Did you know that oil pulling dates back to 3000 years?
It is not a new technique for whitening and cleaning your teeth but is being practiced for centuries.
It originates from India and uses coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil to remove plaque from your teeth.
Moreover, it is a popular teeth whitening remedy.
This article discusses the benefits of oil pulling for your teeth and how to do it.
If you want to whiten teeth at home and get rid of plaque, keep reading below!
What Is Oil Pulling and How to Do It?
It is a technique that involves swishing oil inside your mouth like a mouthwash for 15, 20 minutes to remove plaque and bacteria.
The pulling refers to the swishing as the oil pulls between the teeth.
The popular choices are using coconut, sesame oil or sunflower oil.
Among which oil pulling with coconut oil is considered the best because it also contains lauric acid that has anti-microbial properties.
Hence, it is better to prevent gingivitis, decrease inflammation, get rid of plaque and fights bacteria.
Similarly, olive oil can also be good for the process as it has anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties.
Unlike many other remedies, this one isn’t exactly pseudo-science.
The bacteria Streptococcus mutans causes tooth decay.
According to a study, oil pulling and mouthwash chlorhexidine were equally effective in reducing Streptococcus mutans in the mouth.
Hence, it helps to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth and prevent cavities.
That said it is still not recognized as a viable dental practice by American Dental Association (ADA), hence it is still a remedy and not proper medical advice.
Hence, in no way it is a substitute for oral hygiene practices like brushing teeth and flossing.
You should continue brushing and flossing your teeth as well as keep going to the dentist but it can be an additional teeth whitening and oral care remedy.
How To Do it?
You can do it first thing in the morning or any time in the day.
Take one tablespoon of oil in your mouth. If it is coconut oil then you will have to heat it a little because it is solid at room temperature.
Swish it in your mouth for about 15 to 20 minutes.
However, if you are doing it for the first time, start from 5 minutes.
Twenty minutes are quite long for a beginner and your mouth and jaw may start hurting.
While the more you swish it, the more bacteria you can remove, it is better to steadily make your way to twenty minutes.
Next, spit the oil in the bin rather than the sink because remember, coconut oil will solidify at room temperature and clog your sink.
Rinse your mouth with water and wait a while before you brush.
It helps balance the oil microbiome and retains the good bacteria inside the mouth.
Oil pulling works because the microorganisms inside the mouth contain a single cell with lipid and fatty skin.
Hence the cells meeting with the fats in oil helps adhere the microorganism to the oil.
Therefore, when you spit the oil, the bacteria comes out too.
It is essential to never swallow but spit because it contains the bacteria which can give you an upset stomach.
Now that you know it works, let’s find out the health benefits of this technique.
Oil Pulling Benefits
Killing Harmful Bacteria
As discussed above, the cell membranes of bacteria in the mouth are made up of lipids.
Hence, when you swish the oil in your mouth, they adhere to it.
It can reduce the bacteria in the mouth as effectively as a mouthwash.
Therefore there are fewer bacteria in plaque as well as in the saliva.
The bacteria are behind many oral health problems such as gingivitis, bad breath or cavities. More on that below!
As it lessens bacteria in plaque then it does not result in its accumulation hence, no yellow teeth.
This is why oil pulling is a teeth whitening remedy.
It can pull the stains away from your teeth.
By reducing the bacteria in the saliva, they will not cause much damage to your teeth.
No Bad Breath
Your bad breath may result from medicines, infections, poor oral hygiene, diseases or bacteria that coat your tongue.
Hence, scraping the tongue or cleaning it with a brush can help reduce the bacteria.
However, oil pulling can reduce bad breath too just like mouthwash.
As the study found oil pulling works as well as chlorhexidine mouthwash to decrease bacteria, it can also significantly improve your breath.
So, the next time you find that your breath stinks, try swishing some coconut oil rather than chewing a piece of gum.
