Oil Pulling Revisited: Where The Danger Lies

This week my social media feed exploded with one particular link to the trend of ” oil pulling.” While Mike Rothschild already did a great job of debunking some of the miracle claims on a Skeptoid blog last year, and Orac poked fun at it as early as 2007, I wanted to point out a few of the details both from the comment section of Mike’s post, as well as the pseudoscience claims in the link I saw this week which are both misleading and possibly dangerous.

If you don’t feel like following the links, here’s the basics of oil pulling: Put a teaspoon or so of coconut oil in your mouth (most sites of course say unrefined and organic because we don’t want any “chemicals” in our chemicals). Swish the oil around for 20 minutes. Spit out all of the “toxins” (I guess coconut oil is toxic?). Then rinse with salt water. Finally do your normal oral hygiene routine. Watch miracles happen – well at least by their claims.

Here’s what I pointed out – of course rinsing your mouth for an extended amount of time is going to improve your oral hygiene. The focus on taking care of your teeth, plus extended mechanical action will of course loosen plaque and bacteria from your teeth. Mechanical action is an important component for removing bacteria. This is why surgeons don’t just run soap over their hands or why we don’t just rinse but instead brush our teeth. Most study on soaps and alcohol-based rubs I looked at conclude that the addition of mechanical action increases the effectiveness of those products. Though just a hypothesis, it would be reasonable to conclude the same effect takes place in oil pulling.

The fad of oil pulling has even caught the attention of local news stations. Most reporters went to local dentists, and most had similar conclusions as I did. The practice itself is pretty safe and not likely to cause harm. It probably does have some effect because it both provides for removing of bacteria and other material from the mouth. It also makes people think about their oral health, so it has a side effect of improved oral health because there is less skipped teeth brushing sessions.

There isn’t any scientific studies proving any of the claims, even the ones with plausibility. The only “studies” are the ones reviewing the Ayurveda literature or small studies from India done under that premise – and they are not very good quality. Basically, this is a classic case of the argument from antiquity, where because someone did it in the past, it must be good. This is also how we know small rocks float.

So what’s the harm? Likely, not alot in the practice itself. Though, there are reports of lipid pneumonia being associated with oil pulling. While this isn’t solid evidence of harm, when a certain activity continues to be a source of a certain health issue, it means we should more closely monitor that activity. It will be interesting to see if more reports continue.

There is also harm in the claims and how they relate to inaction. When I point out the excessive claims made by oil pulling proponents, the question usually is “what’s the harm?” There is an entire website dedicated to showing examples of harm in things, including inaction, being harmful. The link on my feed this week is from a website called “Fashion Lush,” making many claims which I find disturbing.

Helps get rid of acne/ eczema/ psoriasis/ & other skin care issues.

While many of these issues are usually pretty harmless and common, it is important to check with your doctor if you suddenly develop these issues because it can be a sign of a more serious issue. Each of these issues have different causes, and there is no plausible mechanism proposed for how cleaning your teeth helps cure these issues. The harm here is thinking oil pulling will cure this, and maybe not finding out there is a more serious issue underlying the condition.

General body detox.

Cures a hangover (hallelujah!!!) & a migraine.

Any time one sees the term “body detox” you should raise your doubt shields. What does this even mean? If your body truly contained toxic levels of anything, you should seek immediate medical help. Other than that, your body does a pretty good job of maintaining the proper levels of things. Some proponents claim the consistency when the oil is spit out is “proof” of toxins coming out. If this is true, it should be easy to test the oil and measure what’s in it. Yet, for some reason these “naturopathic” “doctors” haven’t done these tests.

And even more strange is the idea of curing a hangover. A hangover is a set of symptoms with varying causes. I’m not sure how oil pulling is supposed to attack all of these problems (including dehydration which is one part of it). In reality, the only cure is time.

If you have migraines, I again would see your doctor. Migraines could be a sign of another condition, and even if not can be serious. Just don’t rely on clean teeth to cure it.

Helps with general pain issues.

Manages any weird hormonal imbalances.

If coconut oil contains any hormones, I wouldn’t recommend using it. Use of hormones without monitoring by a doctor can be very dangerous for your health. If it is pulling hormones out of your body, that could be just as dangerous. However, there is a low probability of either happening.

My concern here is again people will replace this with traditional care think oil pulling is a replacement for legitimate, evidence-based medical care. Imagine someone with a thyroid condition, or some other hormonal imbalance for which they are being treated: they start oil pulling and they “feel better,” so they stop taking their medication under the assumption the oil will “keep them balanced.” Now what?

Prevents cavities & gingivitis. Some people even reported it HEALED their cavities?! Not sure about that one… but who knows?!

Actually, science knows. A cavity is damage to the tooth structure, and there is no evidence or method known to regenerate the structure once it has been destroyed. Certainly better oral hygiene could slow or stop the progression of a cavity, and when a tooth is damaged the root structure pulls back from the tooth, thus reducing the pain. So it might feel “healed,” but it really is just being maintained. The concern is because of the damage and without being repaired, the tooth could be weakened and further damaged by use. This could lead to intense pain – and could even lead to serious infections if not properly treated.

My concern is not with the practice of oil pulling. It is with the claims that go with it. There is a possibility there is some direct harm (the pneumonia). It is also likely it is a waste of money as a simple salt water rinse along with the brushing and flossing would have the same effect. I also am concerned with the continued peddling of pseudoscience, which only hurts the overall scientific literacy. I would say there isn’t much harm in doing this, but please don’t believe it is the next miracle cure either. I will just keep brushing and flossing.

Update: A couple of medical professionals have weighed in as well. Dr. Steven Novella reached much the same conclusion in his SBM post on the topic. Dr. Mary Berk-Mooney also weighed in via the comments here. Her Facebook post should be visible, provided you have a Facebook login. 

It seems those within the fields of medicine and dentistry reached similar conclusions. One commenter on Mike’s post noted, as a hygienist, that those who do oil pulling on a regular basis have plaque that is harder to clean than those with normal oral hygiene routines. While just anecdotal – I don’t think ticking off your hygienist is a good idea considering the sharp tools they put in your mouth!

 

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    • The actual studies cited are the same ones I briefly mentioned and the ones Mike linked to in his article. They are very small, all from India (where the “ancient wisdom” of oil pulling originates) and all contain a level of admitted bias by citing the controversial text this supposedly comes from anyway.

      The other thing that should raise the skeptical senses is the fact the author somehow thinks detoxing is an actual thing that is accomplished by cold sheeting and saunas. Woo to prove woo equals woo.

  1. Great article! You are addressing exactly what I’ve been explaining to my patients. (I am a dentist and have been in dentistry longer that this FASHION blogger has been alive). The studies that are mentioned are weak. Based on a sample of 20 (too small) teenage boys (not a randomized population). Most studies about coconut oil are being sponsored by the coconut oil industry. Amazing what people will blindly believe!

  2. I came to many of the same conclusions as you did just reading the article just using common sense. Of course your mouth will be healthier because you are rinsing it non-stop for 20 minutes to loosen stuff and then I bet you’re even brushing more thoroughly because you’re thinking about all the goo that was in there. I can even see how it helped headaches, stress and TMJ because you’re forcing yourself to sit quietly, focus on one thing and relax. You cannot tense your jaw and swish at the same time and even the small muscle movements of swishing and pulling will help relax those tense jaw muscles. It’s kind of like oil pulling meditation. Lessening your stress and anxiety also helps lesson all kinds of skin conditions – I get acne and eczema when my mind and body are overstressed, making myself relax for 20 mins a day would probably help that too!

  3. “My concern here is again people will replace this with traditional care.”

    I think Ayurvedic medicine is a bit more “traditional” than modern synthetic medicine. Have you read much about Ayurvedic healing? It doesn’t appear that you know much about natural healing at all.

    • Well, the only problem with that is there’s nothing “natural” about ayurveda. It’s based on the body’s balance between three elements: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. As these “elements” were based on the guesswork of ancient ignorance and do not actually exist in the natural world, it’s hard to call it a “natural” system.

