Is oil pulling safe?
Oil Pulling is an Ayurvedic method for cleaning the mouth that is said to have originated in India over 2,000 years ago. A mouthful of oil, usually sesame or coconut oil, is swished for 15-20 minutes before spitting out. In 2008 a Naturopathic doctor, and the President of the Coconut Research Center, wrote a book about pulling with coconut oil. This generated excitement about oil pulling in the United States and the technique remains popular today. Some reports claim oil pulling can improve mouth health, while others say it makes mouth conditions worse.
So, is oil pulling is safe, or not?
The American Dental Association does not endorse oil pulling and a review of the science shows that most studies compare oil pulling with an aggressive antiseptic mouthwash called Chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is a prescription-strength rinse with the power to eradicate both bad and good oral bacteria when used for more than a few days. In the past, we believed bacteria were universally harmful, but today we know that a wide diversity of bacteria is necessary for oral health and some of these oral bacteria also support cardiovascular circulation and healthy breathing. Over 1,000 kinds of oral bacteria have been identified in healthy mouths, and it appears oil pulling suppresses these bacteria – good and bad. There are no studies to show oil pulling will stop cavities and it cannot support the bacterial ecology necessary for sustainable oral health.
Oil pulling is not a long-term solution, any more than the use of antibiotics, or Chlorhexidine. There are reports of oil pulling causing gum recession and sensitivity, likely from damage to the mouth’s healthy bacteria. Some argue that oil pulling can be a powerful short-term therapy in certain situations, but it cannot be recommended for long-term use, or routine oral care.
Nurturing healthy oral bacteria is the center of oral wellness. One of the easiest ways to improve mouth health and nurture healthy bacteria is to enjoy one or two Zellie’s mints or a piece of Zellie’s gum after every meal, snack and drink during the day. The regular consumption of small amounts of xylitol helps to reduce plaque-forming bacteria in the mouth and promote healthy bacteria that will protect your teeth and gums from damage and disease. Regular use of 6 to 7 grams of xylitol daily is recommended for oral health. The xylitol in Zellie’s mints and gum also helps to protect your teeth from acidic damage and promote mineralization of tooth enamel. Zellie’s mints are suitable for adults of all ages and children from 24 months of age.