The Atlantic

Swishing With Oil for Oral Health: Not Recommended

Oil pulling—the Ayurvedic practice of swishing oil in your mouth—may not be bad for you, but there's little evidence that it cleans teeth and none that it can cure anything else.
Source: Annick Vanderschelden Photography / Getty

The Internet’s new quasi-health obsession is actually very old. Oil pulling—swishing oil  (coconut and sesame seem popular, preferably unrefined) around in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes—is an oral health practice that has been done in India for years and years. It’s mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, one of the key texts of the Indian traditional medicine known as Ayurveda.

It’s also mentioned by kooky celebrity darling Shailene Woodley,and in for beauty website In between recommending eating clay to “clean heavy metals out of your body” and extolling the virtues of getting sunlight on your nether regions, the natural medicine enthusiast says:

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