Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

What is oil pulling?

A friend posted a link to an article about oil pulling a few days ago. I’ve never heard of the practice and, like most things I read online, I was skeptical. So I did some digging.

The practice involves swishing a cold-pressed oil, such as olive, sesame or coconut, in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. It is touted as an ancient Indian practice of oral health that can whiten teeth, freshen breath and rid the oral cavity of germs and bacteria. The link my friend posted included claims that oil pulling rids the body of toxins and has cured people of psoriasis and other ailments.

There have been some studies on the practice, but they focused on the oral benefits. See here, here and here for some examples. The Coconut Research Center makes claims of additional health benefits for using coconut oil in the diet, but I didn’t see any research supporting the additional claims of oil pulling.

I’m late to the game as Snopes just posted an article on this yesterday. And a HuffPo author wrote about it as a beauty tip in October.

So, it looks like you might get a pretty, healthy smile after an extended, daily use of oil pulling, but there doesn’t seem to be any strong evidence for the other medical claims. You’re just gargling with oil for a few minutes everyday, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to try. You could always ask your doctor or dentist for more info to see if they’ve heard of the practice and what their thoughts are about the practice.

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