Have you heard about this new trend in oral healthcare? It’s called oil pulling, and while it may have experienced newfound popularity in recent years, it’s actually a practice that was developed thousands of years ago in India when dental care was in its infancy. So what is oil pulling? And what benefits can it provide to your oral health?

What is Oil Pulling?

This ancient oral health practice involves putting about 1 tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swishing it around (just like you would with mouthwash) for 5-20 minutes. Coconut oil is the most commonly used type for oil pulling, but many other food-grade oils can be used including sesame, sunflower, and olive oils. When you’re done swishing, you spit out the oil and dispose of it. It’s as simple as that!

How Does Oil Pulling Work?

While there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support the efficacy of oil pulling, the logic behind it seems to be sound. We all have bacteria and other microorganisms living in our mouths. They are more or less harmless, but when bacterial or fungal growth gets out of control, it can damage the teeth and gums, cause bad breath, or lead to mouth infections. Keeping the microorganisms in your mouth under control is the basis for all routine oral health care.

At its most basic level, oil pulling works just like mouthwash. The liquid oil flows between teeth and around the gum line, taking potentially harmful microorganisms with it. Like mouthwash and flossing, oil pulling can help you remove bacteria from areas that your toothbrush may miss. Some oils, like coconut oil, also have mild antibacterial properties that can provide an added benefit.

Is Oil Pulling Effective?

As we already mentioned, there isn’t much in the way of hard scientific evidence to prove that oil pulling works. Anecdotal evidence suggests that oil pulling can help solve issues like bad breath and can also improve the health of your teeth and gums. It’s important to note that oil pulling should never be used to replace any part of your oral healthcare routine; rather, it can be added to that routine to keep your mouth extra clean. If you’re considering trying oil pulling, it’s best to use it in conjunction with brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, using mouthwash, and getting a dental checkup every 6 months. At the very least, oil pulling is considered safe to do every day, as long as you use a pure food-grade oil, you don’t have any allergies to the oil used, and you don’t swallow the bacteria-laden oil when you’re done.

At ZDental, we feel encouraged any time we see the people in our community getting excited about their oral health. If oil pulling piques your interest, it couldn’t hurt to try it out! Just be sure to speak to your dentist before making any changes to your oral health routine and let them know what you have planned. If you are looking for an affordable dentist in Philadelphia, the team at ZDental would be happy to answer your questions about oil pulling or any other aspect of your oral health. Visit our contact page to find the ZDental office closest to you and give us a call to schedule your appointment today!