Magic Bullet

Noun
1.

something that cures or remedies without causing harmful side effects:
So far there is no magic bullet for economic woes.

Oil Pulling – What is it?

Being in the dental world, we need to be on top of all the latest practices and trends in the world. The internet is such an extensive resource of readily available information that some things tend to go unnoticed until they suddenly blow up. This is what seemed to happen with oil pulling earlier this year.

Oil pulling is a newer trend that is touted as a magic bullet remedy.  The idea was first brought to mainstream attention in 1992 by a Ukrainian oncologist but was a home remedy in India for a very long time before that. The idea is that by swishing a teaspoon of sunflower or sesame oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes a morning you’re able to freshen teeth and cure a long list of ailments including, but not limited to:

  • Bad breath
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Restless leg syndrome

and the more extreme claims of:

  • Heart disease
  • Chronic headaches / Migraines
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

How Does it Work?

The idea behind oil pulling (although I’m pretty sure it should just be called oil swishing) is that the fats in the oil adhere to the bacteria and toxins via the mucous membranes in your mouth. Dr. Bruce Fife, a nutritionist, has likened it to oil in a car. He says your car’s oil will collect dirt and debris before they have a chance to clog up the engine, and when the oil gets too dirty, we clean it. Oil pulling acts like your bodies lubrication mechanism.

Does it Work?

This is where things start to get tricky. There seems to be just as many pro-pullers as there are anti-pullers out there. To make this more confusing, there aren’t any credible supporting sources, which means there are no credible sources debunking this practice either. The anti-pullers do make one very good point though in that the veins that run under the tongue and in the mouth do not carry enough blood to support the idea this being a real “body cleansing” method. There is also the inescapable relationship between oil and water. Most toxins in the blood are argued to be soluble, meaning they wouldn’t adhere to the oil in the first place.

What it can do for your mouth is move around and dislodge food particles in the mouth and give it a cleaning. It should not be used in place of brushing as some would lead you to believe, as toothpaste provides more benefits than a simple cleaning (which can read more about here). There is no evidence currently suggesting this practice will have any long term effects on your body or your mouth. While I can’t say, it’s an entirely useless practice I can ask you this. Would you rather swish oil for 20 minutes in the morning and then brush, or just brush your teeth?

Sorry that there is no definitive answer for this, but there is one thing I can tell you for sure. Do not let this replace your daily oral hygienic routine, and do not skip visits to the dentist because of this! If this becomes your only method of mouth care it will come back to bite you!

Wrap Up

Okay so we were a little late to the party on this one, and we don’t normally cover these “home remedy” type treatments, but if you enjoyed it, please let us know! We love to hear feedback from our readers so we can know what you guys are interested in right now.