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Does Oil Pulling Really Improve Dental Health?

 In General Dentistry

We see it all the time – trends emerge, gain traction, disappear, then re-emerge all over again.  It happens in every industry, even the dental industry. Of course, the overarching factor with all popular, stay-worthy trends is that they are based on balance and encouragement of the idea of all things in moderation.  

So, is this same thought process true for the dental health trend of oil pulling?  Have you ever heard of oil pulling? Let’s take a closer look at the origins of this trend that’s said to drastically improve one’s oral health and see what if the hype is true.  

Oil Pulling

For those new to the concept of oil pulling, it’s an ancient process that’s become intensely popular thanks to social media and celebrity influencers.  The practice is said to improve the state of your oral health from cleaning, to teeth whitening, to reducing inflammation, even curing bad breath. And, the practice itself is simple, as you just swish your mouth with high-quality oil for 20 minutes each day.  Proponents of oil pulling often recommend using organic coconut oil, sesame oil, or sunflower oil. But, does it work?

Well, as with many natural remedies, there’s little scientific evidence to back the praise.  It’s also worth noting that while some claim to see huge benefits from the practice, others see none.  In fact, there are even those who say they’ve experienced negative effects. But, the reason this trend is so popular is simply due to its natural approach and the universal desire to use more earth-based products to maintain and improve one’s overall health.  

Why Does It Work for Some?  

Those who strongly advocate for the practice of oil pulling say that the act whitens teeth and reduces plaque.  Of course, you can achieve these same benefits by using mouthwash, chewing sugar-free gum, or just rinsing with water for 20 minutes a day.  All of these options are beneficial because they work to increase saliva and dilute plaque concentration.

As for the practicality of this practice, well, this may be where many who claim to see no affect whatsoever are struggling, as it’s not only time-consuming, it’s not exactly pleasant.  Committing to swishing oil in your mouth for a full 20 minutes a day, as is recommended, is a lot. Plus, during this period of time, the saliva in your mouth nearly doubles, which fills your mouth with a mixture that isn’t exactly desirable to most.  For those who this is just too much for, simply opt to swish an alcohol-free mouthwash.

Does Oil Pulling Improve Oral Health?    

While oil pulling can work to remove some plaque, the fact is this is something that really needs to be done with pressure.  This can be done through the act of daily brushing and flossing. You should also stick to twice a year cleanings by your dental hygienist to achieve optimum dental health.   

If you’re looking for a whiter smile or have concerns about your overall oral health, be sure to talk to your dentist.  They can work with you to find solutions and care practices specific to your needs so that you can achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.  

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