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  • Writer's pictureGeorgetown Smile

What is Oil Pulling?


Oil pulling has gained popularity on TikTok as of lately. However, oil pulling dates back to a time before tooth brushing. Oil pulling was believed to lessen plaque on the teeth, tongue, and gums. However, there are many more known benefits of oil pulling. One of the first benefits its for fighting harmful bacteria. While some dentists claim it could remove bacteria from the mouth, it does not necessarily mean that it kills bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay and other oral health problems. Furthermore, it helps prevent plaque and tooth decay. The claim that it helps prevent tooth decay has only been done in a handful of studies. In these studies though it was found that if you use sesame oil it could have many oral health benefits.


One of the interesting benefits of oil pulling is that it has been found to help with bad breath. It has been recommended to swish around sesame oil which has been found to work as well as chlorhexidine. Along with fighting bad breath, oil pulling can also promote gum health. Some researchers and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners attribute these benefits to the anti-inflammatory effects of the oils used. According to Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling promotes overall health by getting rid of toxins from the body. Since oil pulling can fight inflammation, it can aid one’s health overall. Inflammation is connected to majority of health conditions such as arthritis and heart disease. Researchers have seen a link between oral health and overall health.


Although oil pulling has been shown to be mostly safe, there can be some benign side effects here and there. For instance, if one were to swallow the oil it could cause GI upset and diarrhea. It’s also important not to swallow the oil since it consists of many toxins and bacteria. It’s the best course of action to spit out the oil after swishing it around your mouth.


Across Ayurvedic medicine it has been found that oil pulling has the potential to improve your dental and overall health. While the scientific evidence for oil pulling has been limited, your dentist will probably give you the thumbs up in trying it out as long as your practicing the other oral health essentials such as brushing, flossing, and regular dental health checkups.

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