You may have heard about oil pulling — it’s all over the media lately. Many people who are proponents of oil pulling say that it can help whiten your teeth, and maybe even transform your oral health overall. If you’ve got questions about it, this blog was written for you! Read on to find out everything you need to know about oil pulling.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an Indian health remedy that has been used since ancient times. The actual practice is incredibly simple: You simply swish a small amount of oil, usually around a tablespoon, around your mouth for a prolonged period. Most people who do oil pulling recommend coconut oil, but any vegetable based oil is generally considered to be okay for this. Most recommendations say that you need to keep the coconut oil moving around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes to get the full desired effect.
What Are the Benefits of Oil Pulling?
There’s no proof that oil pulling is beneficial, at least not in terms of scientific proof. People who believe in oil pulling say that it has several major benefits, including:
- It helps kill harmful bacteria inside your mouth
- It helps whiten your teeth
- It helps reduce plaque
- It strengthens your teeth
- It helps reverse cavities
- It helps reduce bad breath
People who are big fans of oil pulling say that the coconut oil kills the bacteria, and then contains it until you spit the oil out. Proponents of oil pulling also say that the coconut oil can lift stains off your teeth. While these benefits haven’t been proven, it’s important to make your own decision about oil pulling after talking to your dentist about it.
Is it Harmful to do Oil Pulling?
As mentioned above, there’s not enough scientific research on oil pulling to definitively determine whether it’s harmful or not. Oil pulling may not necessarily be harmful, especially if you make sure to get rid of every bit of the oil by spitting it out. However, you have to consider the fact that when you do oil pulling you’re potentially swishing oil filled with bacteria around your mouth for 20 minutes. In contrast, when you brush your teeth, you’re brushing and rinsing in about two minutes. This means that when you brush, that bacteria isn’t lingering in your mouth for nearly as long.
Another thing that might be potentially harmful — or at least inconvenient — about oil pulling is that it takes a lot of effort to vigorously swish oil around your mouth for 20 minutes. This can put a real strain on your mouth muscles!
So, is oil pulling something you want to try? It’s very important to talk to your dentist about it first. The one thing that’s absolutely certain is that oil pulling will never be a substitute for good oral hygiene and regular appointments at your dentist.
Continue to see your dentist twice a year for thorough dental cleanings, and brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, every single day. Be sure to floss between every tooth every night. If you have any dental devices, for example, a removable retainer or a removable bridge, make sure that you clean it carefully every day. Every time you place your dental device in your mouth, you could be transferring harmful bacteria into your mouth to cause cavities and gum disease.
The Final Verdict: Try Oil Pulling or Not?
Overall, it’s something that only you and your dentist can decide as a team. Oil pulling is a very popular topic today, but it may very well be one of those trends that’s soon forgotten. Do your research, look for scientific results when they finally appear and work with your dentist to keep your teeth and gums healthy.