In this blog post, I would like to highlight the extensive information that seems to be currently circulating in the news and my office about the new/old Ayurvedic practice called “Oil Pulling”.
Oil pulling is reported to be a remedy for not only improving oral health but overall health and detoxification. It involves the use of pure, organic oils as agents for pulling harmful bacteria, fungus and other organisms out of the mouth, teeth, gums and even throat.
The procedure involves placing a tablespoon of a cold pressed oil (more on this later) into the mouth and swishing this around and in between the teeth for 10-20 minutes and then spitting it out. The oil mixes with the saliva, turning it into a thin, white liquid and as it pulls the toxins from the teeth, gums and tongue, it then becomes thick, viscous and white.
Oil pulling appears to increase saponification (soap making) in the mouth, creating an environment that cleanses harmful bacteria as well as reducing fungal overgrowth. It has also been noted that the oils possibly help in cellular restructuring and are related to the proper functioning of the lymph nodes and other internal organs, hence the overall health benefits.
A 2007 study looking into the effect of oil pulling (with sunflower oil) on plaque and gingivitis resulted in a statistically significant reduction in gingivitis after 45 days. Another study conducted in 2008 found that sesame oil pulling reduced the total count of bacteria, and overall, a marked reduction in dental cavity susceptibility. When the antibacterial effects were then studied it appeared that the sesame oil had a profound effect on Streptococcus Mutans, the acid-producing germs said to be responsible for tooth decay.
In another study done at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, scientists found that coconut oil effectively inhibited a majority of strains but was particularly harmful to Candida Albicans; a yeast. Dr. Damien Brady who led the research said that, “With increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection”. It would appear that healthy oils may provide an attractive alternative to chemical additives.
Another added benefit that has been reported by patients who I have interviewed who practice this therapy is whiter teeth! So…while I won’t suggest giving up your brushing and flossing just yet, oil pulling may be something you might want to add to your daily routine.
If you are someone who has had success with this therapy I would love to hear what your results have been and if you feel that it has been worth your time and effort.
Initially I had planned on updating you all in this month’s blog about my research into mercury contamination of waste water from dental offices. However….Environment Canada has still not returned my calls after leaving a number of messages. I will call them again this week and hopefully I will soon be able to consolidate information and have some answers for next month!
I welcome your feedback. Please leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site.
Until next time,