The Oil Pulling craze: What are the true dental benefits?

It’s becoming popular, but is it for you?oil-pulling-2 - Copy

With its popularity growing and although it’s not new, we wanted to share some information about Oil pulling and dental hygiene.

Original Article from www.DentistryIQ.com by Becky Speer, RDH.

What is it? Oil pulling is a home remedy that involves putting about one tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swishing with it for 20 minutes. Yes, I said 20 minutes! The name comes from the mechanical action of pushing and pulling the oil between your teeth as you swish. As you do so, the microbes are pulled free from your oral cavity. You are to continue to do this until the oil turns milky white. After about 20 minutes, the solution becomes filled with bacteria and microbes. You then expectorate and rinse your mouth with water.

Coconut oil seems to be the oil of choice because it contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial actions. The studies using sesame oil show that bacteria in the oral cavity was reduced, however, it was less effective than chlorohexidine.

As dental professionals, should we recommend or discourage oil pulling?

We have hundreds of thousands of bacteria in our mouths, and if swishing with coconut oil for 20 minutes reduces that number, then why not? There are items on the market that are full of chemicals, such as alcohol-based mouth rinses, that our patients are using every day. If you can stand to rinse your mouth for 20 minutes with oil, no harm no foul.

The key factor that we as health-care providers need to emphasize to our patients who are curious about oil pulling is what the procedure’s place is in their overall oral care. It will be important that patients understand that this does not replace routine dental visits. This is an adjunct to oral health care. While in its own way it may support regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits, oil pulling is NOT the end-all solution to the day-to-day issues in our patients’ mouths.

If you have other questions or concerns regarding Oil pulling or your dental health contact our office and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

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