Periodically we take a sample of a patient's plaque from underneath the gums and look at it under a microscope. There is a difference between a healthy sample and a non-healthy sample. Someone with periodontal disease is likely to have a bad slide. Usually, this condition can be reversed with good home care and visits with our hygienist. However, sometimes this infection persists.
A number of years ago I read a short paragraph about the benefits of orally swishing with a tablespoon of safflower oil for 15 to 30 minutes per day. In some of the patients with the persistent infections I told them to try using the safflower oil swish. In most of these cases I observed a positive effect. Recently, I have seen more talk about oil pulling, so I decided to look more deeply into this matter. I did an internet search and also purchased a book called Oil Pulling Therapy by Dr. Bruce Fife. Dr. Fife gives an overview of holistic dentistry and stresses the importance of dental health to systemic health. He discusses mercury fillings, fluoride, root canals and periodontal disease; he builds the premise that all disease starts in the mouth. This being the case, treatment which addresses the bacterial levels and infections in the mouth is extremely important. His solution is oil pulling.
Oil pulling was discussed over 2000 years ago in Ayurvedic medical texts as a way of cleansing the mouth and helping general health. A practicing Ayurvedic physician, Dr. F. Karach brought this ancient healing method into modern times in the early 1990s. He said "most different diseases could be totally cured without medicines or surgery. With pulling oil treatment I have cured my chronic blood disease with which I suffered for 15 years. It healed in 3 days an acute arthritis which made me lay in bed. Pulling Oil heals headaches, bronchitis, tooth pain, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers and diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, lungs and woman's diseases. It heals diseases of nerves, paralysis, encephalitis and chronic sleeplessness. It prevents the growth of malignant tumors, cuts and heals them".
Soon thereafter, a retired military officer in India became aware of Dr. Karach's paper on what he called pulling oil.Tummala Koteswara Rao was suffering from allergic sneezing for 43 years and asthma for two decades and he said "I tried many methods but could not get cured. I was still looking for a solution. It was at that time I got the article by Dr Karach who proposed 'pulling oil' treatment with Sunflower oil as a cure for all diseases. It was during the last week of December 1992 and started practicing since 3 Jan 1993. My wife and I have been practicing Oil Pulling for over 14 years. After practicing OP for over a year, at the age of 63 I have been cured of allergic sneezing of four decades, asthma of of two decades, sleeplessness, palpitation, allergies due to food items, smells, digestive problems and my wife at 56 cured of over two decades old migraine (headache), three decades old varicose veins, Arthritis, blood pressure, and many other minor ailments. We were suffering from the above diseases for many years obtaining temporary relief from different systems of medical treatment."
In his zeal to make more people aware of this wonderful healing modality, Rao ended up with a weekly newspaper column about oil pulling. Over the years he received many testimonials on the benefits of this technique. People reported improvements and cures with almost every disease known including diabetes, cancer, arthritis, digestive problems, eczema, sinusitis, allergies, infections, fibromyalgia, gum disease, tooth decay and general aches and pains. There have been studies done in India verifying these results. Dentally, there have been studies showing the positive effects of oil pulling on plaque and gingivitis.
From what I have read it seems that most recommend doing oil pulling on an empty stomach first thing in the morning when the bacterial level in the mouth is highest. Take 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil into your mouth and pull and push and suck the oil through your teeth. Do this continually for 15 to 20 minutes. After this amount of time expectorate the oil; do not swallow. Thoroughly rinse your mouth. If you cannot do this continually for the 15 to 20 minutes, expectorate, take more oil and continue. Dr.Karach recommended using sunflower oil. Ayurvedic writings discuss sesame oil. Today many people recommend coconut oil. It seems that any oil will work because it is the interaction of the oil with bacteria that is important. According to Dr. Fife the oil is attracted to the fatty membranes of the bacteria like a magnet. It is the reduction of the bacterial population in the mouth that results in the positive effects of oil pulling.
Is it possible that something so simple can have such a broad positive affect? The newspaper carrying Col. Rao's column asked readers who had tried oil pulling to participate in a survey. Out of 1041 respondents, 89% reported being completely cured of one or more diseases! Considering that there are no adverse side effects outside of a short-term healing crisis, I certainly would recommend trying oil pulling. I would ask those of you who do try it to let me know your results.
© 2015, Mark A. Breiner, DDS
The information presented is for educational purposes only. You should consult a qualified dentist or health practitioner for diagnosis and treatment.