Here are some key data excerpts obtained through research, documented in this paper titled “Effect of Oil Pulling on Plague and Gingivitis”
No adverse reactions to any hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity were noticed during the study. The resultant changes in the plaque scores have been summarized in Tables 2, accompanied by Figure 2. There was a net decline in mean plaque scores from baseline to 45 days amounting to 0.81±0.41 (p<0.01). The greatest reduction in plaque scores was noted at the examinations between 15 and 30 days (0.37). Though the decline in plaque scores at 15 days was not significant, the rest of the differences were highly significant.
The study consisted of 10 male subjects, who were assessed for plaque and gingivitis at baseline, 15, 30 and 45 days. On few occasions there have been increase in individual plaque scores as shown by the underlined scores, but there was a net decline in the mean plaque scores throughout 45 days. On one occasion the gingivitis score for one subject remained constant from baseline to 15 days. But even the gingival index scores showed a declining trend from baseline to 45 days. The mean
plaque scores from baseline to 15, 30 and 45 days were 3.46± 0.21, 3.38± 0.26, 3.02± 0.31 and 2.65± 0.36 respectively. The mean gingivitis scores from baseline to 15, 30 and 45 days were 0.72± 0.30, 0.59± 0.30, 0.48± 0.21 and 0.33± 0.16 respectively.
At baseline (T0) the mean gingivitis score and SD was 0.72±0.30. After 15 days (T1) the mean gingivitis score and SD was 0.59±0.27. After 30 days (T2) the mean gingivitis score and SD was 0.48±0.21. After 45 days (T3) the mean gingivitis score and SD was 0.33±0.16. There was a net declinein gingivitis scores from baseline to 45 days. All the comparisons from T0 to T3 were highly significant. The highest reduction being between T0 to T3 (0.7180 to 0.3260). Unlike the plaque scores, not even in a single instance, was there a rise in the gingival index scores throughout the study period.
Though Oil Pulling has resulted in a significant reduction in Plaque and gingivitis, it can’t be considered as a replacement for tooth brushing, but can definitely be a supplemental oral hygiene aid. The most objectionable part of this procedure is that, it has to be performed early in the morning, on empty stomach. Though all the subjects in this study complied with this during the study period, it can’t be assured that they will perform this procedure lifelong. The results of the questionnaire
indicated that 80% of the study subjects were willing to perform this procedure lifelong. It takes a lot of determination on part the subjects to master this procedure and perform it on a regular basis. Unless and until the subjects are sufficiently motivated, Oil Pulling can be rarely voluntarily accepted. More over if the subjects are disabled, handicapped, its difficult for them to adopt this procedure.
The most wonderful part of Oil Pulling is that, it can be performed using any oil easily available at homes. Refined sunflower oil or any other cooking oil for that matter is a common house hold commodity in most of the Indian homes. Hence the material for oil pulling is easily accessible to most of the Indian population right at their homes. This is a therapy that can be practiced right at home, without any expenses, and has a huge storehouse of benefits.(11)
Data from other studies
No reports have been mentioned in the dental literature about studies on oil pulling though this was a widely practiced procedure. Khalessi AM et al. conducted a study to assess the oral health efficacy of Persica mouthwash containing an extract of S. persica, and found that it resulted in a 20-26% reduction in plaque accumulation.(12) This is in accordance with our study, where we also have noted reduction in plaque index scores after oil pulling.
In a study by Putt MS et al assessing the efficacy of alum containing mouth rinse, 22% reduction in plaque and 13% reduction in gingivitis was noted . At both 2 and 4 week examinations, the alum group had lower plaque thickness scores than the placebo group, but neither reduction attained statistical significance. In the present study the reduction of plaque scored from baseline to 15 days was not significant, whereas rest all reductions were statistically significant.
According to Tooth brush studies by Stoltze K the reduction in percentage sites with visible plaque was 8% in the manual toothbrush group and 30% in the Electric toothbrush group.(13) For approximal sites the corresponding figures were 10% and 35%. The mean reduction in gingivitis were 8% and 9% after 6 weeks, with all sites, whereas for the approximal sites reductions were 9% and 11% respectively. The results are in concurrence with our study, except for the fact that Oil Pulling has resulted in a far greater reduction in gingivitis, than the manual or electric tooth brushes.
In a study by Tritton CB and Armitage GC(3) tooth brushing has reduced plaque scores by 11-27% and gingivitis by 8-23%. By oil pulling, in the present study plaque scores have reduced by 18-30% and gingivitis has reduced by 52-60%. Hence reduction in plaque is comparable to previous studies, whereas reduction in gingivitis has been far superior. Being an indigenous procedure of Ayurveda this has a wide scope if properly utilized.
One important factor which requires discussion at this juncture is the “Hawthorne effect”- a positive change in the behaviour of a subject as a result of the special attention and status received from participation in an investigation.(14) Similarly it has been observed that oral hygiene may improve during a clinical trial as a result of anticipation of oral examinations which occur as part of study participation.(15) We agree that this effect might have played its part in our present study, which was of a short duration. If not elimination, the only way by which we could have minimized Hawthorne effect was by increasing the duration of the study.
Personal thoughts after day 6:
I am still sick from yesterday. Another night of sleep should do it.
Still oil pulling the first thing in the morning.
I do notice that the inflammation of my gums is decreasing and less noticeable. It is not that apparent, but given of what I have seen, should I do this for a longer term duration, it is possible that I can receive very tangible benefits for my oral health.
The paper above is very readable and well structured. Do take a look at the interesting results and decide for yourself.
4 more days till official experiment reporting ends!