      • You are soo off. Why do we continue to think people in ancient times were stupid? We have pyramids and sphinxes(wrong spelling) and we today have no idea how it was done. In egypt they used honey and some type of plant for birth control and people were living a lot longer than we are now! Sooo why were they soo stupid and the people of today soo smart? Ridiculous! Ancient ignorance…try ignorance today….we are soo dependent on these people who pretend to have best interest in mind then hit you in head with dentist bills. Smh….people are dumber today then they were before. We are only told we are smarter but that’s not the truth. We are too arrogant to see that tho

  4. Just look at the list of ingredients for a typical mouthwash and decide for yourself.
    coconut oil or a list of dangerous chemicals all linked to cancer and ill health.
    My concern here is again people will replace this with traditional care???
    I bloody hope they do because traditional care is based on a toxic brew of chemicals!

    • I always find this interesting – a toxic brew of chemicals – do you know coconut oil is also made from chemicals?

      I would be happy to evaluate your claims of cancer causing chemicals in mouthwash if you can provide scientific data to support such a claim.

  5. I am not convinced of EVERY amazing claim when it comes to this, but I do think that organic, non-GMO, cold pressed coconut oil would be much healthier for you than normal commercial mouthwashes/toothpaste. You cant just buy coconut oil from Walmart. Otherwise it will have added chemicals and will be more processed. Not all things marked “All Natural” actually are all natural. Most of the things that we are willing to put in our bodies that have been marked “safe” have a lot of chemicals that if looked at individually can be quite harmful to the body.

  6. You people are funny. Legitimate care? You mean western based medicine that doesn’t actully cure anything but makes sure youre well enough to work but not well enough to not have to go to hospital/dentist….this system is set up to keep people depending on these so called doctors/dentists. If you’ve never done oil pulling yourself then maybe you should try it before trying to poke holes in it. I’ve been oil pulling for a month and I’ve noticed great changes in my teeth and I’ve also noticed the detoxing effect. You lie when you say there’s no such thing as detox. Smh…I won’t go into how or why because anyone who wants to know can just think about it and figure it out. We don’t need experts to tell us everything. We have brains and minds for ourself and are capable of using our own mind. Debunking oil pulling? Really? You have nothing better to do then attempt to debunk something that is cheap and effective? You must be working for the pharmacheutical company or something. Your words are very misleading like when you said that “most” reporters had same outcome as you…most is not all which means some had an experience like the ones who have actually been doing oil pulling. You are disgraceful and neither this or the other article debunked anything. You just put a lot of nice words together to play on the brains of the easily impressionable and sheeple. Whatever. Anyone with common sense will disregard this blog and try it for themselves.

    • Maybe oil pulling is causing you to shake your head alot more…

      Again – let’s take the oil you spit out and bring it to a lab an test it. What are these toxins? How do you “feel” detoxing?

      Our brains are actually terrible at evaluating evidence because our brains evolved to survive in nature, not evaluate complex claims. We have research indicating how poor we are at many things our brain does, which is why we need science to overcome the limitations of our brain.

      • this article is completely biased. I am not impressed. don’t read this article, and snopes? seriously… quit nay saying on something you don’t understand or have not tried yourself.

        • Can you show me specifically where the bias is in the article? I looked through it again and I believe I provided logical, reasonable explanations for all of the points I was trying to make. Also, while I do occasionally cite snopes in other articles, can you show me here where I cited it? I missed it.

          • I am not here to defend oil pulling only defend that accurate points are made for and against.

            You can’t tell that you are biased? Let me give it a shot and help you…

            “While Mike Rothschild already did a great job of debunking some of the miracle claims on a Skeptoid blog last year, and Orac poked fun at it as early as 2007, I wanted to point out a few of the details both from the comment section of Mike’s post, as well as the pseudoscience claims in the link I saw this week which are both misleading and possibly dangerous”

            These articles are just as biased as yours. They go in looking for the half assed reasons it won’t work. So you show yourself as biased by accepting these guys as legit in their conclusions… which are that it doesn’t work as well as as modern off the shelf stuff.

            “(most sites of course say unrefined and organic because we don’t want any “chemicals” in our chemicals). Swish the oil around for 20 minutes. Spit out all of the “toxins” (I guess coconut oil is toxic?). “

            You mock the fact that it is recommended to use oil that is as “clean” as possible… good advice for anything you put in your mouth… you hint at chemicals being in the oil but you don’t explain why. Is it in the refining? In the coconut itself? But you agree there IS chemicals in both. Making people think that that means the two are equal there fore it is ok to eat or drink both… or as dangerous to eat or drink both… chemicals in your chemicals? That really doesn’t even make any sense.
            But then you would agree that unrefined and organic would be a plausible thing to try to get, right? The more “clean” a product you use the safer it should work, right? And the more contaminations that are in it might be enough to the ouaitive effects,,, trying to take bad things out but just swapping them for other bad things.
            That is just the scientific method at work, right?

            NOPE! You mock and belittle it even though it might make the difference. Being a man of science you should know you want a clean beaker and uncontaminated solution, right? Sheesh! Ohhhh noooooo…. YOU’RE not biased at aaaaaallllllll.

            “There isn’t any scientific studies proving any of the claims, even the ones with plausibility. The only “studies” are the ones reviewing the Ayurveda literature or small studies from India done under that premise – and they are not very good quality. “

            No study must mean it doesn’t work… that’s not a biased way of approaching this subject.
            The Indian studies also use an oil that doesn’t have any antibiotic properties where as cocnut oil does. That skews the ultimate results.

            “Basically, this is a classic case of the argument from antiquity, where because someone did it in the past, it must be good. This is also how we know small rocks float.”

            You mean like how the ancients knew the world was round? Or leeches? or maggots? Or bezoar stones? Washing your hands? Or yoga? Or acupuncture? The last two were mocked heavily for a long time, but now insurance companies pay for yoga or acupuncture.

            People fought hard to not have to wash their hands. Washing your hands have no effect on anything, look… I can put my fingers in my mouth and nothing happens, so it’s the same putting it into a body in surgery. Right?

            All of these things were rediscovered from antiquity and were said to be the foolishness of stupid people… but now we know all these things are helpful in one way or another. Leeches have been shown to have medicinal effects, maggots eat dead skin, and even bezoar stones have been shown to neutralize arsenic.

            After it was discovered that fruit cured scurvy it still too the British fleet over a hundred years to allow their sailors to use fruit to help their scurvy. 100 years!!! And they KNEW it worked!

            Why don’t you tell the Muslims to stop using their chew sticks? At one time there was no studies that said it worked. But now there is.

            There are lots and lots of things that we do now tht were ridiculed and discarded. When Tesla was in school a brushless motor was considered to be impossible because of the rules against perpetual motion.

            So to lump ALL ancient ideas and methods into the “rocks float” category is totally biased against anything whether it works or not.

            .

            “(toxins) What does this even mean? If your body truly contained toxic levels of anything, you should seek immediate medical help. Other than that, your body does a pretty good job of maintaining the proper levels of things.”

            Really? This is so absurd that there is no way you can say it without being biased.

            Toxins in the body and being TOXIC are different things. Yet you gladly interchange them, Very scientific of you. So by your rational low levels of radiation in the body would be ok. And after months or years that person gets sick, it can’t be because of the low levels of radiation being put into the body every day. Those are way too low to ever be toxic. Right?

            So people don’t have toxics building up in them? You can’t have something in you that is “toxic” to the body but eats away at you for years? That must NEVER happen.

            Unless it makes you sick right away then it can’t be toxic. Radiation kills immediately once it reaches the body.
            The body is anything but capable of maintaining anything properly. Especially in a world where we eat things that have no nutritional values to help keep the body strong.

            “If you have migraines, I again would see your doctor. Migraines could be a sign of another condition, and even if not can be serious. Just don’t rely on clean teeth to cure it.”

            Not so much you being biased but just to let you know that doctors suck. If you are relying on them to teach you anything you are sadly mistaken.

            I suffer from migraines most of my life. I ha insurance , was leaving my job and wanted to use it, before I didn’t have it anymore, so I went to have my migraines checked out. Had migraines for over 20 years. The doctor asked if work was stressful and prescribed Zoloft. The pharmacist was puzzled because Zoloft causes migraines. That’s it!!! WHAT the F!?!?!?!

            So doctors are not the end all of what is really going on. You are believing a bunch of people who have no problem cutting off the wrong leg. Even though it has been proven to prevent bad things from happening… Doctors in the 21st century are fighting to NOT do check lists. Writing out a simple check list and running through it before a surgery. Even checking off something so simple as :WASH HANDS” has proven to reduce infections. But it is not embraced but fought against by doctors.

