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Find Out More About Oil Pulling

Is it a waste of time?

What is oil pulling?

Pulling oil is an age-old remedy many people use as a DIY cure for oral issues such as preventing bad breath, regrowing gums, fixing cavities, and getting white teeth.

The practice of oil pulling involves using oil, usually coconut oil, and swish for 10-20 minutes before spitting it out. The idea is that this process loosens and removes toxins and impurities from the mouth.

Is oil pulling safe?

Currently, there is no evidence that it is harmful IF it is not ingested.

What else is proven to help prevent decay but people freak out about it because it’s toxic if ingested in large doses?

According to an article in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine this oil should not be disposed of in the sink due to fear of clogging the pipes. OK…

Is oil pulling healthy or beneficial?

Yes & no and I’ll explain!

Due to the long duration of rinsing, this process can result in the removal of food debris and plaque buildup. This will allow for a more healthy mouth by reducing the risk of getting cavities and gingivitis or gum disease, so this is why I say yes.

I say no because the same result can be seen with swishing water for instance. Simply through the process of cleansing the mouth.

the truth about oil pulling

Oil pulling to get rid of cavities.

There is extensive research being conducted to stop the disease of cavities and unfortunately, oil pulling is not THE answer.

It may be possible to remineralize teeth but once there is actual cavitation in the tooth (missing structure) oil pulling cannot replace it.

Oil pulling for receding gums?

That is a no. The only way to regain gums is through a surgical procedure. Oftentimes, in an unhealthy mouth, the gums are inflamed. During the process of getting them healthy, (reduced inflammation) gums get smaller (shrink). Therefore in the process of getting healthy gums, the result is the illusion of ‘losing or receding gums’

Are you curious to know if you need an electric toothbrush? Here is a great post to answer your question.

electric toothbrush electric vs toothbrush

What about oil pulling for whitening teeth?

Also, a no! There are no whitening components in oils. The only possibility is that the cleaning process of removing food debris and stained plaque will allow for the lighter color of the cleaned teeth to show.

Studies currently available have several discrepancies from not including information on periodontal health or diagnosis, oral hygiene status, patient age, sufficient controls, etc.

I will not deny that people have found benefits from oil pulling. I have seen where oral hygiene is not practiced efficiently, then oil pulling is better than nothing. With substituting conventional oral hygiene instructions, I have not found the proper supportive research to prove there is any benefit.

This practice is used without the proper understanding of its mechanism and I appreciate it when my patients ask me this. I always say that it is easier to follow proper oral hygiene instructions provided by a dentist, which is to brush for at least two minutes twice a day and floss at least nightly. It is more advisable to swish with a safe mouthwash recommended by your dentist or simply follow regular brushing instructions.

For whitening at home, I recommend the use of crest white strips. It’s easy to use and very affordable.

For whitening at home, I recommend the use of crest white strips. It's easy to use by simply placing the strips on the teeth. It does not require any extra equipment, get other tasks done while whitening (multitasking queen here!), there is minimal risk of sensitivity, and most importantly, it is very affordable.

tooth whitening


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