This method will prevent bacteria accumulation in your tongue and mouth for the long term.
Other Benefits- Cavities and Gum Disease
Since it decreases the bacteria in plaque, it reduces your chances of getting a cavity.
Cavities result from eating too much sugar and not following proper oral hygiene.
They result in decay and form holes inside the teeth known as cavities.
Furthermore, the bacteria inside the plaque stars eroding the tooth enamel making it susceptible to decay and cavities.
So, oil pulling helps to remove the bacteria inside the mouth.
This prevents the bacteria, saliva and food particles from forming plaque and eroding the tooth.
As a result, you are not at a greater risk of cavities anymore but you should still limit your daily sugar intake to a healthy level.
Hold onto your sugar cravings to maintain your dental health!
As it reduces bacteria in plaque, there are fewer chances of it hardening and becoming tartar leading to gum disease.
The bacteria result in inflammation and bleeding gums.
Though, oil pulling works to significantly reduce the bacteria Streptococcus mutans which is primarily responsible for gum disease.
Furthermore, the oils are anti-inflammatory hence, it also reduces the inflammation near the gums.
It promotes gum health and keeps the teeth, gums and overall mouth healthy.
Hence, the key lies in decreasing bacteria.
As this method decreases bacteria it also reduces your risk of gum disease, bad breath and decay.
There is lesser plaque and less inflammation.
Are you thinking about adding it to your routine? You should!
Oil pulling is not only effective but also easy to use and cheap.
You just need to make it a regular part of your daily morning routine before brushing.
Spare twenty minutes of your day for this task and make it a normal day’s part alongside brushing and flossing.
However, it is crucial to remember that it does not replace your oral hygiene basics.
It compliments brushing and flossing teeth improving oral health but does not replace them.
Furthermore, it is cheap.
You can easily find coconut or olive oil in your kitchen.
Even if you don’t have it, it is available for a cheap price in every market.
Now you know the several benefits this ancient technique has.
No wonders our ancestors used it.
However, it is also crucial to know some of its side effects and concerns. Read below to know.
Side Effects and Concerns
While studies show the effectiveness of using oil pulling, there is still no proper evidence on it.
It has a similar effect to that of chlorhexidine mouthwash for reducing bacteria.
And it also reduces microbes and inflammation alike.
Though, more research is required on the subject and its efficacy.
The ADA does not consider it a reliable oral hygiene practice.
Therefore, it should not substitute your mouthwash.
However, it can be a good addition to your daily hygiene routine.
Moreover, be mindful of your allergies.
If you are allergic to coconut then using it will not be the best choice.
Do not move your jaw and mouth extremely rigorously.
You can experience pain in the jaw, a headache or even a sore jaw if you directly begin swishing for twenty minutes.
Your mouth will not be used to the motion.
Hence, it can result in pain. So, you should always start with five minutes and make your way up to twenty.
Furthermore, you should stop yourself from swallowing the oil.
It is meant to be swished and spat out.
If you accidentally swallow it then you can get diarrhea.
This is because this oil is full of bacteria that you want out from your body rather than in it.
So remember, to spit all of it out.
There are no side effects or risks of using it as long as you are careful.
Maintaining Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing teeth are absolute essentials.
You cannot replace these two in your daily regimen.
However, you can always add other useful hygiene measures.
Hence, before you brush your teeth in the morning, try oil pulling.
It will keep your teeth bacteria-free and white for a longer time.
Just a tablespoon is enough to remove harmful bacteria accumulating inside your mouth.
As it is as effective as antibacterial mouthwash, you will soon notice a difference in your dental health.
If you face bad breath, your breath will not smell anymore and your gums will not bleed as frequently if there are signs of gingivitis.
Also, your teeth will not accumulate stains and remain white.
Isn’t all this great?
Hence, adding oil pulling in your routine is a good idea to reap its full benefits for your oral health.
So, begin using it from today, just 5 minutes per day.