            Lots of products doctors endorse turn out to be harmful and things they try to keep from people sometimes turn out to be the best thing ever… but it cuts into someone’s pocket book so it is ridiculed and mocked.

            Republicans attacked the Japanese hydrids when they first came out. You sound the same as they did when they said they got terrible gas milage and couldn’t climb up a hill and no one will ever buy them. Right?

            YOU are a teacher????? But you have no ability to understand context!
            “Manages any weird hormonal imbalances.
            If coconut oil contains any hormones, I wouldn’t recommend using it. Use of hormones without monitoring by a doctor can be very dangerous for your health.”

            Nothing ever says it ADDS hormones, or USES hormones. EVER! But that the effect of cleaning out your filtering system (saliva and lymph nodes and teeth and their roots) help your body regulate it’s hormones, possibly by just getting rid of the particles that infect your system.

            If you pour in an agent into your gas that removes the things that are clogging your gas filter then the motor will run better… it doesn’t really improve anything it just makes it run smoother and stops the sand from getting into the engine. If you remove the things that are causing you problems then when your body can operate correctly and your hormones would smooth out as well making it seem like it it is doing something TO the hormones, but it‘s not, it‘s just getting the junk out of the way so the body can function properly.

            Or is that too intricate for your scientific mind to comprehend?
            “My concern is not with the practice of oil pulling. It is with the claims that go with it. There is a possibility there is some direct harm (the pneumonia). It is also likely it is a waste of money as a simple salt water rinse along with the brushing and flossing would have the same effect.”

            Do you know that? Is there a study that has SHOWN you and proven to you that “pulling salt water” has the same effects as oil?

            That would definitely be a study needed. Do people using oil have any better effects that doing the same thing with water? Salt water? Other liquids? Toothpaste water? But you just assume that is would do the same thing. So once again you show yourself to be nothing but biased as you believe in studies that have never happened (salt water vs. oil) but refuse to believe anything else because there isn’t a study on it. That is the very epitome of BIASED!!!!!

            “It seems those within the fields of medicine and dentistry reached similar conclusions.”

            What!?!?!?!? The field of dentistry is not finding any evidence that something cheap and simple is better than all the expensive products out there that help them stay in business???? WWHAAATTAAATATATA?!?!?!?!!?!? I am shocked, SHOCKED!!!, that they didn’t find any benefits to something that is challenging their own rule. SHOCKED I tell you!

            The oil companies want you to know that oil spills are no big deal and there has never been a legitimate study to show otherwise.

            Doctors and tobacco companies used to say that cigarettes where good for you. Doctors said radiation is good for you. Cocaine, cannabis, morphine, all good for you. If you believe what the doctors USED to say.

            This article is ok for what it is, but you are biased and you never had any intention of deviating from the status quo. Are you skeptical or cock sure that you are completely right no matter what? Because that’s not skepticism it’s just cynical ego boosting.

            Anyway that’s what it looks like to me :)_

          • You use a very twisted form of logic to prove oil pulling works and to prove my bias. I won’t address every point but let me hit a couple.

            What is coconut oil made of? It is made of chemicals. Chemicals are basically various forms of baryonic matter. Water is a chemical. Fatty acids are chemicals. Coconut oil is comprised of several chemicals. Saying “use product x to avoid chemicals” is a scare tactic. I would at least accept the use of “less impurities” but not “chemical-free.”

            On toxins and hormone balancing – how? Show me what toxins and how. What specific toxins are being removed that the body can’t on its own? Show me a study that measures hormone levels in people before and after oil pulling.

            Thanks for the insults on my ability to use my brain and questioning my ability to teach. Please understand it only reduces the credibility of your comment.

          • Hey
            Yeah, sorry about the more personal insults but it factors into whther you are being biased and how you are being biased, I’m playing devil’s advocate and I did say at the beginning I am not being pro pulling oil. I am just a bit over zealous in my writing style.

            And it was about you and your view point being biased, not about the specifics being right or wrong.

            but you gotta admit it looks like you use the republican way of thinking. Only see what you want to. Such as over looking my specifically saying I am not trying to defend the claims it makes. I am just trying to point out that you are being biased in all your point of view about pulling oil. And you gotta admit that when you claim to use science as your base but like I said you assume things without any proof when it fits your view point, such as saying it’s no different than salt water, but then demanding absolute scientific proof.

            I mean You focus on the semantics of water as a “chemical” when you know what they mean. That is spiteful biased. but you don’t recognise it as being biased. Because you refuse to even consider that you might be wrong or might have to concede that you are argueing over somethng that is trite…because they are using a layman’s term for chemicals, and not the pure by the science book definition? Really? that’s gonna be your response to it? You can’t hold your science background as reason for you having more believability than others, and then focus on somethng so trivial as some kind of proof that they are wrong about everything. That’s not a sciency way of exploring somethng at all.

            And instead of debating the subjects and the actual points you simply dismiss everything I wrote because I hurt your feelings. Yes, insults are a good reason to dismiss the things you can’t admit being wrong to.

            And you are about you not being biased. I laid it out for you, took the time to point out the various things and you only respond by trying to discredit ME not my items.

            By the way, how can I show you the toxins in the after swish when there is no study like that? So you are just so willing to claim the facts when there are no facts on either side of that discussion. You can’t say there aren’t, or there isn’t anything in it that would show that it is good to get it out of the mouth, the mouth, by the ,where it is easiest to access the blood such as putting nitro under the tongue. So cleaning out those areas would be benificial, yes?

            It could just as easily be that keeping the “toxins” out is just as good as removing them. Maybe it doesn’t remove toxins, it just helos to keep new ones out. So your body CAN clean its self. How can the body do what it has to when there is a constant stream of junk going in keeping it from being able to clean itself out? You know as well as I do that there are sicknesses based on a toxic level of somethng being in the system enough to cause minor problems. Mercury is a good exsample. Not enough to kill you outright but the symtopms grow over time.

            But your premise of why you are skeptical is that the body naturally balances itself and cleans itself just fine. What’s that based on? where are your studies on that? and what about the people who don’t fit in your studies and it really does work on them? Does a drug not work because it only works on a few people?

            You claim the body to be a remarkable machine able to self clean and regulate… What about menopause? the body doesn’t seem to be able to balance itsself out then. How about platic poisoning? It isn’t able to regulate that, plastics can through the bodies hormones out of wack. Maybe it can IF you can stop the poisons from getting into you constantly in the first place.

            And the science you rely on to tell you how modern things work so much better than ancient stuff. that has been used for a long long time… that science that you belive in so much as recently had to come out and admit they ef’ed up by assuming rats are rats and that they believed that whatever worked for men would just as easily work for women. But now they found out men and women have different chemistry (duh) and that medicines today work better on men then women for that reason.

            So they were wrong as much as the “alternative medicine” people are .

            By the way, why are you skeptics never skeptical about the status quo side? They have just as many reasons to lie to you as the alternative side does. More in a lot of ways. Who does pulling oil benefit? The coconut people? Who is making money on this?

            You are no better or worse than the believers. You both use the same inadequate information but attack eachother for not having enough information. You are almost worse though, because you haven’t tried it, or talked to people who have (that you trust) and you only look at the surface of it and then dig yourself in without ever thinking about the other persons points. You only accept the the results from only one side of the argument, the side you believe in, in this case the billion dollar corporate side.
            Realistically You can’t be totally skeptical on it because you don’t know all the facts, reasons, theories etc etc etc, so how can you have a real opinion about it one way or the other? And yet instead of coming at it from, “maybe, but I doubt it because…” you are solid steel sure that it culdn’t work at all. “It doesn’t work because I don;t believe it and the rich science community has told me to believe it totally doesn’t work” right?

            You aren’t being skeptical at all, I’m afraid to say, you’re just a being a party of NO.

            And again, because you can’t read my postings well, I will reiterate, I am NOT being PRO or con Oil pulling, I have no idea how much of it works and what doesn’t. Or have any idea on the absolutes of it.

            My point was that you are indeed actually coming at this thing from a biased point of view. Which you claimed you are not. You are just looking for reasons to prove it wrong and not even trying to figure out the other side at all. Maybe the relaxation of 20 minutes swishng somethng in your mouth is enough to help get rid of your hangover, and that is what is being taken for a cure. Maybe. But would that kind of logic matter to you?

