Oil pulling is known to cure thirty systemic diseases as mentioned in a study conducted by Singh and Purohit (2011) published in Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. According to Dr. AmalaGuha, the founding president of The International Society for Ayurveda and Health, oil pulling is not given its due credit. It is a very useful oral hygiene technique coming from one of the oldest health systems, Ayurveda. However, there are scientific concerns about its side effects, which are yet to be studied. The conflicting arguments about oil pulling raise a question in our minds; does oil pulling really work?
Guha recommends using coconut or sesame oil for routine oral care. Being slightly coarse and less harmful, the healing benefits of these oils are greater than others. This practice, however, needs consistent effort to achieve desired results in a couple of months, says Dr. Guha. The benefits such as plaque reduction, gum strength, and cavity prevention are for individuals having sound oral health. For those with plaque, Dr. Guha proposes teeth cleaning before oil pulling for speedy recovery. This shows that oil pulling alone cannot work for dental care. It augments brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and other contemporary dental care practices.
A study published in Indian Journal of Dental Research (IJDR) in 2009 found that oil pulling works to prevent plaque and bacterial growth, particularly that ofStreptococcus Mutans. This study was conducted on 20 adolescents suffering from plaque-induced gingivitis using sesame oil. Tooth decay is caused by the aforementioned bacterium to a great degree. Additionally, you can be a victim of gum disease in case of bacterial overgrowth in your mouth. Another study published in Journal of Orofacial Research in 2013 found that oil pulling significantly improved the condition of plaque and gingivitis using sesame oil.
Dr. Guha, however, acknowledges that coconut oil can also be used for it contains anti-microbial lauric acid, which is helpful to fight bacteria, viruses, and yeasts.
It might not work!
There are various researchers and professors wary of oil pulling’s benefits for oral health. Dr. Mark Wolff, chairing the New York University College of Dentistry, is skeptical about this technique based on his patients’ experiences and published clinical research. It is recognized that significant scientific research needs to be done on oil pulling to establish its effectiveness for both oral care and systemic benefits.
Oil pulling might not work if the technique is used improperly, warns Dr. Guha. Instead, it might induce negatives side effects such as exhaustion, excessive thirst, loss of taste, dry mouth, or muscular stiffness. She further recommends to consult a Ayurvedic practitioner before using Gandusa or Kavala. S/he might study your physiology and guide accordingly. Nevertheless, there are very few accredited Ayurveda schools worldwide that produce certified Ayurveda practitioners.
You can use oil pulling for getting the benefits of a regular mouthwash albeit naturally. You must floss anyway.