Patient Education
The Truth About Oil Pulling
Request AppointmentCall us

The Truth About Oil Pulling

Posted on:
December 8, 2018
Oral Hygiene
The Truth About Oil Pulling

Among the many health fads and rumors going around the web, oil pulling is one that we dentists get asked about a lot. The question is, does oil pulling really prevent tooth decay?

Oil pulling is an ancient dental care technique that originated in India about 3,000 years ago. It involves swishing oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes then spitting it out. The rumor is that the oil pulls toxins out of the tissues of your mouth and whitens at the same time. Some people have claimed that it not only prevents but can also reverse tooth decay. Many advocates also mention secondary benefits for your overall health, including improvements to conditions such as diabetes and psoriasis.

In fact, several studies conducted on groups of young adults in India showed that oil pulling did reduce the number of tooth decay-causing bacteria present in plaque. However, some dentists and health professionals have suggested that swishing water in your mouth for 20 minutes would have a similar effect. In other words, there's nothing special about using oil, in particular, it's the rinsing action that helps reduce bacteria.

Many dental professionals agree that oil pulling could be a viable alternative to traditional mouthwashes and rinses, but not your normal dental care routine of brushing and flossing. In fact, in studies of the effectiveness of oil pulling on reducing harmful oral bacteria, the control groups were using traditional mouthwash. That means these studies only looked at how oil pulling works compared to regular mouthwash, not to compared to doing away with brushing and flossing.

Some oil pulling advocates claim that it can replace brushing and flossing completely, but dentists do not advise this. From a practical standpoint, the oil can't clean between your teeth thoroughly like flossing or using a Waterpik. And while it can help prevent the buildup of plaque, it can't remove it. Plaque can only be removed mechanically, with the abrasives in toothpaste paired with the motion of a toothbrush or a dental hygienist's tools.

As to the claims that oil pulling can help a wide variety of non-dental health problems, such as asthma, migraines or skin disorders, this may be true, but not directly because of the oil pulling itself. Paying extra good attention to your oral health is bound to impact your general health; the two are closely connected. For example, gum disease has been linked to low birthweight in babies and heart disease and stroke. Tooth loss due to tooth decay often contributes to poor nutrition, which comes with a whole host of health consequences.

Those interested in oil pulling should know that it is only advisable for someone in good oral health. If you have gum disease or are at risk for it, oil pulling could make things worse. If you have questions about oil pulling or any other homeopathic oral care, please talk with us so we can advise you on whether these techniques are a good idea for your oral health situation.

About Author

Dr. Sonal Deshpande
Dr. Sonal Deshpande, DDS

Dr. Sonal Deshpande is a gentle, caring dentist who uses the most advanced materials and procedures available. She practices comfortable, caring dentistry focused on establishing optimal oral health, with a strong emphasis on getting to know each patient. In addition to her technical proficiency, Dr. Sonal Deshpande is a careful listener and will explain beforehand which treatment is best for your individual needs.

Read more

You might like

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?
August 28, 2018
How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

We've all heard that the pen is mightier than the sword. You might also say that the toothbrush is mightier than the drill! That's because if you wield your toothbrush properly, it's a very powerful weapon against tooth decay & gum disease. But like any tool, if you want it to work best, you need to take care of it.

Read More
A Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Good Brushing Habits to Your Kids
March 28, 2018
A Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Good Brushing Habits to Your Kids

Brushing your teeth is very important for your oral & overall health, but to kids, it’s just a chore. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips for teaching your kids how to brush their teeth effectively & solidify good dental care habits for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

Read More
Yes, Flossing Really Is That Important & Here's Why
July 19, 2017
Yes, Flossing Really Is That Important & Here's Why

As dental professionals we often feel like a broken record (or a scratched CD, depending on your generation) telling patients that they need to floss more. We don't mean to be nags, we just want you to have the healthiest, happiest smile possible!

Read More
Brilliant smiles MapBrilliant Smiles Map

Contact us

If you are looking for dentists in North Plainfield, NJ, look no further than Brilliant Smiles of North Plainfield for all of your dentistry needs. Whether you want a simple dental cleaning or you have a dental emergency, we are here to help. Contact us now.

Request AppointmentCall us

176 Cedar Street North Plainfield, NJ 07060

Get Directions
Office Hours

Monday       : 7:30 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday       : 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday : 7:30 am – 7:00 pm
Thursday     : 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Friday           : 7:30 am – 3:30 pm
Saturday      : 8:00 am – 1:00 pm