Oil Pulling Health Benefits

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Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic alternative therapy in which oil is “swished” around the mouth to improve oral health and is said to prevent over thirty systemic diseases traditionally.

Oil pulling is also supposed to increase the metabolism of the body, heal the cells, tissues and organs of the body and improve longevity in human beings. [1]

In addition, a strong relationship has been established between various oral and systemic diseases. In fact, the prevention and treatment of dental caries and periodontal disease have been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease significantly. [2]

There is now a small handful of studies documenting various dental hygiene and oral health benefits from practicing oil pulling, which we will share and discuss later in the article.

What Is The Oil Pulling Procedure ?

A tablespoon of oil is generally used and swished around the mouth in the early morning before breakfast on an empty stomach for anywhere between 5-20 minutes.

Make sure to avoid swallowing the oil as best possible during oil pulling as it contains bacteria and toxins.

Oil pulling can be practiced anywhere from one to three times daily on an empty stomach to fasten the healing effects.

Different Types Of Oil Used

Oil Pulling Different Types Of OilMany different types of oil are used for oil pulling from sesame oil to coconut oil.

Traditionally sesame oil is documented as being the preferred oil for practicing oil pulling.

Sunflower, coconut and olive oil are also popular choices of oils used for oil pulling.

Recent studies have used coconut oil and found that it may be an effective adjunct alternative therapy in decreasing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis. [3]

Personally, I like to use extra-virgin olive oil and have seen good benefits using this type of oil for oil pulling.

Oil Pulling Evidence-Based Health Benefits

Lets take a look at some of the evidence-based health benefits of oil pulling from the small body of scientific research that is growing.

A pilot study published 2015 assessed the effect of coconut oil pulling on plaque induced gingitvitis.

A statistically significant decrease in the plaque and gingival indices was noticed from day 7 and the scores continued to decrease during the period of study.

The pilot study concluded:

Oil pulling has been proven to be an effective method in reducing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis.

This preliminary study shows that coconut oil is an easily usable, safe and cost effective agent with minimal side effects which can be used as an adjuvant in oral hygiene maintenance. [2]

A review study published 2017 in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine reviewed and discussed the ancient practice of oil pulling.

The review concluded:

Oil pulling is observed to bring improvement in oral hygiene when practiced correctly and regularly. 

Limited available research on effect of oil pulling on oral hygiene shows promising benefits of oil pulling procedure on oral cavity. However oil pulling does not replace dental therapy and is currently not recommended by American dental association.

Extensive research on the role of this traditional, cheap and valuable remedy should be encouraged without bias.

Based on currently available research it can be concluded that oil pulling when performed as recommended, can be safely used as an adjunct to maintain good oral hygiene and health along with the routine tooth brushing and flossing with promising positive results. [1]

Dr. Greger On Oil Pulling & Lipoid Pneumonia

Dr Greger, Oil Pulling & Lipoid PneumoniaMany individuals have now asked me what my opinion is in regards to Dr Gregers video on oil pulling potentially inducing lipoid pneumonia.

Lipid pneumonia or lipoid pneumonia is a specific form of lung inflammation (pneumonia) that develops when lipids enter the bronchial tree.

From what I gather there has only been two case reports to date of oil pulling causing lipoid pneumonia. [5]  The case report also states that the individuals were administering the oil nasally for some reason, which isn’t the traditional recommendation for safe practices when oil pulling.

Oil pulling is a very popular alternative therapy especially in India, where it has been practiced for thousands of years according to Ayurvedic texts.

The fact that there is such few case reports on oil pulling causing lipoid pneumonia, despite thousands of people doing it daily should probably tell us that this is a relatively rare occurrence.

The small pool of studies to date on oil pulling generally conclude that the practice is safe, inexpensive and may hold potential oral health benefits.

References

[1] Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198813/

[2] Oil pulling and importance of traditional medicine in oral health maintenance.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29085271

[3] Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis — A preliminary report

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382606/

[4] Effect of oil pulling in promoting oro dental hygiene: A systematic review of randomized clinical trials.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27261981

[5] Exogenous lipoid pneumonia caused by repeated sesame oil pulling: a report of two cases

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19146506

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

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