Oil Pulling is an alternative practice where typically sesame, sunflower, olive or coconut oil is ‘swished’ around the mouth for 20 minutes to disinfect the mouth and prevent tooth decay and gum infections. While Oil Pulling is a growing trend, it’s nothing new - it’s actually a type of Ayurvedic medicine that dates back 3000 years. Although there are some studies to show a decrease in bacterial levels in the mouth from Oil Pulling, research is limited, and questions have been raised about the purity of oils used. The Harvard Medical Schoolfound that one out of five Ayurvedic herbal products produced in south Asia contained harmful levels of lead, mercury or arsenic so choosing organic, extra virgin oils for this practice is essential. Needless to say, Oil Pulling should never replace tooth brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist.
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