First of all-what exactly is “oil-pulling”? The official definition according to Wikepedia is where oil is "swished" or "held" in the mouth. Practitioners of oil pulling claim it is capable of improving oral and systemic health, including a benefit in conditions such as headaches, migraines, diabetes mellitus, asthma, and acne, as well as whitening teeth. Its promoters claim it works by "pulling out" toxins, and thereby reducing inflammation. For obvious reasons, I am going to stick to the oral health aspect of oil pulling.
Oil pulling has its origins in India. Proponents of oil pulling claim that it has been practiced for thousands of years. However, many practitioners of Ayurveda (the traditional Hindu system of medicine) claim to have not found any solid evidence to that fact, the facts they have found are vague and do not describe the current practice of oil pulling. In the present day, it seems to lead back to a Dr. F. Karach. Apparently, Dr. F. Karach was a Ukrainian physician. Little is known about him. Dr. Karach claimed that oil pulling could cure a variety of illnesses ranging from heart disease and digestive troubles to hormonal disorders. It involves using oil (sesame or coconut are the preferred oils at this time) and vigorously rinsing with it for 20 minutes. When time is up, you spit it into the trash. Proponents claim that when you spit it out, it is milky colored, and that is the toxins that it has pulled from your body.
So, what are the benefits of it? Is it magic? The answer is this: In a nutshell-No. No magic is involved. The mouth is a gateway to your overall health. When we improve oral health, we improve so many other things in the body. People with bad oral hygiene have higher incidence for cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and strokes, and a higher incidence for pneumonia.
Even with diabetes, improved oral health can help control problems in diabetic patients. Also, pregnant women with gum disease have lower birth-weight babies. Everything is connected.
Oil pulling may seem like the new and improved thing to do. However, the mechanical act of swishing any fluid in the mouth will dislodge bits of food and clean the teeth. You would be giving your mouth the time and attention it deserves. And no, it can't heal cavities, but since rinsing and swishing reduces cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth, it could slow or halt ones that are already developing. However, you can achieve the same result with your old stand by-the toothbrush and floss. You just have to give it the time and attention it deserves. And as far as the toxins being removed-we have kidneys and a liver that does that. If you mix oil and water together, you get the same consistency as if you had swished. A simple chemical reaction-not toxins being removed from your system. Bottom line is this: Oil-pulling is not magic. If you put the effort into it, you may notice some changes. You will notice the same changes if you put the effort into brushing and flossing properly.
Have a wonderful March!