For those that haven’t heard of oil pulling, or “swishing,” it is a natural alternative for ridding the body of bad bacteria. The process involves swishing with a tablespoon of vegetable or coconut oil for 20 minutes before spitting it out. While it cannot replace brushing and flossing, it’s believed that oil pulling can boost oral health by sticking to bacteria and “pulling” it out.
Bacteria inside the mouth have a fatty outer layer. Thus, when these bacteria come into contact with another fatty substance, such as oil, they typically stick to it. The pushing and pulling of oil as it is swished inside the mouth make it possible to pick up thousands of bacteria.
Aside from removing bacteria from the mouth, oil pulling is also an excellent mouth cleanser. To better understand, consider oils as non-polar liquids. Non-polar liquids will not mix with polar liquids. After an individual swishes with oil for 20 minutes, they will spit it out and brush away the excess. Essentially, this is removing the harmful non-polar gunk. It’s impossible to remove non-polar substances during regular daily brushing. Thus, oil pulling successfully removes residual non-polar substances in the mouth that would otherwise remain.
What’s The Bottom Line?
In regards to oil pulling and oral care, dental professionals urge patients to take information they read with a grain of salt. The bottom line is–apart from daily brushing and flossing, oil pulling will not do much for oral health. Yet, when combined with brushing and flossing, evidence supports that oil pulling improves bad breath, reduces tooth sensitivity and whitens teeth.
As an age-old remedy of using natural substances to promote oral health, oil pulling has a stellar reputation in the holistic community. Yet, if you are considering oil pulling to boost your own oral health, it’s always a good idea to speak to your dentist first.
At Grateful Dental, Dr. Leia Porcaro is passionate about patient education, especially when it comes to healthy teeth and gums. If you have questions about oil pulling or other alternative remedies for dental health, Dr. Porcaro wants to hear them! Call Grateful Dental today to schedule a consultation.