Oil Pulling: I Need to Put What On My Teeth?!

olive-oil-356102_1280-187x187Oil pulling is a natural remedy that supposedly can help drastically improve your dental health. But what all does it entail? Does it really work?

What Is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is essentially using coconut oil (don’t worry—it’s not motor oil) as a mouthwash. You put about a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and then swish it around for about 20 minutes. While it may be difficult at first, as the oil starts out solid, but soon it will warm up and become very liquidy in your mouth.

The coconut oil is supposed to help remove harmful bacteria from your mouth, such as plaque. The bacteria latch onto the coconut oil and then leave your teeth and mouth. This can lead to whiter teeth and fresher breath, as well as less plaque and gingivitis.

Technique
Start off going very slowly. You will be pulling for about 20 minutes, so you don’t want to tire your mouth out. You don’t need to work your mouth; just gently swish. You should not swallow, but also don’t spit in your sink, as the coconut oil will harden again and then clog your sink.

Any Oil Will Do
If you don’t have access to coconut oil, that is okay. It is also possible to use sesame oil and sunflower oil. Essentially any natural oil you choose should work, but most people prefer coconut oil thanks to its many other health benefits and its relatively pleasant taste.

Not a Miracle Worker
Although oil pulling can help reduce bacteria and be a healthy and beneficial addition to your dental hygiene routine, it is in no way a miracle worker or a substitute for regular dental hygiene. You should always continue to brush and floss your teeth (most people prefer to brush after they “pull”).

However, oil pulling, when combined with other regular care, can help your mouth become much healthier. There are multiple studies that back this up—just not any that corroborate the idea that oil pulling can completely rebuild teeth or fill cavities.

If you’re curious and want to learn more about this natural remedy, talk to your dentist.

Posted in: General Dentistry

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