Every so often, a patient asks us about oil pulling. Those who practice oil pulling claim that it promotes good oral hygiene, whitens your teeth and improves your overall dental health. But, can’t the same be said of a good, old-fashioned toothbrush? Today we’ll discuss what we really think of oil pulling, how it works, and if it’s right for you.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic process that has gained popularity in recent years thanks to social media. Some have even claimed that the practice of oil pulling has restored decayed teeth, whitened teeth, cured bad breath and reduced inflammation that can lead to conditions such as eczema, arthritis, and gum disease.
How does oil pulling work?
The basic concept of oil pulling is that you swish oil around your mouth for about twenty to thirty minutes. If you can make it that long, you then spit it out. This process suggests that by swishing oil around your mouth, you are pulling bad bacteria off your teeth and gums. If you want to give it a try, follow these steps:
Step 1: Put 1-2 teaspoons of oil in your mouth. Organic coconut, sunflower, or sesame oils are the most often recommended.
Step 2: Swish for 20-30 minutes. The coconut oil will get thicker the longer you swish.
Step 3: Spit oil into a trashcan. Don’t spit into the sink, for the same reason you don’t want to pour oil or grease down the drain. It’ll clog your pipes.
Step 4: Rinse well with warm water. If you still have the taste in your mouth, you can rinse with warm saltwater. For fresher breath, you can use peppermint essential oil.
Does oil pulling work?
Some people swear by oil pulling and claim that it whitens their teeth and reduces plaque. But in order to see these benefits, you really do have to swish oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes a day. Sounds easy right? Unfortunately, many people find this rather difficult as the oil will double in size and the consistency starts to fill a little too gross.
You can often get the same benefits by chewing sugar-free gum, swishing with an alcohol-free mouthwash (as recommended by the American Dental Association), or just rinsing with water for 20 minutes a day.
Oil Pulling or Teeth Brushing?
We do agree that oil pulling may remove some plaque, but we also truly believe in the power of a good toothbrush. Plaque is best removed with pressure – pressure that can typically be met with a toothbrush, floss, and dental tools during your semi-annual dentist appointment.
Nothing can replace a trip to the dentist. Those annual or semi-annual dental check-ups are important to get X-rays that give your dentist a clear picture of your mouth and identify problems; conduct oral cancer screenings; and address other typical issues that we find during regular appointments such as cavities, broken or loose teeth, jaw pain, etc. So feel free to give oil-pulling a try, but continue to brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, use mouthwash and chew sugar-free gum if you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
With all of that said, I think it’s pretty clear where we stand on the subject of oil pulling, but if you have further questions or concerns, we’d be more than happy to talk with you more. If it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen the dentist, call the best dentist in North Raleigh today and schedule your appointment. New patients are always welcome, and we are proud to provide dental care for your entire family. Don’t wait until you have a dental emergency, call our office today!