Oil pulling is an ancient (thousand-plus years) remedy from India to improve oral health. It works while you read your emails, check the news or sports (hardly any sports going on now with our pandemic situation), respond to social media, or even taking a shower. It takes as little as ten to fifteen minutes. Oil pulling can improve your oral and overall health.
I have tried both sesame oil and coconut oil and prefer coconut oil. It is not as astringent. Put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish it around for up to thirty minutes. Find the right quantity to make your mouth comfortable. I find that a heaping ice-tea spoon works for me. Otherwise, there is too much oil in my mouth.
The purpose of oil pulling is to reduce the harmful bacteria in your mouth. The oil captures the bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your oral cavity. Left untreated over time, the bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, will create a biofilm on your teeth known as plaque. Untreated plaque can cause bad breath, gum inflammation, gingivitis, and cavities.
Studies have shown that daily oil pulling for ten minutes with coconut oil significantly reduced the number of S. mutans in saliva in two weeks. Oil pulling with coconut oil has been shown to be as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash at reducing S. mutans.
Before I forget to mention, do not swallow the oil after pulling it through your teeth. Spit it out, rinse your mouth, then brush your teeth. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It starts when your immune system starts attacking the bacteria in the plaque.
Studies tested sesame oil pulling against plaque-induced gingivitis. It was found to be as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash. Coconut oil pulling showed similar results with gingivitis. Some people swear that oil pulling whitens their teeth. This has not been tested enough to say that it is true or false.
Nevertheless, oil pulling seems to be an excellent complementary strategy to improve your oral hygiene. Oil pulling does not replace brushing one’s teeth, flossing, and other oral care techniques. Either way, proponents recommend using a separate toothbrush after oil pulling to the one used for daily teeth cleaning.
Oil pulling is a simple, affordable, and generally, safe technique to add to your existing oral health routine.
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