What Is 'Oil Pulling?' Doctor Explains While Karen Tries It

What Is 'Oil Pulling?' Doctor Explains While Karen Tries It

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PHILADELPHIA -

There is an ancient health practice that has become the latest fad in feeling good! It's called "oil pulling."

Basically, you swish special oil, like coconut oil, around in your mouth for 20 minutes a day.

People who swear by it say it pulls bacteria out of your mouth, whitens your teeth, freshens your breath and can even help heal disease.

FOX 29's Karen Hepp has tried this before and demonstrated on "Good Day Philadelphia" Friday morning by swishing coconut oil in her mouth.

Later, we checked back in with her to see how it was going and chatted with physician and medical columnist Dr. Nina Radcliff.

Dentists say oil pulling does not replace brushing and flossing.

Radcliff said she thinks it should actually be called oil swishing. She noted that the pulling technique stems from ancient teachings 5,000 years ago, and notes that this was a time when they didn't have toothpaste, mouthwash or dentists.

As for claims that the oil can do things like ward off leukemia and other types of diseases, the doctor said, "I think those types of claims are irresponsible."

She added, "I do think that it is possible for it to clear the bacteria because these oils, they do get rid of bacteria and they can sit there and reduce inflammation. But they have not been shown or proven to be done in the mouth. So, to make this type of claim is taking a little bit of a step and too much leeway with that."

For more details, hear what Radcliff had to say about oil pulling in the video clips above.

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