We all know about the popular and ancient practice of oil pulling, but many of us don’t understand how this practice works or how exactly it benefits our teeth! Oil pulling began in Ayurvedic medicine thousands of years ago and has achieved widespread popularity in modern society today.
But the question remains—does it help your smile? And how?
The Claims of Oil Pulling
Let’s take a look at each of these popular claims of oil pulling!
It makes your mouth healthier. By pulling out bad bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease, oil pulling can actually make your mouth healthier and even stop chronic bad breath.
It whitens teeth. Research has not proved this, but some people claim they get whiter teeth with oil pulling. This should be considered a side effect of oil pulling (albeit a great one) rather than its main purpose.
It heals cavities. Oil pulling can remove the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay, but typically oil pulling alone is not enough to heal cavities. You need to stop eating so much sugar, get more vitamins and minerals (such as K, D, and calcium), and switch your toothpaste to help heal cavities with oil pulling!
It cures disease. Ancient cultures used oil pulling as a way to draw out toxins from the mouth to prevent them from affecting the body. Research doesn’t show whether or not oil pulling can help any type of disease, but research does link oral health to body health—so a healthy mouth could help you prevent heart disease, respiratory illnesses, and even cognitive decline!
What the Research Says
Now that we’ve seen the popular claims of oil pulling, let’s find out what modern research actually says about this age-old practice.
Research shows that oil pulling can actually the stop inflammation, bacteria, plaque, and bad breath associated with gum disease, therefore it may be an effective treatment for gum disease combined with a healthy diet and great oral health practices!
It can decrease the likelihood of tooth decay and reduce overall plaque content in the mouth. Oil pulling can also help prevent tooth loss and oral diseases such as oral cancer, periodontal disease, and oral thrush. Oil pulling may be able to reverse tooth decay, but only when combined with other healthy practices.
Although research hasn’t proved that oil pulling helps decrease your chances for developing chronic disease, keeping your mouth healthy and free of toxins can benefit your whole body!
If you want to give oil pulling a try, do this practice every day: put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth (preferably sesame or coconut) and swish it around for up to twenty minutes as soon as you wake up. Spit out in the trash, then brush and floss your teeth as normal. Easy!
The verdict is in: oil pulling can help you get a beautiful and healthy smile, but it should not replace regular brushing and flossing as your oral care routine. Practice oil pulling first thing in the morning before you eat or brush, then enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile without giving up your brushing and flossing habits!