What Is oil pulling and does it offer benefits to dental hygiene?

The practice of gargling with oil and then spitting it out is referees as oil pulling and its practice dates back from the Ayurveda of ancient Indian folk medicine. It usually involves coconut oil, sunflower oil or sesame seed oil. Rinsing should be continued for perhaps 5 to 20 minutes. There are plenty of testimonials available online from people who praise its use, but scientific evidence is lacking. One recent scientific review found that oil pulling might be as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash in reducing plaque. But on the contrary University of Oxford said: ‘At present, there isn’t enough information about the benefits and potential harms of oil pulling to help us decide whether or not we should take on daily oil pulling, in addition to tooth brushing.

Are there any potential downsides of oil pulling practice?

There are few reported side effects from oil pulling, but some have drawn attention to case reports of lipoid pneumonia associated with oil pulling or mineral oil aspiration. Stomach upset has also been reported.  

Is oil pulling an alternative to brushing or other dental hygiene practices?  

Though some oil pulling advocates say it can be used instead of tooth brushing, many say it should be used together with regular dental hygiene practices. There is no evidence to support it as a substitute to tooth brushing. The American dental association has stated that there is insufficient research to support the practice of oil pulling.