The effects of oil pulling, an ancient folk medicine practice, on oral health: A review

A systematic review on the health benefits of oil pulling adds more evidence to the growing pool of research that the ancient Ayurvedic practice is a safe and effective alternative for good oral hygiene. Nutritionists and medical professionals are noting that complementary and traditional practices work just as well – if not, a little bit better – than modern medicines while offering no side effects associated with synthetic and/or chemical treatments.

  • Oil pulling is a traditional folk remedy practiced by Indian healers.
  • It involves swishing oil (normally coconut or extra virgin olive oil) around the mouth for 20 minutes.
  • The oil “pulls” harmful bacteria from the teeth and gums.
  • Because it uses only natural ingredients, oil pulling does not harm teeth.
  • Individuals who practice oil pulling regularly and as directed are less likely to suffer from diseases related to poor oral hygiene.
  • Hypothesized benefits of oil pulling include: a decrease in oral microbial count, a reduced risk of gingivitis and halitosis, a decreased likelihood of plaque, the strengthening of the oral cavity muscles and jaws, and the whitening of teeth.
  • Scientists have stated that good oral hygiene is related to overall well-being.

The review concludes that the ancient practice should be considered by all those who want to improve their oral health while steering clear of harmful chemicals.

Find the full text of the study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Shanbhag, VKL. OIL PULLING FOR MAINTAINING ORAL HYGIENE – A REVIEW. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2017; 7(1). DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.004

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