            You probably believe a person can’t blow their own sails, right? A common belief by people and science, they say it isn’t possible, right? Everyone who is logical and not biased knows that a person cannot put a fan on their boat and turn it on and blow their own sails until they move. Right?

            And yet the Mythbusters proved it IS possible. They showed that the skeptics like yourself didn’t take in all the different inputs and outputs in a real world situation. You would only focus on “for every action there is an equal and opposite action cancelling it all out” and you would argue that pointuntil you were disgusted that anyone would ever think differently and you would see your side as all perfectly logical… and you would be wrong.

            Your skeptical way of looking at things closes your mind off to what is actually happening, the extra air being pulled into it and the reaction of the wind pushing off of the sail. Lots more to it that you would have ever thought of. You would have argued it is impossible until your fingers are sore from typing. You would never even consider any other answer… and you would have been wrong wrong wrong.

            So sorry if it seems I am attacking you, by the whole point is to show you that you are being totally biased in your skeptical view and that means being a little personal. I mean come on, you’re a teacher, of science, you should know better. It’s disappointing ot me. You dismiss everything that hasn’t been checked off by the man.

            So I apologise for coming on so strong and insulting you. I really am looking for a good discussion on this matter. I guess it isn’t going to be here though. It’s like trying to discuss the wright brothers flight and the only thing coming from your side is “it’s wood, so it’s impossible for it to work ” wow. compelling.

            I do appreciate the quick response though. Although you beat me, I was going to put down an apology for my style beng a bit rough, I figured i wouldn’t get a response at all, but you beat me to it and made me look like jerk. haha.

            Anyway, no hard feelings. take care. I’m here if you got anything more than just semantics, needing studies that don’t exist, and just assuming that your guess is somehow much more solid than anyone elses thoughts simply because you can’t wrap your head around anything that might have a different approach, especially if’n they don’t agree with you and your way of adding it all up.

            Later, hater and thanks again

    • Go,Yolanda……!…well said..Enjoyed the oil-pulling for 2 weeks now and its wonderful along with other practices that works for me…very interesting dialog and language around this…Debunking oil-pulling is a strange “animal”….:)

  7. hippocrates said “let food (not drugs) be your medicine”. Modern doctors know nothing about natural healing properties of plants, etc they’re simply not trained. Anyway as for oil pulling i had a major miracle. I don’t see any attachment icon so i guess i’ll just paste my “miracle letter” here. i apologize for the length. As to scientific proof. I agree there needs to be some double blind studies. As for me like the blind man that was healed said to the skeptics “once i was blind now i can see”. However, i agree that i need to follow up with my dentist but it’s still a miracle. Thanks
    rudy ferrara

    QUOTE

    “Hi Pat

    I was researching the internet about dental infections as i have a (molar) tooth in my upper left jaw that is infected and playing hell with my body to the extent that my lower back and neck were in terrific pain for months. My entire body was suffering. My neck muscles were so tight that it even affected my voice. Couldn’t sleep, was constantly irritable, etc And it started recently getting worse. My entire jaw was now in pain. i started experienceing dissiness and near fainting spells while practising golf. Scared the H out of me.

    I brought this on myself as usual lol. A filling fell out over a year ago and i didn’t have dental insurance so i kept putting it off. Has to be one of the stupidist things i’ve ever done. Then last week the tooth cracked and part of it fell out. I was scheduled for a tooth extraction and was googling alernative treatments/remedies to see if there was still a chance i could save the tooth and not have another empty space. I already have three empty spaces from extractions.

    While researching under alternative dental treatments and cures i stumbled onto something called cavitations which i never heard of before. I then found this article in google under dental cavitations entitled

    “Dental cavitations and cavitation infections (ischemic osteonecrosis”

    It’s the sixth article from the top and when you click on it it takes you to a page titled “Healing teeth naturally”. After reading the article i discovered something called “oil pulling” which i’ve also never heard of before. Seems it’s a miracle tooth pain and infection CURE. I was skeptical but after being on it three days my tooth pain is GONE including lower back, neck,, my whole body relaxed and is on the mend. OMG.!!! It’s a miracle.

    I suggest you read this article pat. There is something about oil pulling and fibromyalgia I thought might be of interest. I’ve included a couple excerpts below

    rudy

    ps If you should decide to try oil pulling using olive oil rather than the standard sesame seed oil therapy you should get REAL organic olive oil as there are so many knock offs out there. Real olive oil when taken orally will give a slight burning sensation in the back of your throat. I use COLAVITA but am switching to

    california olive ranch which is much better

    TESTIMONIAL
    “Oil pulling has afforded help with pain from temporo-mandibular joint (jaw joint) disease and fibromyalgia: “I did not think I would be able to do this for 15 minutes due to jaw pain but after 2 1/2 minutes my jaw pain left. The stiffness, pain and soreness in my body was gone before the 15 minutes was up. I have been suffering from fibromyalgia since 1991 and this is the only thing I have tried that gave me immediately relief.”

    On using olive oil for oil pulling

    The late erudite father Thomas Häberle, an eminent but little known Swiss naturopath, used olive oil massages to great effect in a number of illnesses. He stressed that he reaped great successes using olive oil for diseases of the bones and head, writing that olive oil is able to penetrate even the hardest bones and bring healing where it is needed. For this reason it seems ideal to use for oil pulling.

    Father Thomas Häberle has left us three small but information-packed books on natural healing two of which have been translated into English, Helping & Healing and Counselling & Curing. [sales pitch removed here]

    (Note: one person actually reported that swishing with olive oil straightened his teeth!)”UNQUOTE

    Reply, Reply All or Forward | More

    • Testimonials and anecdotes can be the first step in the scientific process by giving us a direction to form a hypothesis. However, the human brain is very fallible and subject to all sorts of bias.

      I won’t address every story, but the first where the broken tooth caused pain. Yes, if the tooth broke and exposed a nerve, it would cause pain. Any regular mechanical action would aid in the pulling in of the pulp material. It is the same idea as what happens when a tooth is filled – it hurts at first, but the pulp material begins to pull away from the tooth, thus there is no nerve left to cause pain. The dangerous part of the story is if there is an infection and it goes untreated it could be bad! Again – oil pulling is likely keeping the broken tooth clean – so sure it is fine for that. But it is no magic cure – it is simply a way of scrubbing the area – same as what you could do with water, mouthwash, toothpaste, or any other mechanical action.

      • You didn’t hear what i was saying. my whole body was affected to the point i was having dizzy spells, excrutiating lower back pain tight muscles, spasms to the point i had to crawl over to a table to lift myself, my throat was a twisted knot and my voice diminished. All disappeared almost immediately. I was irritable because of all this couldn’t sleep couldn’t do anything well as i wasn’t myself. It is truly a miracle that no mouthwash could have done. And i continue to improve.

        Even my TMJ which is related to the mouth has disappated and is on the mend for the first time in years with no artificial mouthpiece. I rub the deep penetraiting REAL olive oil on the TMJ area as well as inside the ear for tinnitus. You are skeptical i can understand that you just haven’t been in my shoes or others who’ve had worse ailments

        rudy ferrara

        • If you were in this much pain with this little energy, how were you able to do proper oil pulling techniques? Because if you were able to do a swishing motion for 20 minutes, and rinse your mouth after – all without choking on the oil, something tells me there were other factors you are not revealing or not considering.

          • ok you’re a skeptic ok that’s why this is skeptoid

            All i can reiterrate is i was in terrible shape many months from neglect of my infected tooth. Very stupid i know i put money over my health. However, i attributed the symptoms lower back pain, spasms, tmj etc to other causes like poor diet. I tried antibiotics, pain killers vitamins eating a healthy diet NOTHING WORKED. I stumbled onto oil pulling because i didn’t want a fourth tooth extracted. I was just about ready to have it extracted because my symptons got worse started getting dizzy on the golf course, had another excruciating muscle spasm where i told you what happened.

