Oil pulling is a very, um, unusual folk remedy for just about everything. It involves swishing some oil around in your mouth for 10-15 minutes to detoxify your body. While not usually dangerous, it has not been proven to even come close to doing everything it is said to do. (Also, oil pulling for long periods of time (10-20 minutes) may lead to accidental inhalation of some of the oil, which can lead to lipoid pneumonia.)
However, a study done in 2008 (a single study of 20 participants) showed that it does produce a statistically significant decrease in the amount of S. mutans bacteria, a major cause of tooth decay, in the mouth. It doesn't have as much of an effect as mouthwash does, though.
If you really want to wash your mouth out to get rid of dangerous bacteria, just use some mouthwash. It tastes much better. Swilling a shot of vodka around your mouth and then swallowing also works, and is much more rock'n'roll.
- No, seriously — "Pull the oil through the teeth often and this oil will pull all the toxins from your body through saliva"!
- Yes, even cancer
- This involves using vegetable oils, not gasoline, diesel or motor oil. Mobil One is right out!
- Recurrent lipoid pneumonia associated with oil pulling.
- Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu MS, Rathna PV, Emmadi P, Raghuraman, Chamundeswari. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: A randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2008;26:12-7