oil pulling for oral health benefits

Oil Pulling For Oral Health – What You Need To Know

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Oil Pulling For Oral Health- A Guide

Have you heard of oil pulling for oral health? Humans are always seeking out ways to better their lives. That’s why we always want to keep up with the trends in the beauty and health industry. Over time, we’ve come to discover tested and trusted strategies that can help to boost our oral health. One such technique is oil pulling for oral health, a method that is touted to whiten teeth and improve your dental well-being.

But are there any oil pulling benefits? If so, what could be the best oil for oil pulling? Read along to find out what you need to know about the oil pulling teeth technique.

What is oil pulling?

The American Dental Association (ADA)​ explains oil pulling as the taking of edible oils such as olive or coconut and swishing it throughout your mouth for a period of time. Swishing with oil can last for 1-5 minutes but you will find cases where the procedure lasts up to 20 minutes. The practice is popular in India and other parts of Asia.

Oil pulling has a connection with Ayurveda which takes root in India. According to some studies, there are suggestions that this practice helps to eliminate dental bacteria and enhance your oral health. There are claims from alternative medicine enthusiasts that oil pulling can also remedy some diseases.

Although we are yet to understand how this procedure plays out in the body, there are claims that oil pulling works by “pulling” bacteria out of your mouth. It could also help in gum moisturizing while boosting saliva production. Some of these oils have properties that help in reducing inflammation too.

Best Oils for Oil Pulling

The best oils for oil pulling are food grade safe oils. That way you can make sure it is safe from harsh chemicals. Perhaps the most ideal is coconut oil because it has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Other great oils to use for oil pulling are sesame oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and palm oil.

I personally like GuruNanda Oil Pulling Oil. It is a natural mouthwash with a blend of coconut, sesame, sunflower, & peppermint oils. GuruNanda is a refreshing oral rinse that helps bad breath, healthy gums and whitens teeth.

I also love these cute oil pulling packets from CocoPull. There is something about the packet version that seems to motivate me to do it. They contains unrefined coconut oil and peppermint oils. Of course these packets have the same great benefits of oil pulling like eliminate bad breath, reduce inflammation, reduce bacteria and whiten teeth.

Oil pulling benefits that will interest you

So far, more research is necessary as debates continue to grow over the true oil pulling benefits. But here are some ways that oil pulling can improve your dental health –

  • Improvement of gum health and inflammation reduction

It is common knowledge that plaque bacteria can cause your gums to become inflamed, swollen, and red. This is a condition known as gingivitis that makes your gums bleed easily. But there are findings that suggest that this inflammation can be reduced with coconut oil. A study conducted in 2015 found that coconut oil pulling helps to reduce plaque and can also boost your gum health.

  • Coconut oil pulling – Reduces bacteria

Coconut oil is arguably the best oil for oil pulling. There are many reasons that plaque builds up in your mouth. This is down to the presence of streptococcus mutans, one of the harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

60 adults were involved in a study where they had to oil pull with coconut oil daily for 10 minutes. The results showed that streptococcus mutans in saliva were significantly reduced after 2 weeks in contrast with distilled water. But more studies are necessary to determine how effective coconut oil is in contrast with other oils.

  • Gingivitis and plaque reduction

Gum inflammation is what leads to gingivitis. If plaque bacteria comes under attack from your immune system, you will likely experience gingivitis. 20 adolescent boys were involved in a study that sought to determine how sesame oil pulling affected their plaque-induced gingivitis when compared with a chlorhexidine mouthwash. The study showed that both methods were effective. Similar benefits have been observed with coconut oil.

  • Teeth whitening

While we are yet to lay hands on concrete scientific evidence to prove the teeth whitening effects of oil pulling, there is anecdotal evidence. This seems to suggest that oil pulling can get rid of teeth stains. Using this method to whiten your teeth may be worth a try.

  • Managing halitosis

Your mouth bacteria produce certain gasses and chemicals that give off a bad smell. This is known as halitosis or bad breath. Bad breath is linked to many oral conditions such as mouth infections, cavities, inadequate dental hygiene, and gingivitis and periodontal disease. Your ability to eliminate these types of bacteria means that your dental health will see a massive turnaround. This will also help you to avoid bad breath or manage it. 

Findings from a study prove that oil pulling can help to get rid of bad breath causes and produces results just like a chlorhexidine mouthwash. Coconut oil pulling may also have similar results but we will need scientific studies to prove that.

How to Oil Pull for Oral Health

There’s nothing difficult about oil pulling. If you’re looking to get started, here is how to oil pull –

  • Get a good essential oil, preferably coconut oil, and take just one tablespoon.
  • For 5 to 20 minutes, swish the oil so that it reaches every part of your mouth. You may have to start with a smaller amount of time and work your way up until your mouth muscles are strong enough to swish for 20 minutes.
  • After that, pour the oil out. (Not in the sink, read below)
  • Finally, go ahead to brush your teeth.

Be careful when spitting out the oil and we advise that you do so inside a piece of paper. Spitting out the oil into your sink can cause your pipes to become clogged due to the presence of fat. You don’t have to use too much force when swishing the oil to avoid stressing your facial muscles. 

Decide the best time to do oil pulling but many people like to do so before brushing their teeth every morning. Others prefer to do it while having their morning bath in the shower.

The Bottom Line 

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t abandon other vital mouth care techniques such as regular flossing and brushing. Using coconut oil to do oil pulling simply helps to keep your teeth and gums in top shape. It also reduces your risk of developing conditions like gingivitis, as well as cavities and halitosis.

Oil pulling is a great strategy that complements other forms of mouth care. It can boost your dental hygiene which is why we advise that you give it a trial. Your permanent teeth deserve the best care because you can’t get them back if you lose them. Ensure that you use only tried and trusted products purchased from reputable brands. Do not hesitate to seek professional advice from your dentist if you have any dental concerns.

Kelly Hancock, RDH

This article and all advice on this website, Toothbrush Life, is intended to help people gain knowledge about general oral health topics. No articles or advice on this website are intended to replace professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or qualified healthcare provider to help you with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment.
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