Does Oil Pulling Whiten Teeth and Improve Oral Health?

Town Center Dentistry tells you about oil pulling, the new practice of gargling oil for 20 minutes for improved dental health and oral health.

Oil pulling. You probably either know someone who swears by it or you just keep seeing mention of it on the nutrition and health blogs. At Town Center Dentistry, our patients ask us about it often, so we thought we’d share our thoughts on it here, too.

In a nutshell, oil pulling is the practice of swishing a tablespoon of vegetable oil (usually coconut) around in your mouth for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes are up, you spit it out, rinse, then brush and floss as usual. This ancient Ayurvedic dental technique is said to draw toxins from your body and improve your overall health. Oil pulling reportedly heals a whole list of conditions.

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Migraines
  • Heart and kidney diseases
  • Tooth pain
  • Sleeplessness
  • Chronic blood diseases

While there is very little formal trial data to support the claims that oil pulling can cure the above conditions, we do know that there is a link between bacteria in the mouth and systemic health.

Any bacterial infection in the mouth can easily spread through the entire body. The secret to oil pulling is that it reportedly  kills the bacteria in your mouth and improves your oral health, which can greatly impact your overall health.

Oil pulling and oral health

Most oils have antibacterial properties. When you swish the oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes, you’re allowing it to seep into the nooks and crannies of your gums where bacteria can hide from even your toothbrush and toothpaste. As you swish, the microbes are pulled free. Then, 20 minutes later, you spit and rinse, and…bye-bye microbes!

This can significantly lighten the load of bacteria in your mouth. And when that happens, you’re reducing your risk of:

  • Tooth decay
  • Bad breath
  • Periodontal disease
  • Tooth sensitivity

For those interested in holistic approaches and home remedies, oil pulling can be a great addition to your oral health routine.

It’s important to note that those who claim that oil pulling also whitens their teeth admit that it’s not by much.  If you have more serious concerns about the color of your teeth, ask a dental professional.

Dangers of Oil Pulling

All of the reports about Oil Pulling are not positive. Many claim there is little evidence to support the claims of greater oral health. Also, studies have found a possible link between oil pulling and lipoid pneumonia. For that reason, Town Center Dentistry does not support oil pulling and please proceed with caution.

The way we see it

A clean mouth can have anywhere from 1000 to 100,000 bacteria on each tooth. A not-so-clean mouth can have between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria on each tooth. If you try oil pulling make sure you:

  1. Do not swallow while swishing
  2. Follow up by rinsing well and brushing before consuming anything
  3. Use it in conjunction with a proper oral maintenance routine (not as a replacement)
  4. Continue to visit your dentist regularly

And if you want whiter teeth…

make an appointment with us. At Town Center Dentistry in San Diego, our Rembrandt Teeth Whitening services will help get rid of the stains on your teeth and brighten your smile.

Call or drop by to schedule an appointment or a consultation.