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Pulling teeth: Don't fight the oil pulling trend; embrace it

Everyone loves a great comeback story.
And you can add oil pulling to that list.
Oil pulling has been around for thousands of years but has recently surge in popularity for a multitude of reasons, namely its benefits as it relates to boosting your immune system and health of your teeth and gums.
So what exactly is oil pulling?
What sounds like something you'd want to stay away from actually is quite simple: swishing around sesame or coconut oil in your mouth. The purpose behind this practice is pulling unwanted toxins from your mouth specifically and body in general. Oil pulling also helps to eliminate tooth decay and gum disease, and making your mouth feel incredibly refreshed, like you just left the dentist's chair.

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Dr. Jessica Emery, DMD, is the owner of the Chicago based Sugar Fix Dental Loft is a proponent of oil pulling as a means to preserving your teeth in conjunction with your daily dental routines, as well as providing overall health to your entire body.
"Swishing the oil around your mouth attracts the bad bugs to help pull it off of surfaces. All of the bacteria from other places in the mouth come back to settle on the teeth," Emery suggests. "The mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, containing up to 600 billion. Bacteria from the mouth can get into the blood stream and affect the body. Coconut oil is strongly recommended because of its antibacterial properties. And it doesn't just kill bacteria but also viruses, yeast and fungi."
If you've tried oil pulling, you know that the results and how you feel can either be immediate or take some time. Emery says the gap between those two depends on how compromised your immune system is, but she also suggests that 20 minutes is about how long you should swish the oil around before spitting it out.
You certainly can't argue the benefits of oil pulling and how the simple practice has found new life after years of essentially being dormant.
So why exactly is oil pulling so popular again?
Dr. Emery chalks up that reasoning to social media and Pinterest as to why oil pulling is once again being lauded for its benefits. But she also is quick to not only praise oil pulling and its benefits but also reassure people that it shouldn't be in lieu of visits, brushing, flossing or the entire scope of your oral hygiene routine.
"Oil pulling can be a positive supplemental therapy to routine dental visits and brushing and flossing. It is important to stress it will not and can never replace visiting your dentist," Emery says. "Oil pulling will lessen the bacterial load in the mouth and therefore the body, so the immune system does not have to fight so hard to keep us functioning at the optimal level of health."
Emery adds that plenty of oral related ailments won't subside or disappear on their own or even with the help of oil pulling.
"Tooth decay is a silent disease, and this decay will not go away unless removed by a dentist. Same goes for heavy tarter and build up, that must be scaled and cleaned by a hygienist."
It's hard to imagine oil pulling ever taking the place of traditional brushing, flossing and rinsing, although trends tend to be considered gospel and thus consumers follow suit with eliminating the ordinary and instead follow suit with what's the latest, greatest and hottest offering.
But much like anything else, too much of a good thing isn't ideal and often, nor is oil pulling specifically been proven to work through any testing. Then again, the message boards and social media sites raving about the results of oil pulling also are hard to ignore.
"A therapy isn't any good unless it has proven results and the blogs and testimonials from people on this topic speak for themselves. There is no real scientific proof or medical research but a lot of evidence that oil pulling works," Emery says.
For now, oil pulling isn't ashamed to bask in its renewed spotlight, especially if its return to glory can actually benefit the masses when it comes to making their oral health and teeth a priority.

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