The professional blog of Doctors Dan Bruce, Steve Bruce, Rosa Pothier and Rob Ririe
Oil pulling has been making headlines all over the internet recently. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique which involves swishing oil around in the mouth for up to 20 minutes. It has had a resurgence in popularity in recent months, and the purported benefits include whiter teeth and improved oral and overall health. Any vegetable oil can be used, but many people prefer coconut oil for its antimicrobial effects. While coconut oil does have many proven health benefits, is oil pulling as beneficial to oral health as its proponents claim?
Based on the current lack of scientific evidence, the American Dental Association (ADA) does not recommend oil pulling as a supplemental oral hygiene practice. The ADA stated that traditional oral hygiene practices including brushing twice a day and using an interdental cleaning device once a day continue to be the best ways to prevent cavities and keep gums healthy.
While there are some studies showing oral health benefits to oil pulling, the ADA points out that the existing studies have a number of problems that make them unreliable including small sample sizes and no blinding. Additionally, there are some potential adverse side effects to be aware of.
While more high quality studies showing the benefits of oil pulling may come out in the future, for the time being, the scientific evidence does not support the media hype.