You may have heard about “oil pulling”, a holistic treatment purported to rid your mouth of unwanted bacteria. Those who swear by the process claim that it whitens teeth, lessens the chances of tooth decay, and destroys the bacteria that cause bad breath. Today, our Charleston, SC dentist will discuss whether or not oil pulling really can benefit your oral health.
What is oil pulling?
Oil pulling is the process of putting a tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil into one’s mouth, usually coconut oil, and swishing it around for 20 minutes before spitting it out. Practitioners then brush residual oil away with a toothbrush and toothpaste. The process gets its name from the way the oil is said to “pull” bacteria out of the mouth.
How does oil pulling work?
Our mouths contain a lot of bacteria–usually anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 per tooth. Each one has a fatty outer coating. It’s said that when the bacteria come into contact with another fatty substance, such as oil, they stick to it, and can therefore be more easily removed. Since liquid oil has the ability to get into hard to reach areas of the mouth that a toothbrush would miss, it is also thought to be able to pick up bacteria that may have otherwise have been missed.
Is oil pulling an effective oral care technique?
There is no official verdict regarding the benefits of oil pulling, and very little research has been done on the topic. However, it may be considered a healthy oral practice, simply because swishing anything around in your mouth for several minutes, even water, will dislodge more bacteria than doing nothing at all. It isn’t impossible that oil, with its “sticky” qualities, could make the swishing more effective. In any case, if you do decide to try oil pulling, be sure to do it in combination with regular brushing and flossing techniques. Oil pulling is not an effective substitute for brushing and flossing, as it can’t get in-between your teeth and beneath your gums.
Want brighter, whiter teeth? Make an appointment with our Charleston SC dentist
If you want your teeth to be whiter and cleaner, nothing works as well as a regular dental cleaning. If you need a dentist office in Charleston SC, call Lowcountry Dental Arts. We can’t wait to help you get your perfect smile!