            I tried olive oil becauws that’s what the particular article i read said might have even more benefit than the other oils. Read the article please. That was june 10 within just a couple days symptoms decreased 50%. The ONLY sympton that didn’t go away immediately was the tmj. It improved but still was affecting my lower jaw. So i started massaging the olive oil externally as swooshing evidently helped the tmj indirectly (I won’t go into that now) so i attacked the problem directly. And yes iis almost down to zero. Had i massaged it at the beginning i would have been fully recovered within a week

            Yes i was able to swoosh even in my condition.So for something to disappear that quickly without any other drug or therapy is my miracle. You can try to explain it away. I’m sure skeptics try to explain how the gershon therapy cured cancer within a couple months (see food matters). You’ll see it right before your very eyes. Yet they use alternative not mainstream drug therapy. My brother has lung cancer and refuses to even try alternatives. Now he’s going thru hell with radiation and chemo therapy which will only further compromise his immune system which is at the heart of the problem. He seems to be starting to consider what i’ve been suggesting to him about alternatives. I hope so as cancer has a 2% complete recovery rate with a five year “survival” rate then you die. Check the stats.

            We are not used to the word CURE in this country. Other countries including germany, europe asia have practised oil pulling for decades with great results. Only in america where stockholders reign supreme doctors, our food and drug industry, politicaians are controlled by a minority of mega billion dollar ponzi scheme corporations. Funny thing we lead the world militarily and we also lead the world in degenerative diseases. Greed rules and will continue to rule until the people wake up. I’m not holding my breath.

            You may think i’m against the medical establishment. You’re wrong i had a hernia operation and the team of doctors and assistants were BRILLIANT. You can’t use an alternative for that. You CAN use an alternative with diet, food, and other proven remedies not recognized by the mainstream establishment for the reasons i mentioned for treating many ailments. You can continue being a skeptic. Actually it’l healthy in a way so long as you are open to alternatives. I on the other hand am a BELIEVER in alternative medicine which should be practised alongside standard medicine but med schools are funded by the same political economic system that’s fighing tooth and nail to abolish alternative medicine. Vis-a-vis the state of vermont is being sued by monsanto and the gmo industry. So you think they want to lose even one battle in labeling gmos at the state level. Even one loss would compromise their billion dollar empire which they will fight to the death to defend. GREED RULES

            I hope my brother tries alternative treatment. It won’t hurt him and may save his life because alternative medicine CURES people i can testify to that and so can countless others who didn’t have the luxury to wait for some double blind studies that will forever get bogged down in beaurewucratic red tape. There’s no time like the present. I’m 71 and hope to be 80 some day. 90???

            rudy ferrara

          • So how do you quantify your 50% improvement? Do you have a standard scale by which to measure it?

            Again, I am not doubting your story, just the explanation of a “miracle cure.’ A neglected broken tooth that becomes infected and/or lodged with food becomes a fantastic pathway for the infection to spread to the blood. Look at how much oral wounds tend to bleed – there is alot of blood in that area! So if you start actually taking care of the wound/infection – of course you will feel better. It isn’t because of oil, or even the type of oil. It is because you treated the wound by keeping it clean. You (nor I) have no idea if your symptoms were related or not. But based on your story, you had poor oral hygiene or some condition that gave you poor oral health. Once you started paying attention to it, you got better. It is not unreasonable to assume once you took care of your oral health you felt better, both because of the connection of oral health to other health issues (as science as shown) and because you are suddenly taking care of your health.

            Believers in “miracles” often try to cite cancer statistics and use cancer as a buzzword in comments here. Cancer is not one disease, but a set of over 200 diseases. You can’t treat all cancer with the same treatment. Even if Gerson therapy worked, it wouldn’t work for them all, nonetheless for all the other claimed diseases it cures. But the truth is it doesn’t – http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-not-so-beautiful-untruth-about-the-gerson-therapy-and-cancer-quackery/

            Cancer survival is much higher than 2% over 5 years. Maybe for your brother’s particular case that is the odds, but not for the diseases in general lumped under cancer. I’m sorry he is going through those tough treatments. But it is the best evidenced way for him to survive. Why you only trust doctors when you want to trust them is a bit disheartening.

          • the gerson therapy has over a 50% CURE rate for lymphoma and other cancers. That is phoenomenal. With billions poured into cancer research since nixon cancer deaths have doubled way orver 200,00 a year. Again, we are the leader militarily but pathetic when it comes to degenerative diseases a lot of which is food related. Our food supply or should i say assembly line food system is the major culprit. Having a hernia is one thing doctors can fix and i trust them. I do not trust them when it comes to disease.They aren’t trained for prevention and cure as hippocrates stated let food be your medicine not drugs. Japan is way ahead of us even china or india. even mexico grows their food on organically rich soils. Good soil good food. Monocultured, toxic, nurtrient deficient soils you might as well put a gun to your head. If cancer were the cause of the disease then cutting it out should cure it, but it doesn’t. It just comes back again and again and until we realize it’s nutritionallly related it will never be cured. Our bodies have/are being compromised in this toxic laden world we live in. Our immune systems can just take so much and when you add the aging process a sure fire combination for disaster. But if you give the body what it needs it is a remarkable machine that will take care of itself for a long long time.

            I never ever heard of juvenile diabetes growing up in the 50’s. Way too much refined sugar and starches in our diets which BTW feeds cancer. The signs are all around us. We need to get our heads out of our a— and wake up. We are consumers dependent on a modern assembly line mass production food delivery system. That’s fine with cars (or maybe not with built in obsolesence) but with food it just doesn’t work. Nature always produced healthy food when we gave our soils, plants livestock TLC

            Yes as i mentioned i was going to have the infected tooth pulled as it was playing havoc with my body and i just didn’t realize a tooth could do that. Very stupid i agree. The filling had dropped out long ago. Then last month it cracked and another part fell out before i had done the oil pulling. The pain was excruciating as i said, affecting my entire body. The tooth or what’s left of it is intact. But i did keep my mourh clean. Before oil pulling i did everything for an infection, brushed, flossed, gargled with listerine which should have taken care of it.Gargled with salt, etc after each meal, etc but it continued to get worse despite my efforts to keep it clean. In one week my mouth had recovered after years of infection. And you say that’s not a miracle.Not only my mouth responded but my entire body.

            Just a month earlier in may i had a severe spasm attack to the extent i had to crawl over to a table to pull myself up. I was in excruciating pain. I hadn’t had one these to this extent for many years. I had been taking magnesium and it helped but didn’t prevent anything as far as my overall health. At first i oil pulled three or four times a day now once or twice. And you say that olive oil i mean real olive oil not watered down stuff isn’t powerful. How do you account for the fact that myTMJ disappeared just a couple days after i started massaging that area from the outside. The oil pulling was helping the TMJ internallly by addressing toxic issues and over time it probably would have healed it.

            I have no statistics or blind studies or scientific data to PROVE my healing but i am healed 100%. And yes i will go to my dentist and have the tooth extracted if it can’t be saved but i just about can guarnatee the dentist that diagnosed me with xrays would be shocked to even think i could recoup from such a situation let alone not need to have the tooth pulled immediately as he said. And at the time i agreed and scheduled an appointment. I don’t need a scale to measure my improvement. No lower back pain. Gone. No muscle spasms. Gone. no constant tooth and jaw pain.Gone.And sleeping better for a change. Not irritable.My energy is coming back, even my libido. TMJ nearly cured. Without drugs, without having the tooth pulled, just olive oil and oil pulling did the job. Believe it or not. I am now a believer. There IS a place for alternative medicine.

            rudy ferrara.

          • The Gerson “therapy” does not work. There is no evidence for it working.

            You cannot give cancer statistics without context. If cancer deaths are up, why is that? Is it that deaths by other reasons have gone down?

          • your a skeptic (agnostic) and i’m an eternal optimist. Glass half full. And never the twain shall meet. I’ve said all i can and am still at square one. Time to move on time is too short and valuable

            r ferrara

  8. I find it amusing you’d rely on dentists to tell you whether or not something could be used in place of their routine care. What would you expect them to say “Yeah, do this and see me less often, threatening my income greatly”

    If you want to disprove something, do the science, Except it won’t be done because it can only have negative impact on those with agendas.

