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Not recommended

Sir, with reference to the letter Oil therapy published in your journal (BDJ 2009; 207: 193) we would like to share our experience on this.

We treated a case of severe inflammatory gingival enlargement in a 48-year-old female. She was suffering from swollen and bleeding gums for which was suggested, as treatment, oil pulling (OP) using refined sunflower oil by a friend who was also practising OP. She had performed OP for three months and had observed that her problem was worsening. When we saw her, we noticed generalised gingival enlargement, multiple false deep periodontal pockets and mild sub-gingival calculus deposits. She was healthy and was not taking any kind of medication. We suggested she stop OP and reviewed her case after three weeks; her gingival inflammation had substantially reduced. Following this she was treated with conventional periodontal therapy and her gingival health became normal. We feel because of the retention of oil particles in her sub-gingival tissues her gingival health had worsened.

OP therapy has been shown to reduce plaque index1 as well as Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva.2 We are of the opinion that until the benefits and indications for OP are documented and established scientifically it should not be recommended.


  1. 1

    Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R . Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res 2009; 20: 47–51.

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  2. 2

    Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu M S et al. Effect of oil pulling on streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2008; 26: 12–17.

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Ravikumar, N., Suhas, S. Not recommended. Br Dent J 207, 518 (2009).

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