Oil pulling: People convinced swishing coconut, peanut and other oils in their mouth improves health

Forget whitening strips and special toothpaste or even professional whitening treatments.

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

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

People who do it, swear by it.

Candace Ebbinghaus is talking about oil pulling, something she's been doing with coconut oil for 15 minutes a day for a month.

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

There is a literal hard part.

Unless you melt the coconut oil ahead of time, it's a solid at room temperature.

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

Then you swish it around for 15 to 20 minutes and spit it out.

Could the answer to better dental health really lie in aisle four of the supermarket?

Oil pulling is a relatively new hot topic, but it dates back to ancient Indian culture.

The theory being the oil, coconut, sunflower, sesame, as you swish it around, gets bacteria to cling to it.

When you spit out the oil, you get rid of the toxins and whiten your teeth.

Board-certified physician Dr. Drew Pinsky cautions against believing anyone trying to sell you anything based on "toxins."

"There is no such - if there's a toxin, show me the chemical formula of that toxin, give me the chemical formula," Pinsky says on his "Dr. Drew Podcast". "The body is an extremely complex bio-chemical process and you can show the biology of everything that happens in the body - so - if there's something that happens negatively, let's look at the chemical formula, let's look at the pathway whereby it damages, and let's look at the pathway whereby it's removed from the body. And you'll get none of that."

We asked dentist Christine Tenaglia.

"I've been getting a lot of questions about this," says Tenaglia. "There's no proof that says that it's gonna work. It's just by testimonial."

"Some people say, oh it works great. Well, I don't know," says Tenaglia. "But the jury's still out and I would say give it a try. The oil pulling is certainly not going to hurt you."

For Ebbinghaus, the proof is in the pulling.

"The weekend that I started it, I did it on a Saturday morning and I did it on a Sunday - the next day - and I forgot to do it Monday. I just Tuesday, I was like, gosh, I didn't sleep as well last night. It was just really weird. So I did it again and I slept better," Ebbinghaus said.

Oil pulling is not a substitute for regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups.

If you try it, make sure to spit the oil into the garbage can and not the sink.

Coconut oil will solidify and can clog your pipes.

WPTV contributed to this story.


Comments