.
I understand patients want to do the best they can. I also understand some patients are interested in “natural” and more “holisitic” remedies. However, while these options may seem healthier and more progressive, these options may not stand up to evidence-based, solidly-managed, and well-performed research. If you are interested in our posts concerning dental prevention, please follow this link.
I value your interest in our website, where every bit of it has been written and posted by me, the dentist-owner here at Venincasa Dental. I care that much for you. If you are interested in finding out more about my dental practice, please follow this link. If we can interest you in an appointment, I invite you to give us a call at (972) 250-2580.