Over the past few years, oil pulling has gained popularity among health-conscious individuals who seek out natural ways to manage or treat their health conditions. It is a method that was used by ancient civilizations over 2,000 years ago as a way to improve the health of the teeth and gums.
How Does It Work?
The concept of oil pulling is that the oils provide healing by detoxifying the teeth and gums of harmful bacteria. A tablespoon of natural oil (usually coconut oil) is placed into your mouth and “swished” for 20 minutes. Yes, you heard that right — 20 minutes! The oil is swished until it turns a milky white, and then spit out.
It is believed that this action supposedly draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health.
The Facts about Oil Pulling and Oral Health
Some people believe that pushing and pulling the oil around the teeth will help to reverse tooth decay. Unfortunately, visible, active cavities cannot be reversed and using oil pulling as a way to avoid having a filling may not help. Why? Because the scientific evidence on rebuilding tooth enamel with oil pulling is nonexistent.
That being said, coconut oil does contain lauric acid, which has an antimicrobial effect against the cavity-causing bacteria S. mutans. Reducing levels of S. mutans can help you better manage gum conditions like periodontitis and lower your risk of developing tooth decay in the first place. However, oil pulling should never replace mechanical plaque removal methods like brushing and flossing.
Many people report that oil pulling every day has helped their mouths feel cleaner and fresher and reduced the amount of stain on their teeth. Due to the antimicrobial properties of lauric acid, you can see how halitosis may be easier to manage. Unfortunately, there is yet to be any data on the effectiveness of oil pulling on the color of your teeth.
Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss
If you want to give oil pulling a try, we’ll support you. But we do want to emphasize how effective it is to physically remove plaque in two minutes of brushing and one minute of flossing first, compared to a passive rinsing for 20 minutes.
One of the best preventative steps you can take to keep your smile healthy is to schedule regular checkups every six months. We’ll monitor your oral health and pinpoint any areas of concern before they need treatment.
If you’ve used oil pulling on your teeth, share your experience with us!