The topic of oral oil pulling is starting to make its way into our American main stream health journals. In May, 2014 the RDH magazine, written mainly for practicing dental hygienists, had a short review of oral oil pulling by Nancy W. Burkhart, BSDH, EdD. She is an associate professor in the department of periodontics at Baylor College of Dentistry and Texas A & M Health Science Center, Dallas.
She wanted to provide the hygienist readers information on the subject since the reality of treating patients who use this practice is very possible.
Oil pulling or oil swishing has been commonly practiced within Ayurvedic medicine communities in India for centuries. Ayurvedic medicine evolved 3,000 to 5,ooo years ago and is one of the oldest whole body healing systems. Typically, quality oil is pulled throughout the mouth and teeth, contacting the oral tissues for approximately 10-20 minutes. The liquid is not swallowed but spit out. Then the teeth are brushed and flossed, following the swish, and some recommend a saltwater rinse as well.
In 2011, there are multiple studies showing up in the Journal of Dental Research on the effectiveness and mechanism of sesame oil pulling. It has been shown to be as effective as Chlorahexidine in controlling gingivitis and reducing streptococcus mutans (the bug that starts cavities). In addition to these benefits, sesame seed oil has strong antioxidant properties and potentiates vitamin E to protect the body against heart disease and strokes.
If you going to try the technique here are some of the important things to remember: Purchase a high quality, cold-pressed oil in dark glass containers, adults use 1-2 tablespoons and children, over 10 years old, use 1 teaspoon. The oil is swished between the teeth for 10-20 minutes and then spit out. Oil pulling should be followed by vigorously rinsing the mouth, throughly brushing and flossing the teeth and gums. Some authors recommend rinsing with warm salt water after spitting out the oil and before brushing. The oil pulling is done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
To check and see if it is working, come in any time to the office and we can perform a bug check with the microscope for no charge. I have done this check on numerous patients that use coconut oil and I still see lots of bugs. Maybe coconut oil does not work as well or the patients need to add the salt water step.
Its nice to see these natural methods of dental healthcare starting to show up and start a discussion of natural methods of reducing cavities and gum disease. Stay tuned as we find out more methods to help you maintain optimal health and vitality with a beautiful smile.
Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Lawrence