Oil pulling or swishing is an alternative practice in dental hygiene and has been used in the Indian subcontinent for over 5,000 years. It reportedly improves oral and systemic diseases such as headaches, diabetes, asthma, gum disease, and can even help improve the color of teeth.
There have been various studies performed to measure the effects of oil pulling. The results have been varied and reveal some interesting facts about the practice. A couple of studies have shown that oil pulling provides the same effectiveness as chlorhexidine against bad breath (halitosis) and organisms caused by bad breath.
In other studies, they show that oil pulling does not extract toxins out of the blood. This is because the oral mucosa does not allow toxins to pass through. Research has revealed some risks with the practice as well, including observed cases of recurrent lipoid pneumonia. This is a chemical lung disease caused by inhaling small amounts of oil.
What we can conclude about oil pulling is that it contributes to the treatment of bad breath and gum disease, but does not have the safety and effective of a prescription mouth rinse provided by your dentist. It can take over 20 minutes to complete correctly, which can be inconvenient for your daily schedule and routine.
Maintaining proper oral health can be achieved with consistent cleanings, brushing, and flossing. The most important thing is to schedule dental visits as well. Oil pulling is unnecessary if you want to keep that bright, healthy, and cosmetically vibrant smile.