Oil Pulling Threapy

21-01-2014 15:10:42
written By :   Dr.Sharath Asokan MDS, PhD Print
Last modified on 21 January 201415:11

The day dawns for most of us with a bed coffee or a toothbrush in the hand. Even a person who has the coffee first ends up brushing next. Why do we do this? Is it because we have been taught to do this or we have just trained ourselves to do so? Science and the media have taught us the necessity to maintain good oral health. It is believed today that the oral cavity (mouth) is the mirror of the body and maintaining good oral health has become mandatory to keep all our body systems fit. The next question people throw at me, as a dentist is

"How can we maintain or improve oral hygiene? What tooth paste should I use? Toothbrush? Mouthwash? Dental Floss?"

The area of oral hygiene has undergone such humongous developments that a mundane subject has turned into a field of surprising growth and research.

There are umpteen number of indigenous natural medicinal products which deserve due recognition for their contribution to improving oral health. The focus here is on Sesame oil, which is considered as the Queen of Oil Seed Crops.

Oil Pulling Therapy has been flashing on Television screens, magazines, advertisement banners and pamphlets. Oil Pulling or oil swishing is a procedure that involves swishing oil in the mouth for oral and systemic health benefits. The concept of oil pulling therapy is not new and it has been discussed in the Ayurvedic text, Charak Samhita as "Kavala Graha" or "Kavala Gandoosha". For oil pulling therapy, a tablespoon (teaspoon for young children) of sesame oil is taken in the mouth, sipped, sucked and pulled between the teeth for 10 to 15 minutes. The swished oil should not be swallowed as it contains bacteria and toxins. Oil pulling therapy should be followed by tooth brushing and rinsing the mouth. It is preferably done on an empty stomach in the morning. Oil pulling therapy with sesame oil has been extensively used as a traditional Indian folk remedy for many years for strengthening teeth, gums and jaws and to prevent decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums and dryness of throat and cracked lips. There was no scientific proof to accept oil pulling therapy as preventive adjunct and online searches showed only testimonies and literature on personal experiences. With this in mind, scientific research was planned to evaluate the effect of oil pulling therapy on oral health status.

Randomised controlled triple blind trials  were conducted to assess the effect of oil pulling therapy on the following:

  • Dental caries (tooth decay)
  • Plaque induced gingivitis (gum disease)              
  • Halitosis (bad breath)

Participants who did oil pulling constituted the study group and participants with Chlorhexidine (gold standard mouthwash) were taken as the positive control group in the research work. Oil pulling therapy and chlorhexidine mouthwash were equally effective in reduction of Streptococcus mutans (bacteria which causes tooth decay) count over a 6-months time period and they were better than just tooth brushing alone. Considerable reduction in the total colony count of the microorganisms was seen in both the groups, thereby indicating better and healthy gums.

Halitosis has been one oral health problem, which can be definitely cured by Oil Pulling therapy.

Oil Pulling therapy has been equally,  effective like chlorhexidine on bad breath and micro organisms associated with bad breath.

 "Why is oil pulling being popularized?"

Sesame oil has the following advantages over the standard and commercially available mouthwashes: no staining, no lingering after taste and no allergy. It is a natural product which is 5 to 6 times more cost effective than the chemical mouthwashes and is readily available in the household. Considering these benefits, oil pulling therapy using sesame oil promises to be a better preventive home therapy for oral hygiene and health in developing countries like India. Let us make use of this simple and clean nature's gift and revive the habit of our healthy ancestors for oral hygiene and health.

Sesame oil will be the magic bullet in maintaining oral hygiene. Everyday will dawn and start with oil pulling as the first step, with everyone waking up saying "Open Sesame."



Last modified on 21 January 201415:11


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Dr.Sharath Asokan MDS, PhD

Pediatric Dentist KSR Institute of Dental Science & Research. Tiruchengode, Tamilnadu. e-mail: asokansharath@yahoo.com



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