What is oil pulling and should you do it?
People are rinsing their mouths with oil for ‘health reasons.’ Why would they?
So-called ‘oil pulling’ is making a comeback. According to ancient holistic Ayurveda practice, swishing around an oil such as olive or coconut and then spitting it out is purported to cure some 30 ailments, from headaches to hypertension to diabetes. One claim is that it can improve oral health by controlling plaque. We asked Dr. Euan Swan, manager of dental programs at the Canadian Dental Association, for his take. ‘It’s believed the oil does help loosen debris in the mouth and facilitate cleaning,’ he told Best Health. Proponents recommend you keep the oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, but, says Swan, that’s a lot longer than the time you need to brush and floss. ‘We haven’t been able to identify tangible oral health benefits from oil pulling. There are a few published studies that support it, but their evidence is weak.’ And while it isn’t harmful, says Dr. Swan, ‘I think the agreement among dentists is that while it’s an interesting historical practice, we’ve moved on in our understanding of how best to clean the mouth.’