Oil Pulling Therapy and Diabetes: Does It Benefit Your Health?

Oil pulling therapy derives from Ayurveda, a holistic healing system developed thousands of years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine maintains that health and wellness are the results of an intricate balance between mind, body and spirit.

Oil pulling is a method of maintaining oral health that involves swishing a teaspoon of oil through the teeth and around the mouth for 10 to 20 minutes each day, and then spitting it out. The results are supposed to include whiter teeth, fresher breath and better overall health.

Fad or Reality?

To the degree that we reach back to ancient proven therapies to address modern health issues, the exploration of Ayurvedic medicine can inform us. Recognizing that Ayurveda was developed based on observations of what worked, rather than through scientific measurement, these therapies should not be dismissed out of hand.

On the other hand, measuring Ayurveda against modern medicine is not inappropriate. Science has solved many riddles that ancient peoples could only wonder at.

A lot of attention has been paid in the recent past to oil pulling. Some question whether it has any validity in treating ailments of the body, while others want it to be the cure to too many ailments. Careful testing and observation, with a dose of common sense, can help us determine the truth of what oil pulling offers.

How it Works

Using sesame oil, coconut oil or sunflower oil, put a teaspoonful in the mouth and gently swish through the mouth for 10 to 20 minutes. Be very careful not to inhale any, as this could lead to a form of pneumonia known as lipoid pneumonia, which arises from the presence of very small amounts of oily substances within the bronchial passages.

After the appropriate amount of time, spit the oil out, either into the garbage or into a cup with water and detergent, to break up the oil. (Spitting into the sink or toilet may cause backups in your plumbing systems.) Do not swallow the oil, which contains all of the bacteria that have been cleaned from the teeth.

The benefits of oil pulling appear to be the result of friction of the oil moving against the teeth and tissues of the mouth, creating a soap-like effect. This apparently causes a reduction in the amount of bacteria in the mouth. The oil can generally penetrate about a millimeter deep into the tissue. (Since gingivitis and other gum diseases are 4 to 5 millimeters deep, this is not an effective treatment for them.)

The health of the mouth can impact the rest of the body. Periodontal disease in men can lead to erectile dysfunction. Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, can be impacted by bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth. Sinus and ear infections, throat infections and pneumonia can all be impacted by infection within the mouth. Studies have shown that oil pulling does contribute to a healthy mouth, just as brushing and flossing does, and improvement in these areas would likely be similar.

However, it has yet to be proven that other systemic health problems are improved through this technique.

Can Oil Pulling Cure Diabetes?

In a word, no. Can it help those with diabetes live a healthier life? That has yet to be proved.

Modern methods are equally or more effective in clearing the mouth of bacteria, with a greater lasting benefit. Substituting regular oil pulling for tooth brushing and mouthwash may not provide any additional benefit, but it shouldn’t hurt.

Sources: Jezebel.com, ScienceBasedMedicine.org, Huffington Post Health, Cleveland Clinic
Photo: Pixabay

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can be tough. There are so many factors that can affect blood sugar, like exercise, food, illness,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

Stomach aches and other gastrointestinal pains can be signs of a bigger problem. One such problem for diabetics is gastroparesis, or delayed...

Two of the most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst and increased urine production. These symptoms are so prevalent in diabetics that...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have successfully competed in the Olympic Games. Their amazing stories prove that diabetes is no match for...

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children....

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 7 million people in the United States have diabetes but don’t know it yet. These people...