Will oil pulling really make your mouth healthier?

Remember flossing and brushing/Credit: BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
Don’t forget flossing and brushing. Credit: BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

Everybody is talking about it, and soon everybody will probably be doing it: Oil pulling is the latest trend to hit the health stratosphere. But what is it, and does it work?

Basically, oil pulling, or oil swishing, is using oil as a kind of mouthwash. It could be olive, sesame or coconut oil — it doesn’t really matter. You need to keep it in your mouth for 20 minutes (yes, 20 minutes!) and then the miracles will start happening, supposedly: It’s said to benefit your oral hygiene, whiten your teeth and, according to some sources, also help you fight several diseases.

Sound too good to be true? It probably is. There’s no actual evidence to prove the benefits of oil pulling. One study hints that it will be good for your mouth’s health, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the oil that does the trick. Rinsing your mouth with water might have the same effect.

We talked to dentist Dr. Jeffrey Rappaport from Lavaan Dental Spa about oil pulling to find out the truth about this trend.

The benefits

“An oil-based rinse will remove plaque and dental debris from underneath your gums using a more chemical process, versus a mechanical process you’re getting out of flossing or brushing. As far as whitening, I will not believe that it will have any effect on the teeth.”

The oil

“I would not recommend going into your cabinet and finding whatever type of oil you have there and rinsing it around your mouth, but I know that there are approved oil-based rinses in other countries in Europe. They are actually making their way over to the United States. There’s one called Olioactiv. It utilizes the [oil-pulling] technology. The oil base will pull the debris and the plaque out from underneath your gums. The best thing that I can say about this technology is that it’s a great supplement. The gold standard is always going to be flossing every day, brushing every day and getting your regular three-month cleaning and examination.”

The research

“I don’t know if there’s actually much research behind it. But I know that with these oil-based rinses, there’s a lot of studies behind them showing that the rinses have decreased the amount of new bacteria in the mouth — but again, used as a supplement. I think there’s a misconception that you can just do this, but it only works as a good supplement to traditional care. If you want to get the benefits of a oil-based rinse, use an ADA-approved oil based rinse. I cannot recommend going into your cabinet and using some coconut oil to rinse your mouth. I just don’t think that the long-term studies are there.”


Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…


Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…


Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.


Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…


'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…


'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.


Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.


Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.


Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…


The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…


Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.