Would you swish with oil to get a whiter smile and fresher breath?
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
Who wouldn't want a quick fix for whiter teeth and fresher breath? These days, we're all interested in shortcuts to help us look and feel better. But would you try rinsing your mouth with oil for a healthier smile?
Although some say it sounds disgusting, others swear by it--even Hollywood celebrities.
We asked the question: If oil pulling a recipe for good health...or just a waste of time?
It requires swishing any natural oil - sesame... coconut... olive - in your mouth for up to 20 minutes every day. But you don't swallow it. Just swish and pull it through your teeth. The practice claims to pull the toxins out of your body and trap them in the oily/saliva solution
Many claim the health benefits outweigh that "yuck' factor. ABC 8News Senior Producer Jacqui Sweigart has been wanting to try it.
"I'm kind of nervous," she says. "A lot of people have said it's very thick and you never get used to. So if I can last five minutes and not get sick that would be great."
Oil pulling is based on an ancient practice in India and you only need one tablespoon. There's even a website - oilpulling.com if you have questions as well as "how to" videos on YouTube.
Supporters believe it has several health benefits including helping with migraines, asthma and bronchitis. Oil pulling is also said to contribute to oral health by fighting bad breath, plaque and tooth decay. Many say oil pulling whitens your teeth.
Sarah Knaup does it every day and so do her kids.
"It feels good," she says. "And helps a lot with my teeth and stuff. It's kind of fun when we do it as a family because we're kind of like, hm, hm hm. It's like a funny thing."
They all started when her son had a poor dental checkup.
"My son had some cavities so we looked at some alternatives that were out there rather than filling his teeth right away."
Local dentist Dr. Scott Gore has only had one patient inquire about oil pulling over the past month and is a bit skeptical.
"From a dentist perspective, I don't think the benefits are nearly as great as what they're indicating. I actually think that if you rinse for 20 minutes with anything, it will reduce the plaque a little bit."
Instead, Gore recommends traditional methods including six month checkups and fluoride
"I just can't see that it's good use of your time to rinse with something that has no scientific documentation whatsoever," he says.
Speaking of time, Sweigart was able to swish for about seven minutes.
"I'll probably try and do 10 tomorrow and work my way up slowly."
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
Have you ever tried oil pulling? What other nontraditional remedies would you be willing to test out to improve your health? Leave a comment here, or chime in on Christina's Facebook page.