Sometimes we find home remedies and new tricks to cleaning your teeth incredibly interesting, and potentially helpful. Oil pulling has been around for thousands of years, yet has only sparked the attention of many of our patients just recently. So what exactly is oil pulling and can it help keep your teeth is top health?
Oil pulling originally comes from Indian folk remedies to help clear the mouth of harmful bacteria. Not until the ‘90s did oil pulling start to emerge as a healthy practice in America. A medical doctor, Dr. F. Karach, was the first to introduce oil pulling to his patients in the United States. After finding the remedy a successful tool for lowering harmful bacteria levels, oil pulling began to grow in popularity.
As bacteria build up in your mouth, it creates plaque so it can adhere to your teeth and cause as much harm as it wants. Brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist all aim to remove the plaque that the bacteria are harboring on. Oils such as sesame, sunflower, and coconut oil, when used properly, can help pull these bacteria off of the teeth for a cleaner, healthier mouth.
It’s rather simple to do, just use a tablespoon of oil and swish it in your mouth like mouthwash for 20 minutes. Once the twenty minutes are complete, spit into a trash can. Twenty minutes is the instructed amount of time because it allows enough time for bacteria to be pulled off the teeth and into the oil without allowing them to be reabsorbed into the body.
Does Oil Pulling work?
There is much debate as to the effectiveness of oil pulling and what it actually can help. In a study conducted in 2008, 20 adolescent boys were instructed to either perform an oil pulling procedure, or to use Chlorhexidine to reduce the amount of streptococcus mutans- one of the main bacterias that can cause plaque build up and tooth decay. After two weeks, the boys who used oil pulling had significantly reduced the amount of streptococcus mutans in their mouth, however not as much as the patients using the Chlorhexidine. That does not mean oil pulling does not work, only that it is slightly less effective than the harsh chemicals of Chlorhexidine.
A similar study was conducted to test oil pulling’s effect against gingivitis causing bacteria alongside Chlorhexidine. In this study, both the oil pulling and mouthwash were equally effective against the bacteria.
And last, a final study showed that oil pulling is significantly effective in reducing bacteria that cause halitosis, or more commonly know as bad breath.
While oil pulling may not be recommended by every doctor, we find it to be a more natural way to help clean your teeth and keep your gums healthy.
If you have more questions about this home remedy or many others that are often discussed on this blog, please contact Water Tower Dental, would be happy to help answer any of your questions.