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Oil Pulling

Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Apr 8th, 2014


Oil pulling is the latest fad to make the rounds on social media, mostly thanks to Gwenyth Paltrow mentioning it in a recent interview.

So I spoke with Naturopathic Doctor Beverly Huang from Grassroots Naturopathic Medicine about this trend. She says oil pulling is an ancient practice dating back two thousand years or so as a form or oral hygiene. But these days, there are claims oil pulling can also whiten your teeth, improve your complexion, pull toxins out of your body and even help with migraines and asthma.

Dr. Huang says most people use coconut oil to swish around their mouth. The general practice is to swish a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for twenty minutes every day. Dr. Huang says coconut oil contains lauric acid which has antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties. She says this is why it may be useful for oral hygiene. In fact, Dr. Huang says one Toronto dentist did an informal trial in her practice with several patients who used did oil pulling for 6 weeks. Those patients all had whiter teeth and a reduction in bacteria in their mouth that would have caused cavities.

Dr. Huang admits this research is promising and the positive results are likely due to the lauric acid in the coconut oil. But Dr. Huang is not going to be recommending oil pulling to her patients. She says she simply doesn’t have enough research and evidence to do so. She says there may be oral hygiene benefits but certainly isn’t sold on any of the other health claims.

However, Dr. Huang says oil pulling isn’t going to hurt you, so if you want to give it a try go ahead. If so, she recommends using organic, cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil. This oil will have the highest amount of the lauric acid. She also says do not spit the oil out down the sink. The coconut oil with harden again once it cools off outside of your mouth and could  wreak havoc with your plumbing!



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