Saturday, July 30, 2016

Oil Pulling

          I first heard of the ‘magical cure all’ oil pulling when I was in high school. One of my best friends was all about natural beauty products and nail care. When I saw the method of oil pulling on my Pinterest feed, I had to get her thoughts on it. My lunch table and I spent a good deal of time talking about oil pulling discussing whether or not we thought it works. We ultimately decided that it was too good to be true. It turns out we were right.
         Oil pulling is a method of oral care that derived from India. A person will swish one to two teaspoons of coconut, sesame, sunflower, or olive oil in their mouth for 10 to 20 minutes. After, they will spit out the oil in the trash. Oil pulling is supposed to clean your body of toxins, prevent and even heal cavities, reduce bacteria in the mouth, and promote healthy gums. Oil pulling is also said to treat chronic pain, insomnia, allergies, thrombosis, diabetes, asthma, digestive issues, meningitis, low energy, heart disease, kidney disease, PMS, leukemia and AIDS.
         This cure all sounds great, after all oils are much cheaper than actual medicine and it’s all natural so it must be good. In reality, this is just pseudoscience. Oil pulling does reduce bacteria in the mouth, but it is only because of the mechanical action of swishing the liquid through your teeth. There is no other proof that oil pulling has any positive effect on the body. Oil pulling does not remove unwanted toxins from the body since the liver and kidney keep the body’s toxin levels normal. Oil pulling does not have as bad of a risk as other pseudoscientific healing methods do. However, oil pulling can result in a higher chance of a person getting lipoid pneumonia. This is because of the small amounts of oil a person is inhaling during the 10 to 20 minutes of oil pulling. A hygienist has also commented that those who oil pull as part of their oral care routine have harder to remove plaque then those who use regular oral hygiene routines. In conclusion, oil pulling does not have all these fantastic benefits. It is just another bogus treatment that does absolutely nothing.


  1. I'm really glad you posted this-- a while back I tried oil pulling in an attempt to whiten my teeth, but the consistency of the oil got thicker the longer it was in my mouth and by minute 3 I had to spit it out. About two weeks ago I ran into someone I know who has extremely white teeth and I was surprised when I asked her what she does and she replied "oil pulling." I was actually going to attempt to try it again but after reading this I'll pass.

  2. I enjoyed reading this post! I am always looking for home remedies to try out for beauty purposes. I will have to try this out some time to see if it works. I had no idea this was an actual thing though. However, I would not be surprised if coconut oil did do some of these things that it claims to do considering coconut oil has so many positive effects on various things.

  3. While this is a silly hoax, there was that grain of truth you noticed. Swishing a liquid around your mouth, especially after a meal, helps dislodge bits of food from your teeth which means fewer bacteria. Instead of this possibly harmful oil pulling, one could use water, sugar free gum, or even plain old mouthwash to do the same job. Maybe this is an elaborate scam to get people to buy more expensive oil products when a glass of water does a fine job for free.