Oil Pulling

Recently, there has been a media focus on the practice of oil pulling. It’s supposed to improve your oral health and offers an additional use for coconut oil, that ever popular health food. But what exactly is it?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique. The idea behind it is that the fat contained within the oil atttracts the micro-organisms which lives in the mouth. The belief is that when you then spit out the oil, you get rid of these organisms.

So how does it work?

  • Some opt to use sunflower or olive oil. Coconut is the most popular as it has antibacterial properties and contains Vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant and has anti-fungal properties
  • A tablespoon of oil is swilled around the mouth for around twenty minutes and then spat out. Often the mouth is then rinsed with salt water. It is done on an empty stomach

Worth trying? There really hasn’t been any research to reach a conclusion on whether or not it is helpful. It’s unlikely to hurt – but a patch test should be done beforehand as there is the risk of an allergic skin reaction.

What is essential is that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine and that oil pulling is not used instead of brushing! You should also keep visiting your dentist regularly. Substituting this with an alternative method like oil pulling puts you at risk of dental problems.