  9. Oil pulling cured my gingivitis. Not the brushing I was always doing, not the flossing that was already part of my routine… Oil pulling. Your argument that cleaning your mouth by swishing fluids works anyway does not debunk anything. It’s a dumb argument. Yes that is why it works, that is what it claims. And thank goodness that works. Coconut oil is amazing for hair and skin, so it’s very small wonder it’s so refreshing for the gum. That it is good for your skin is also no revelation as people have been using it for their skin for ages, so there’s another debunking to your “debunking.” Oral health is a precursor to over all health so anything you do to protect your oral health helps over all health. After curing my gingivitis oil pulling amazing helped to clear up my chronic repiratory issues. Your article is not very good.

  10. Oil pulling makes my teeth super white and they feel clean all day long. Of course it is not a replacement to oral hygiene in the form of brushing and flossing but it certainly has not done any harm and I have been doing it for years. Naysayers of anything outside of western medicine always amaze me. Why would I run to the doctor for every little thing? More than not, that doctor is guessing at a diagnosis and just wants to medicate. NO THANKS.

  11. honestly this is so weird why would you put so much effort into putting down something that literally can not be bad for you at least in comparison to normal fluoride… never heard of coconut oil being banded from several countries, where as fluoride that is put in our water as well tooth past for our “oral hygiene” is banded in all of Europe…

    I dont know if just me but I’d be more incline to rise concern for a chemical thats been banned not a oil that clam to detox!

    • Just because something isn’t banned doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous either.

      Fluoride was banned in court in a couple of European countries (not all of Europe) because of court cases. An Italian court also found scientists guilty of manslaughter for not predicting an earthquake. Courts are far from scientific – just ask the 5% or so of death row inmates who are innocent.

      Fluoride occurs naturally in many water supplies. This is how the idea of fluoridation came about – those with naturally occurring fluoride in the water had, as a community, better oral health than places without it. Some communities have so much that some is removed before being sent into the system.

  12. Eric, your responses are weak and show a serious lack in an area you pose to have expertise in.

    Fluorosilicic acid, or hydrofluorosilicate, Sodium fluorosilicate, and Sodium fluoride are synthetic MAN MADE toxic byproducts from ALUMINUM PRODUCTION.

    This IS NOT the same as CALCIUM FLUORIDE.

    Hmm…corporations working together with the “medical” industry for profit? Say it isn’t so!!

    Fluoride was banned in most of the EU because it calcifies the pineal gland, and since fluoride attaches itself to heavy metals like lead and beryllium, fluoride accommodates these chemicals crossing the brain barrier.

    Furthermore, calcification of the pineal gland is what causes Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Autopsy reports will show you that people that died because of these diseases had HIGH AMOUNT OF ALUMINUM IN THEIR PINEAL GLAND.

    So to simplify this for you, it goes like this:

    “Hey, I make aluminum, and I have all this toxic waste, I mean, imagine if you could add it to your water or something and tell people it will prevent cavities and keep their teeth strong?”

    The ADA: “Ok, we’ll go along with it, we’re like the APA, no one will challenge us. We won’t tell people what type of fluoride, we’ll say its the natural kind, not the rat poison toxic do NOT INGEST or do NOT have skin contact with kind.”

    All companies that use aluminum: “Sweet. Capitalism is awesome.”

    The FDA: a drug is anything that claims to PREVENT, cure, diagnose, treat…ADA says Fluoride PREVENTS cavities, gingivitis…oh right so the FDA is DRUGGING the American population!

    “Mandrake….you ever see a commie drink tap water?”

    • Fluoride was banned in the Eu because it calcifies the pineal gland. 100% medically inaccurate. That is not the cause for dementia or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. I do not know where you are getting your information from but here is one sampling of how you are wrong.
      Alzheimers occurs due to amyloid plaquing not pineal calcification what ever that means.
      other dementias
      Vascular dementia is caused by either ischemic or hemorrhagic strokes. The most common form is due to small vessel cerebrovascular disease. Diagnosis is most specific if there is a stroke-like course of illness, neurologic signs of stroke on examination, and imaging evidence of stroke. However, the course of illness may appear smoothly progressive, and there may be no elementary neurologic signs.
      ●Dementia with Lewy bodies is the second most common type of degenerative dementia after AD. Clinical features that help distinguish this from AD include prominent early appearance of visual hallucinations, along with parkinsonism, cognitive fluctuations, dysautonomia, sleep disorders, and neuroleptic sensitivity. (See “Clinical features and diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies”.)
      ●Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neuropathologically and clinically heterogeneous disorder characterized by focal degeneration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes. Early alteration of personality, behavior, and executive functioning distinguish behavioral variant FTD from AD, however, it can be difficult to distinguish FTD from AD as a cause of primary progressive nonfluent aphasia, especially early in the course.

      Parkinson Disease- has nothing to do with calcification. Depigmentation, neuronal loss, and gliosis, particularly in the substantia nigra pars compacta and in the pontine locus ceruleus, are typical abnormalities found in the brains of patients with PD. Neuronal degeneration is also present in the dorsal nucleus of the vagus in the medulla and other brainstem nuclei.

      Using a quantitative method, one study of seven patients with PD and seven controls found that the number of pigmented neurons in the substantia nigra, normally 550,000, was reduced by 66 percent in those with PD [16]. In addition, the number of nonpigmented neurons, normally 260,000, was reduced by 24 percent. By the time the first symptoms of PD emerge, about 60 percent of the neurons in the substantia nigra pars compact have been lost [3].

      The ventrolateral portion of the substantia nigra that projects to the dorsal putamen is preferentially affected early in the course of PD, resulting in the gradual loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and a nearly complete depletion of dopamine, particularly in the putamen [17]. This contrasts with normal aging, which is usually associated with neuronal loss in the dorsal tier of the substantia nigra pars compacta, and depletion of dopamine, predominantly in the caudate nucleus [18].

      Because of the apparent discrepancy between loss of striatal dopamine (>80 percent) and the degree of loss of neurons in the substantia nigra (50 to 60 percent), some have suggested that the initial site of pathology is in the striatum and that retrograde degeneration may be responsible for the neuronal loss in the substantia nigra [3]. An alternative explanation is that each dopaminergic neuron has multiple projections that terminate in the striatum, so that death of the cell body has a multiplying effect on loss of terminals.

      In addition to the degeneration of the substantia nigra pars compacta, other nuclei are affected by the pathology of PD, including the internal segment of the globus pallidus, the center median-parafascicular complex, the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus, and the glutamatergic caudal intralaminar thalamic nuclei [19]. Moreover, volumetric MRI studies have found significant hippocampal atrophy in patients with PD, with or without cognitive impairment [20].

      Your getting bad information from people who guess or are ideologically motivated to find problems with fluoride. They don’t understand the diseases that they are talking about. There is no way that they can understand if fluoride has any risk they are guessing and making up scary sounding non diseases that vastly/wrongly oversimplifies what happens to people with many different types of dementia.

  13. My experience with oil pulling has positive. I started using it after I got an infection due to a cavity in my wisdom tooth. My dentist prescribed me a course of antibiotics amoxillin. The infection still remained after I had completed the course. I had 3 more courses of antibiotics after that cefalexin and metronidazole but the infection still remained had gotten worse. This all happened over the course of about 6 weeks, I was at my wits end. At this point the dentist succumbed and said the tooth would need to be extracted. However I Woolf have to wait a few weeks for an appointment and that I could have more antibiotics! This was when I discovered oil pulling. I had been on ibuprofen and paracetamol and codeine for weeks taking the maximum dosage daily. As soon as I started pulling I noticed the difference straight away. The infection cleared up and I only needed 1 or 2 doses of paracetamol a day after a week I didn’t need any. I still went ahead and had the tooth extracted but I wish I didn’t ad all the pain returned and the infection and I was afraid to use the oil while I had the open would in my mouth, I was put on amoxillin again which did nothing again! After a week I went back to pulling and needless to say it has done wonders. The other benefits for me have been whiter teeth, also I had a growth on my face for over a year just at the top of my nose bridge no matter what I tried it would not go. It literally fell off after I started oil pulling not only that but my facial complexion became clearer as I had flaky dry patches. I say try it don’t listen to those who haven’t.

  14. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work for anything other then a natural mouth wash .
    Everything is more or less the same my teeth aren’t any whiter skin is the same.
    In fact I got a headache soon after using it another lady on a blog had the same issue.
    But if you want to try it go ahead like I said works OK as a mouth wash noting more.
    Might try what’s left of it for cooking that might work better.

