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by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

More conventional dentists and medical professionals are now understanding the merits of “oil pulling.” Not only are there numerous testimonies that have motivated many to urge others into the practice of oil pulling, there is empirical scientific evidence from clinical studies that show one’s health may benefit from oil pulling.

You’ll find information and demonstrations of oil pulling for oral and dental health mostly on internet websites and YouTube channels.

They’re part of the renaissance of an ancient health practice from India, swishing a dietary oil around one’s mouth and sucking it through the spaces between one’s teeth, thus the term “oil pulling.”

The most recent study was done in India in September (2017).

Study: Comparative Evaluation of Antiplaque Efficacy of Coconut Oil Pulling and a Placebo, Among Dental College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial

This study observed 40 dental students aged 18 to 22, divided into control and test subjects of 20 each.

The 40 participants were accepted on the criteria that they had at least 20 original natural teeth and a minimum plaque score of one with no dental visits during the previous three months.

Students who had dental conditions requiring immediate dental attention, had existing soft gum tissue, or used topical or systemic antibiotics during the three months prior were considered ineligible.

The reserarchers tested with coconut oil while using a mineral water placebo for the control group. The same colored bottles were used for each and labeled A or B.

All 40 volunteers were instructed to use the normal oil pulling procedure discussed earlier for 10 minutes with an amount of 10 to 15 milliliters (ml) without swallowing.

They were also told to not brush their teeth or use any other type of mouthwash. What was in each bottle was not disclosed to either group of randomly chosen individuals nor were the contents disclosed to the third party investigator examining their teeth after selected periods during the seven day trial period.

Individuals in each group were examined at baseline, the third day, and at the seventh day when the trial ended.

The researchers noticed a significant drop in plaque measurements among the members of the study group using coconut oil compared to the control group. They noted that there was some plaque reduction with the control group’s use of mineral water, though not nearly as much.

The study recommends using coconut oil for oil pulling over other oils, such as sesame and sunflower oils, or pharmaceutical mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine (which is common with most over the counter pharmaceutical mouthwashes).

The researchers compared their results to studies using other compounds. Although sesame oil in other studies was relativley close to their results, all the other mouthwash compounds took considerably longer to achieve the results they got from using coconut oil.

The researchers attributed coconut oil’s superiority over other oils and pharmaceutical mouthwashes at preventing plaque to the following factors observed in previous studies:

“… significant antimicrobial activity against S. mutans and C. albicans on comparision with other oils” … especially the “biofilm model formed by S. mutans, Candida albicans, and Lactobacillus casei.”  Another factor is “the emulsification and saponification process of oil and further the viscosity of the oil can inhibit bacterial adhesion and plaque coaggregation.”(Full study source)

Coconut Oil Pulling Testimonies

Here are a few coconut oil pulling testimonies from the Coconut Oil Facebook page:

  1. I’m oil pulling right now with coconut oil. My gums are healthier than they have ever been, my teeth are whiter and my breath is awesome. It even helped me quit smoking. I love it. – Allison
  2. I oil pull with coconut and I love it, my teeth feel like I have had a cleaning at the dentist, I also had a tooth that was bothering me a bit that no longer hurts. Love it! – Aimee
  3. Yes! Just had a dental checkup and the hygienist had difficulty finding any plaque. I use coconut oil and my teeth are white without all those harsh chemicals. – Darleen (Source)

Testimonies from the Coconut Oil Forum:

I have been enduring major dental problems in the last few years (i.e.; abscesses, cavities, gingivitis, and inflamed taste buds). I tried all the conventional/Western remedies (antibiotics, etc.)-NOTHING WORKED! My friend suggested oil pulling….I have to be honest, when I first heard about it, I thought, YEAH RIGHT! I was wrong, it works like a charm. Now I use it as a preventive by gargling with it once or twice a week. Most of my dental problems are under control, my daughter and Dad haven’t had it since I started them on it. – Lisa (Source)

 A 2015 Nigerian Study on Coconut Oil Pulling

A Nigerian coconut oil pulling study had similar results to the 2017 study featured here. It had more subjects, 60 rather than 40, and the trial period was 30 days instead of seven. They were examining the effects of coconut oil pulling on preventing gingivitis, although the researchers did point out that gingivitis is the result of inflammation from plaque.

Among other findings, the study determined that:

A statistically significant decrease in the plaque and gingival indices was noticed from day 7 and the scores continued to decrease during the period of study. (Source)

The full 2015 Nigerian study is available here.

Acceptance from Dentists in America for Oil Pulling is Growing

There is evidence that some modern Western dentists are accepting that not only does oil pulling improve dental health, it can improve overall health as well. Dr. Jonathan Levine is a dentist who endorses oil pulling. He said:

“What I really like about oil pulling is that people are now focused on their mouth because there’s this whole connection between oral health and overall health. If you are going to spend 20 minutes on oil pulling, you can spend the two minutes on brushing and also flossing. Your mouth is going to be healthy and we know that inflammation in the mouth is a precursor to inflammation in the body.” [emphasis added] (Source)

From Indianapolis dentist Dr. Ted Reese:

“Our patients are just very impressed with the results they’re seeing. I’m impressed with the results we’re seeing orally, in terms of hygiene and reduced bacteria and improved health in the gums.”

Dr. Reese practices oil pulling himself, and he also noticed improved overall health conditions in addition to reducing dental plaque adding, “Bacteria in the mouth gets into the blood stream through infectious gums.” (Source)

For more information on oil pulling see our articles here.