You may have heard about the latest trend in DIY dental hygiene, something called oil pulling. It may be new to you, but it’s actually a very old folk remedy that involves swishing edible oil in your mouth. Adherents claim that oil pulling whitens teeth, promotes good dental hygiene, and even improves one’s overall health.
Is oil pulling good for you? Your Airdrie dentist has the real story.
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling is a simple process that involves swishing your mouth with a tablespoon of organic oil for five to twenty minutes a day. Followers of this technique suggest using coconut, sesame, sunflower, or other edible oils. You should perform this routine every morning before breakfast, on an empty stomach. At the end of the process, the oil thins and becomes a milky white. You can then spit it out of your mouth and rinse with warm saline water. Normal brushing is then encouraged.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
The oil pulling technique is a holistic approach that originated in ancient India more than 3,000 years ago as part of a healing practice. It’s still practiced throughout India and southern Asia.
The herbal oil used in oil pulling is believed to pull toxins from the mouth, thus the name. Proponents claim that oil pulling not only detoxes and cleans the mouth, but also reduces plaque, cures bad breath, whitens teeth, and reduces inflammation that can lead to gum disease and other undesirable conditions.
Not surprisingly, oil pulling is popular among supporters of natural remedies and alternative medicine. Moreover, while definitive statistics are hard to come by, there have been some studies that appear to confirm these health benefits.
Critics of oil pulling claim that similar benefits can come from swishing with mouthwash or even plain water for the same length of time. The point is to increase saliva to dilute the concentration of plaque so that it doesn’t stick to your teeth.
There are also some notable adverse effects of oil pulling. Many people who practice oil pulling complain of dry mouth, increased thirst, sore mouth muscles, and a loss of taste sensation. For these reasons – and the lack of definitive research on the subject – the American Dental Association does not recommend oil pulling as a regular practice. The Canadian Dental Association does not have an official position on the practice.
Oil Pulling Shouldn’t Replace Regular Cleanings and Checkups
Even if oil pulling has some beneficial effects, it should not replace traditional dental hygiene. The ADA recommends brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste for a full two minutes twice a day, as well as flossing. You need to use some amount of pressure to fully remove plaque from your teeth, which you get from brushing and flossing.
Also, you need to maintain a routine of dental checkups. You should see your Airdrie dentist, Dr. Jennifer Buchanan, twice a year to examine and clean your teeth. That’s the key to good dental hygiene and a whiter smile!
Talk to Your Airdrie Dentist About Oil Pulling
If you have questions about oil pulling or other dental hygiene matters, call or visit the expert staff at You First Dental. We’ll help you decide if oil pulling is right for you.