  15. Small rocks do float… Water tension can hold up many things I’m sure this property was extraordinary in antiquity…

  16. I know this may be considered as more “anecdotal evidence” but since I started oil pulling three or four times a week; varying the oil between raw organic coconut oil and unrefined organic sesame oil; my hygienist has commented each time that I have no plaque and as we know, plaque is a cause of cavities.

    Now the hygienist only has to carry out a very minor polish to remove red wine and coffee stains. This is a fact. In order to either prove or disprove this information may I humbly suggest that people experiment for themselves and practice oil pulling for three or four weeks prior to their next hygiene appointment.

    As a side note, I initially tried oil pulling for gingivitis and carried it out three times a day and within four days the bleeding and foul taste in my mouth was gone. So, another anecdote to add to the list is that oil pulling also cures this unpleasant condition, avoiding the need for antibiotics, deep scaling or even gum surgery.

    • Debunking Oil-pulling….again.

      The internet (social media, in particular) has become a breeding ground for misinformation. Anybody can put almost anything out there without consequence of being held accountable if that information actually harms someone else. It is definitely a “buyer beware” world.

      I am a dentist. I am a doctor, specializing in the mouth. I took the Hippocratic Oath, which in essence states “to do no harm”. I am a firm believer in Evidence-Based Dentistry, dentistry that has scientific proof through legitimate clinical studies.

      Most of the coconut oil claims on the internet are coming from the same sources. In regards to these particular sources, this is what I have learned through the years of reading articles. If the names Huggins, Weston Price, Mercola, Fife, and even Dr. Oz appear as the expert in any articles related to Dentistry, please hit delete. These sources are well known to exploit and sensationalize false dental information with no proper studies whatsoever! The best studies published are those conducted as an independent, randomized, double-blind, peer-reviewed article and appear in well respected and proven journals. Like the bogus “chocolate milk for athletes” study was actually funded and promoted by the chocolate milk industry, most articles about oil-pulling have been sponsored and promoted by the coconut oil industry.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love coconut oil for cooking and even as a skin moisturizer, but oil-pulling as a cure-all for your health (specifically oral health)? Let’s look closer:

      THE BODY: “it pulls toxins out of your body through your mouth” …. The mucous membranes of the mouth can absorb certain substances, but to be able to extract toxins out of your entire body by reversing that natural action? Here’s a flat out “NO”. You cannot pull toxins out through your mouth. It is the function of your lymph nodes to filter bodily fluids and the kidneys and liver are to filter your blood. If those fail, surgeries, transplants, or dialysis are needed. Big red flag when someone states that anything “detoxifies the bod.” Another ridiculous claim: “The oil you spit out is cloudy because of the toxins”. Um, put oil into a running blender with a little water, it will come out cloudy. Did it pull the toxins out of your blender blades and walls? No, it’s emulsified. Air and water has been incorporated into it. (In the mouth, it’s saliva, food debris, and air).
      There are also claims that oil-pulling “relieves headaches & hangovers (!!!)” , “clears sinuses”, and “helps you sleep better”. In what way does swishing any substance in your mouth fix anything past that immediate area? The body simply does not function that way. Every one of these claims should be addressed with “How?”. “Manages weird hormonal imbalances”? The FDA would have a field day with that one. Which hormones? Thyroid, pituitary, endocrine? How, how, how? “Helps get rid of acne/ eczema/ psoriasis & other skin issues”? This one has already been blasted by dermatologists. Lots of claims, no scientific proof.

      THE MOUTH: Now to address the claims in my area if expertise, that oil pulling “Whitens teeth”, “strengthens teeth, gums, & jaws”, “prevents cavities & gingivitis. Some people even reported it HEALED their cavities.”, and “banishes bad breath”.
      Enamel is the hardest substance in the body. It does not contain living cells. It cannot heal, regrow, or regenerate itself. It is a matrix of organic and inorganic substances. When weakened with physical (wear, injury) or chemical (acidic foods/ drinks, bacterial by-products) trauma, enamel can be remineralized or repaired with very specific substances. There is absolutely nothing in coconut (or sesame) oil that can possibly restructure, heal or strengthen enamel. Again, no scientific proof.
      In fact, coconut and sesame oil are slightly acidic. About a pH of 5. Refresher: 7 is neutral, 0 is acidic (battery acid), 14 is basic/ alkaline (lye). The mouth is sensitive to pH changes and relies on saliva to neutralize the pH. When the saliva is overwhelmed (think chronic soda acid-washing) or shut off (side effect of many meds), enamel is inevitably damaged. With a pH range of 2-4, soda acids destroys enamel. Over-the-counter mouthwashes have pHs of 4-5.5. These are also destructive levels for tooth damage. (Smart Mouth and Closys II are the only pH neutral mouthwashes that I know of, so far.) Will swishing coconut or sesame oil with a pH of 5 over 20 minutes every day harm teeth? If the person has an alkaline-heavy diet (vegetables, nuts, herbs), maybe not. If the person has an acid-heavy diet (fruits, sodas, sugar, processed foods), most likely.
      And, as far as curing periodontal disease? Oil is an anaerobic environment. The most aggressive bacteria that cause periodontal disease thrive in anaerobic (and acidic) environments.

      “Whitens teeth”? Hmmmm, not really sure how that would work. Does it make the enamel slick to repel surface stains? Could be. Does it penetrate the enamel to oxidize internal stains? Most likely not. Does it dehydrate the teeth, which make teeth appear whiter for a short time? Possibly. I would love to see an actual study of how, and if, it whitens teeth.

      “Strengthens…..jaws”: what part? The entire jaw bone? The joint? How would it actually get to bone level when there are layers of tissue between the oral cavity and the bone itself? And by what mechanism does oil-pulling actually strengthen it? It just doesn’t make sense.

      I can see where the swishing action could be meditative and somewhat therapeutic as far as working/ stretching some of the muscles that support the TM joint in a healthy joint. However, this is a parafunctional activity that could be damaging to an internally deranged joint, or someone properly diagnosed with true TMD. This is a matter of proper diagnosis before recommending to just anyone.

      Vitamins and minerals? As far as the theory about getting nutrients sublingually from the 1 teaspoon recommended for oil-pulling coconut and sesame oil:

      http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/630
      Coconut oil has zero amounts of iron, vitamins or any minerals. Even at 1 tablespoon, the amounts of iron, vitamin E and vitamin K are negligible. My jar of organic coconut oil even states on the label ” Not a significant source of fiber, sugars, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, or iron.”

      http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/633
      Sesame oil has just slightly more vitamin E and vitamin K than coconut oil. There is no iron, zinc or any of the B vitamins present in sesame oil.

      You will, however, get far more vitamins and minerals in ONE LEAF of spinach.
      http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3214?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=Spinach.

      The idea of comparing sublingual absorption of oil to pills is also faulty. The most powerful medications given sublingually, like nitroglycerine, are water-soluble to be able to enter your blood stream quickly. “Just like some pills are meant to be dissolved under the tongue.” Oil cannot be dissolved. Oils, if absorbed at all sublingually, would be too minuscule to be of any therapeutic value. And, as I’ve already shown, there are NO therapeutic vitamins and minerals in oil for the body to absorb.

      There has been a recent study done analyzing the antibacterial and antifungal claims of coconut oil. This study was done in Ireland last year (it has not been published, they have only announced press releases) comparing natural-state coconut oil vs enzyme-modified coconut oil. Their own creation of enzyme-modified coconut (and other) oil(s) decreased the number of Strep mutans, the bacteria most associated with tooth decay. The natural coconut oil had NO significant effect on the bacteria. And the big question: What other strains of bacteria are effected? There are well over 500 types of bacteria in the mouth and it a delicate balance of anaerobic vs aerobic, gram positive vs gram negative. When some of the healthy bacteria are killed off, the aggressive bacteria take over, which is exactly what happens to cause bad breath, decay, periodontal disease, and some oral cancers. Again, more research is required.

      To summarize, there are NO legitimate studies that prove any of these claims of oil-pulling improve your health. As far as your dental health, swishing any kind of (pH neutral) liquid will pull debris away from your teeth and help with oral hygiene, but mechanical contact of toothbrushing for 3 minutes is far more effective than swishing anything for 20 minutes.

