Oil Pulling: Healthy Or Hogwash?

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(Memphis) Could a mouthwash straight from you kitchen make you look and feel better?

Oil pulling is an age-old practice that is one of the hottest health trends right now.

There are "how to" videos all over the internet, and celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon touting its benefits.

Oil pulling is a type of oral cleansing that involves swishing oil around your mouth like you would mouthwash for about five to twenty minutes.

It's supposed to kill all the bacteria in your mouth and pull toxins from you body.

Those who swear by it say oil pulling makes your teeth stronger and whiter and your gums healthier, and can even cure things like morning sickness, acne, digestion problems, and diabetes.

Dr. Bradley Frezza, a naturopathic doctor, says there are a lot of false claims out there about what oil pulling can do, but does say it can lead to better oral health.

"It's helping to break down the toxins and bacteria that may be in the plaque and adhere to teeth. It can also help with whitening the teeth. It can help strengthens the gums and of course there are nutrients in the oils, so that feeds the tissues as well," Dr. Frezza said.

But don't throw out your toothbrush just yet.

Dentist say while the oils may be soothing on your teeth, they can't prevent cavities or gum disease.

"There 23 types of bacteria in your mouth. Some cause cavities, some cause gum disease, and some cause both. You are not going to remove them by swishing anything other than medication that you’ve been prescribed," said Dr. Kelly Dumas.

There is little research to back up the oil pulling claims, but Dumas says there is nothing harmful about it.

You can use any type of oil, but most suggest coconut, sesame, or sunflower oils.


  • Mariechen McGruder

    Laugh if you will, I have been doing it now for a couple of weeks. My teeth look and feel great. My gums are not near as tender. NO! it doesn’t take the place of brushing and a good website will tell you that. It took me a couple of times to build up to 20 minutes, but it has now become part of my morning routine. I use a non-refined coconut oil available in the vitamin aisle of any store/drugstore.

  • Mel

    A dental hygienist gave me heavy grief over heavy tooth plaque and gingivitis. I started oil pulling and received definitive results. I went back to the dentist a few months later and the gingivitis and plaque were gone.

  • janetmickley

    I will try it once there is actual scientific data to support the claims. Until than, it’s just a fad!

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