I ought to begin by saying that few things get my heart racing like the words “natural” and “treatment.”
I am the kind of undercover New york city new-ager who starts my day with a shot of chlorophyll, uses antiperspirant (in location of aluminum-containing antiperspirant), and, when things fail, will think to myself, “Oh, the eclipse.” So when I heard that everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to my living-under-the-proverbial-rock-of-med-school friend was oil-pulling their way to whiter teeth and better skin, suffice it to state my interest was piqued.
Oil Pulling to Whiten Teeth
For those unfamiliar with the Ayurvedic practice – which has actually been credited as a possible cure-all for whatever from headaches and allergies to hormone imbalances and acne in recent months– it involves swishing a high quality food-grade oil in your mouth (sesame, olive, or coconut, for instance) for twenty minutes, then spitting it out. The ancient cleansing method is suggested to eliminate bacteria and bacteria and, along the method, supposedly detoxifying the body’s lymph nodes, glands, as well as skin by default.
For all the hype, many physicians, consisting of Andrew Weil, M.D., the holistic health master and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine of the College of Medication at the University of Arizona, stay doubtful of oil pulling’s broader claims. “Convincing proof of [its] positive impacts on look, consisting of acne, or total health is sorely doing not have,” writes Weil over email. “Any health advantages connected with the practice have yet to be proven definitively.”
Oil pulling is an olden solution rooted in Ayurvedic medication that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums. It has the added result of lightening teeth naturally and evidence even shows that it might be helpful for gum health and that particular oils may assist combat harmful bacteria in the mouth!
The one area where released research studies about oil pulling have actually started to emerge remains in the arena of oral health. Intrigued, but not entirely convinced, I call Pratima Raichur, the New York City Ayurvedic professional whose workplaces remain in SoHo.
Like many Ayurvedic professionals, Raichur credits the ritual with lowering plaque, preventing gingivitis, as well as controling bad breath. That’s because, inning accordance with oil pulling’s proponents, plaque is made up of colonized bacteria, which are surrounded by fatty membranes that are drawn in to the similarly fatty compounds in, for example, coconut oil– loosening them from the surface of the tooth and lifting them away as you swish, which might likewise account for the appearance of whiter teeth.
The American Dental Association stays skeptical. “The research studies that have been published on the subject of oil pulling and oral health have some considerable drawbacks”– including the lack of a control group to evaluate whether or not the mere act of swishing breaks up the bacteria through agitation, or if it was triggered by the oil– says Edmond Hewlett, D.D.S., a teacher of restorative dentistry at UCLA School of Dentistry.
Still, as a drinker of copious quantities of coffee, I had to question. With no negative effects of note, wasn’t it at least worth a harmless tooth-brightening, skin-clarifying trial run?
This was how, on a recent Saturday early morning, I discovered myself standing in front of my sink with a teaspoon of strengthened organic coconut oil in hand.
Pressing the oil – which rapidly liquifies into a thin, unsavory liquid– around my mouth was type of fun at first, and in an attempt to multitask, I hopped into the shower while I continued to swish. At 3 minutes, nevertheless, I could feel my tongue starting to tire itself.
Ultimately, I made it through the twenty minutes– which, after a few more days of practice, ended up being easier to accomplish. (Side note: Here is what I believe may be a really genuine secondary advantage of 20 minutes of swishing every day – more powerful facial muscles, i.e., a physical new look.) By midweek, my teeth felt a little smoother and my lips were less dry, although my skin stayed unchanged.
At work on day 4 of my oil-pulling experiment, Vogue.com’s appeal director, Catherine Piercy, and culture editor, Thessaly La Force, communally agreed that, in spite of the previously mentioned excessive amounts of coffee consumed, my teeth look really white. So white, in fact, that Thessaly mused, “possibly I should start oil pulling …” before roaming back to her desk. Feeling that a lot more motivated, I switched out my conventional tooth brush for a Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric tooth brush the next night.
A full week-and-a-half into my brand-new oral health program– equivalent parts previous and future, nature and technology – I retired the coconut oil entirely in an unmatched relocation. Swishing for twenty, it turns out, is quite labor extensive. And in the words of Hewlett: “Why would you spend 20 minutes oil pulling when you can brush your teeth for two?”
If I’m being perfectly honest, I ‘d also developed something of a fixation with the Sonicare’s little whirring bristles.
As for the coconut oil, it’s not a total waste: I’ll be saving it for the bath instead.
What Does Other to Experienced Oil Puller Say
Though some oil pullers on the Internet claim drastic life modifications from their practice (one “yoganonymous” says it adds to better sleep and controlled menstrual cycle), I could not support these claims after this week. Much better oral health? I can see that; my mouth felt pretty cleansed after receiving all this attention. But preventing heart disease? I think there are other, more closely-related elements included there, like household history and cheeseburgers. Like no one gets a heart attack and states, “I must’ve been oil pulling.”