      If you believe that oil-pulling really works for you, just be aware that it is not everything it is claimed to be, and may not be as safe as you think it is. There is now a report of recurrent lipoid pneumonia associated with oil-pulling in the February 2014 issue of International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease medical journal. (An infection as a result of inhaling fatty substances into your lungs). It’s your time, your money, your health and your choice. I’m just asking you to make choices based on FACTS before you follow them and paste them all over the internet

      Thanks and good dental health to you all!!!

      Dr. Mary Berk-Mooney
      Troy Dental Care- Troy, MO.

  17. “Most of the coconut oil claims on the internet are coming from the same sources. In regards to these particular sources, this is what I have learned through the years of reading articles. If the names Huggins, Weston Price, Mercola, Fife, and even Dr. Oz appear as the expert in any articles related to Dentistry, please hit delete.”

    It’s not that I trust everyone of those people you mentioned in that quote but I’ll tell you my genuine story and experience with dentists.
    I had great problems with my teeth since I was a teenager until my 30s. Or so the dentists kept telling me. I went to dentists twice a year, each time work had to be done which involved fillings for newly formed cavities, and pulling old fillings and redoing them because the filling had either cracked or the tooth was still decaying in many more different places.
    By the time I reached 28, my two front teeth were dead. One was root canaled when I was still a teenager, the other developed an abscess and I was told by the dentist it actually died itself somehow and she was surprised it never hurt me because the abscess was painless, just annoying.
    While trying to fix it, she accidentally broke the abscessed tooth, 1/6th of it in the corner chipped off.. She closed it quickly and put some sort of a filling that filled the broken corner so I didn’t look ridiculous. Little did I know then that this was totally unacceptable. This was my front tooth so it wasn’t going to hold.
    Regardless I knew nothing then and was happy enough something was done. A year from that visit(I left the country) the tooth and the filling on it broke, with even bigger piece missing.
    I had enough. I started researching for a proper dentist that actually cares. I got recommended a dentist and people were raving about his work. So I went. On first examination which included x-rays, he was appalled. He did not believe me I’ve been going to dentists twice a year all my life and he said my mouth looks like I haven’t seen one in 20 years. He said all my teeth with fillings on had decaying teeth underneath, that they look they were either never cleaned properly or were not done in many years, and I needed to redo the root canals of my dead teeth, including redoing the my front two teeth, one of them done only a year ago but apparently very incompetently done.
    When he was re-doing one of them, he said the previous dentist had drilled very very deep, he said he’s never seen such a thing, no wonder it hurt like hell at that time.
    To cut the long story short, they took out all my mercury fillings, cleaned my teeth, redid them all with white fillings, some molars needed crowns, my two front teeth were reconstructed too.
    It took a month for that and I spent every single day in there. I had to travel so I didn’t have a spare time.
    10 years after that the only problem I’ve had is breaking a wisdom tooth which I just got extracted. Despite all the incompetent work I had done in my mouth from previous incompetent dentists, this was just the 2nd tooth extraction I experienced, the previous being another wisdom tooth taken out in my teens. So maybe that’s a plus.

    Since the work done in the last dentist, I have not needed any new fillings in 10 years. I’ve had no more new cavities and my old work held all this time. I still have 30 teeth in my mouth, despite some with crowns but the work is of such quality, including my front two teeth that people get surprised when I tell them.

    So to summarize the long post, visiting a very capable dentist has changed my life. I went from fillings and drillings several times a year for 15years to none in the last 10. Do I hate dentists, yes I hate all those that experienced with my teeth in the first 15 years I’ve been going to them. And I’ll never ever trust any dentist or any medical practitioner just because they went to school. Not everything suits every mind and not everyone is good at it just because they read a few more books.

    And recently, because I moved to another country, I had to visit a new dentist. He x-rayed my teeth, looked at all the major work done and he actually couldn’t stop complementing the work of my previous dentist without me asking. He told me my teeth were in great shape for my age. Surprise :)

    Additionally to that, because I see you, as a dentist, discard Weston Price as well. I want to share another story, not about teeth but about general health. From what I’ve read W.Price was discussing the positive effects of raw milk, butter, fish, grass fed animals, cod liver oil, etc.. on teeth.
    Both my grandmothers and my parents are from very small isolated villages, one of them lived 500km to the nearest populated area. They were very poor and always self sustained themselves which meant they grew everything they put in their mouth themselves besides bread which was home made only for special occasions because in their own words “it takes too long time”.
    In case of one of my grandmothers, her daily diet consisted of daily consummation of raw milk, home made butter, home made feta cheese, home made yoghurt, organically grown animals, lots of pigs, chickens, ducks, sheep and goats. People there eat the entire lot, heads, brains, tongues, livers, hearts, kidneys, you name it. She lived in a place where lots of fruit and obviously organically grown veg could be grown as well and it was part of her diet too. And she made her own wine from grapes :)

    My other grandmother lived in a totally different part of the world, thousands of kilometres away but the same story repeats with her. Everything she ate was home made, raw milk, home made butter were a daily must. She had pigs and cows, no birds but she lived near a huger river and they ate lots of fish weekly, prepared in many nice or disgusting ways like fermented fish, dry super salted fish, or her favourite was fish cooked in some sort of a mixture of eggs and milk. She couldn’t grow much vegetables or many fruit over there but the forests nearby provide abundance of wild berries like wild strawberries, raspberries, black current, etc…and lots and many different types of mushrooms.

    My mother grew up there and she’s a milk, fish and butter addict too. She was diagnosed with a genetic heart condition when she was 60, imagine, no one found out earlier, and the doctors said she’s a medical miracle because no-one lives to that age without having had an operation done. She’s now in her 70s and refused an operation because in her mind if God has made her last that long without modern medicine then why do it. We, the kids, were against, so don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in miracles but so far I don’t doubt a good diet too.

    Both of my grandmothers are now diseased. However they were both almost 95 when they died. One of my grandmother’s sisters that lived in the same village died when she was over 100.
    You may ask what happened to the grandfathers. One died in the war(and the other from TB when he was only 27leaving her with 3 children. Both my grandmothers were both very slim despite what one may call a fat diet due to abundance of raw milk, butter, meat, etc..,
    One of my grandmothers was famous amongst her peers for her beautiful hair even at very old age. My other grandmother had extremely nice skin, nicer than in some young women, without the blemishes and wrinkles that accompany old age, except on her neck of course which got kind of loose by the time she hit 90+. But despite that she always looked 20 years her senior. .

    I can’t remember the health of their teeth because it never crossed my mind to check or ask them about it at the time but as far as I can remember they had teeth they were chewing with :) right before they died. There was and still isn’t dentists in these villages.

    Did I follow the same diet, no. I am lactose intolerant I can’t drink milk the least and raw milk is prohibited here. I despise butter personally. I like cheese and eggs a lot and cheese doesn’t give me the effects of lactose in milk. Organic products are insanely expensive here too so that’s out of my diet as well. Other than that, I try to vary my diet to include everything, veg, fruit, all types of meat, etc..

    So back to oil pulling, I’ve been doing it with coconut oil. I have basic chemistry knowledge, not much but enough to make me think over different things. My limited research shows coconut oil is the least acidic oil, some brand jars having a ph of 7-7.8. So I am not sure where you got your info from about it having a ph of 5. Regardless, I feel my mouth very clean, including my teeth and very fresh. I’ll let you know how it goes in another 10 years. You don’t need to be oil pulling to destroy the health of your teeth. And going to the dentist, for the majority of my life hasn’t fixed them either. I am a clean person and have never neglected my teeth one way or another but they used to be just failing on me 10 years ago for the reasons I explained in the first part of my post – inexperienced and incapable dentists.

    You may not be one of them and I am not attacking you personally but I’ll never find out how capable you are and how creditable your opinion is. We will live to see.

  18. Your comments are less then responsible and do nothing to clear up the array of misinformation and ridiculous claims. if you want to put credible material simply go to the NIH website (National Institute of Health), our pre-minent .gov organization and search their website for oil pulling. There is indeed a study on the subject. Oiling pulling is not touted as a cure-all but it is highly effective for mitigating bacteria and supporting gum health. The study does not use coconut oil.

    • I did mention the studies on oil pulling. All from India, all from the same doctor, all small trials. If a study has come out since the publication of this blog, please feel free to post the link and I am happy to look at it and write an updated blog if necessary.