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Oil pulling: Experts weigh in on the oil pulling beauty trend

Coconut oil is generally used in the current beauty trend of oil pulling.
Coconut oil is generally used in the current beauty trend of oil pulling.
Wikimedia Aravind Sivaraj

Oil pulling has emerged as a popular beauty trend taken from an old Indian folk remedy. What is oil pulling and what do the experts have to say about this teeth whitening, mouth freshening technique? Read on to learn more about the current beauty fad that has gone viral.

Health and beauty experts agree to begin each day with a regimen that is not only good for the body internally, but also has external benefits. Celebrities have made it commonplace to promote their daily rituals and just when you've settled into your favorite routine, a new beauty trend has consumers racing to health food stores. Oil pulling is one such beauty trend on the rise.

A little over two months ago an email arrived from the PR team for Sugar Fix Dental Loft in Chicago and its owner Dr. Jessica Emery, DMD with information about oil pulling. It was placed to the side for just the right moment, which was this week when Lauren Conrad published an oil pulling post, “Healthy Habits: What is Oil Pulling?”

According to Dr. Emery and Conrad’s expert, Shira Lenchewski, RD, oil pulling is an ancient Indian technique used to cleanse the teeth and mouth as well as provide bodily detoxification. There is mixed research, but both experts stated oil pulling has been known to whiten and strengthen teeth, fill cavities, relieve toothaches, ease hangovers, freshen breath, cure the common cold, absorb harmful oral bacteria, prevent plaque and gingivitis and reduce headaches. It has been said that if the oil turns yellow after a treatment, then a good amount of toxins have been removed from the body.

“From the dentist’s perspective, tooth decay is caused by bacteria,” says Dr. Emery, “and studies suggest that coconut oil cause the enzymes in your saliva to break down and inhibit the growth of certain bacteria.” Although Dr. Emery hasn’t tried oil pulling, her patients have, and “swear by it,” with some stating toothaches have not totally disappeared, but lessened.

Lauren Conrad tried oil pulling for two weeks. As soon as you wake in the morning, drink eight ounces of water prior to teeth brushing. Add one teaspoon of coconut oil, or some have used sesame oil, to your mouth and “swish for five to 20 minutes.” Make a concerted effort to cover the full inside of the mouth, but do not swallow. Spit the oil into the garbage, not the sink, or it could clog your drain. Follow with salt water to rinse and then brush and floss as usual.

Lauren Conrad’s oil pulling resulted in whiter teeth and fresher breath, with less breakouts around the mouth area. There isn’t valid scientific evidence if oil pulling is successful, but it couldn’t hurt to try. Unlike Lauren Conrad, the Spa Examiner has yet to sample oil pulling, however will soon embark on a test of coconut oil swishing soon to bring readers a firsthand account.

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