Are the Benefits of Oil Pulling Just a Myth?

March 17, 2015

The following is guest post by Danielle Zeigler.  I have never tried Oil Pulling, so I can not recommend the effectiveness.

If you’re interested in health, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “oil pulling.” When I saw it featured on ABC and E! News, I knew it had tipped over into mainstream media. But is it just another fad, or are the real benefits to this ancient practice? Let’s find out!

What is oil pulling?

“Oil pulling, or the practice of swishing oil around your mouth every day, has roots in Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic system of medicine that developed 3,000 to 5,000 years ago,” says the Huffington Post.

The idea is to swish oil around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes to kill bacteria. It is said to “pull” bacteria out of crevices and into the oil.

Oil Pulling is said to:

  • Kill bacteria + bad breath
  • Strengthen teeth + gums
  • Prevent mouth-related diseases such as gingivitis and cavities
  • Prevent dryness in mouth, lips + throat
  • Clear sinuses
  • Whiten teeth
  • Aid in curing heart disease and chronic illnesses

Other potential benefits of oil pulling for overall health

As mentioned on the popular holistic health website,

  • Migraine headache relief
  • Correcting hormone imbalances
  • Reducing inflammation of arthritis
  • May help with gastro-enteritis
  • Aids in the reduction of eczema
  • May reduce symptoms of bronchitis
  • Helps support normal kidney function
  • May help reduce sinus congestion
  • Some people report improved vision
  • Helps reduce insomnia
  • Reduced hangover after alcohol consumption
  • Aids in reducing pain
  • Reduces the symptoms of allergies
  • Helps detoxify the body of harmful metals and organisms

Science-backed truth

A Huffington Post article states, “According to the handful of published clinical trials out there, oil pulling is an effective way to kill some forms of mouth bacteria, including bacteria associated with bad breath and gingivitis. But what about all those claims that oil pulling can prevent heart disease or cancer? While there is an established link between oral health and chronic illness, oil pulling’s effects on other areas of the body beside the mouth have yet to be proven.” claims, “these studies showed an overall reduction of bacteria from 10 to 33.4% in participants, and after 40 days of oil-pulling, participants were found to show 20% in average reduction in oral bacteria. Moreover, half of all participants in this case study showed a drastic reduction in susceptibility to dental caries.”

My experience

I practice oil pulling regularly for a few weeks, but now I generally only do so when I have a cold. It works very well to clear my sinuses and helps prevent dry-mouth.

How to Oil Pull

  • Choose your oil. You can choose extra virgin cold pressed coconut, sunflower or olive oil. Many prefer coconut oil.
  • Use about 1-2 tbsp
  • Swish around in your mouth for 5-20 minutes until the liquid is white and cloudy (Ugh, I know. Typing that was painful enough). You might have to work your way up to 20 minutes until you get used to it. Don’t do it much longer than 20 minutes because you don’t want the bacteria to be re-absorbed by your mouth.
  • Don’t swallow! The oil will be full of bacteria.
  • Rinse your mouth with water, then brush your teeth to remove remaining bacteria.
  • Tip: I prefer to oil pull in the shower. The warmth helps to open your sinuses, the timing is right, and you’ll be distracted so you won’t focus as much on the taste.

Thank you Danielle!  You can find her blog here and her own post on oil pulling here.

Kaitlin Gardner

About the Author

Kaitlin Gardner

Kaitlin Gardner currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking , hand with her family and friend and enjoy nature.

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