Oil-Pulling: Fact Or Fad?

Posted at: 06/10/2014 9:28 AM
By: Lauren Evans, WILX

Photo: WILX

(WILX) -- The answer to a brighter smile might be in the baking aisle at the grocery store.

It's a new trend called "oil pulling."

Candace Ebbinghaus has been "oil pulling" with coconut oil for 15 minutes a day for a month, and says the benefits have been obvious.  They include cleaner teeth and fresh breath.

"I've had some good benefits from it," she says.

The concept is pretty simple. You take your oil, scoop out a tablespoon, and start swishing.

"It's kind of gross but you just chew it and then it melts," Ebbinghaus says.  "It's supposed to pull the toxins out of your body."

Oil pulling is a relatively new fad, but the practice actually dates back to ancient Indian culture.

The theory is the oil, be it coconut, sunflower or sesame, picks up bacteria from your mouth as you're swishing.  When you spit out the oil, you get rid of the toxins and whiten your teeth.

Still, not everyone is convinced.

"There's no proof that says that it's going to work. It's just by testimonial," says dentist Dr. Christine Tenaglia.  "Some people say, 'oh, it works great'. Well, I don't know.  But the jury's still out and I would say give it a try. The oil pulling is certainly not going to hurt you."

Oil pulling is not a substitute for regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups.  
If you try it, spit the oil into the garbage can, not the sink. Coconut oil will solidify and can clog your pipes.