If you’ve opened a magazine or read a health blog lately, you’ve most likely heard about the increasingly popular practice of oil pulling.
According to proponents of the traditional Ayurvedic remedy, oil pulling eliminates bad breath, prevents gum disease, and makes teeth appear naturally whiter.
Dr. Janice Spada, a general dentist in Sudbury MA, who treats cavities with dental fillings, takes a closer look at oil pulling and whether you can safely do so if you have an amalgam filling.
What Is Oil Pulling?
The pulling processes begins with swishing a tablespoonful of coconut oil in the mouth for between 10 and 20 minutes. As the liquid circulates throughout the mouth, it “pulls” bacteria and toxins from between the teeth, around the gums, and from various hidden crevices.
At the end of the allotted time, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with water. The oil is now saturated with these pulled toxins, giving it a clouded appearance.
A study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine measured the pre- and post-pulling levels of plaque and bacteria, as well as improvements in the modified gingival index, a measure of gum health.
However, the study does not substantiate claims that oil pulling can actually treat or reverse tooth decay. The force created by swishing any liquid in your mouth—not just coconut oil—is sufficient to coax plaque and light stains from the surface of your teeth, creating the appearance of a whiter smile.
What Is an Amalgam Filling?
We commonly refer to an amalgam dental filling as a silver filling. Actually, an amalgam filling does not contain pure silver. It combines liquid mercury with a combination of metals, including copper, zinc, and tin.
In the past, there have been some questions raised about the inclusion of mercury in amalgams, although the FDA has reversed its stance on its safety several times. There have also been questions about the safety of amalgam fillings in patients who have metal allergies.
This raises an interesting question: If oil pulling removes harmful substances from your mouth, and mercury is harmful, can someone with an amalgam dental filling safely try the treatment?
Verdict: Oil Pulling Is Safe With Amalgam Fillings
If you have amalgam fillings, it’s possible that your oral tissues and nerve endings have absorbed traces of mercury.
It is reasonable to believe that over time, oil pulling could feasibly draw the mercury out through the same pathways. Any toxins pulled from the mouth are expectorated rather than remaining in the body.
Do you need a dental filling near Boston, MA? To learn more about treating cavities, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Janice Spada, contact our office at (978) 443-3111. We welcome patients living in Boston, Marlborough, Worcester, Framingham, and the surrounding communities.