Oil pulling has been a hot topic recently, but does it really work?

Oil pulling is associated with traditional ancient medical practices from India that involve swishing oil around your mouth with the intention to remove bacteria and promote oral hygiene.

Some studies have suggested the oil pulling method can kill oral bacteria’s and improve dental health. However it’s not entirely clear just how this works and research is limited so there is a lot of debate over how beneficial it really is.

Here we look at some of the claims of benefits achieved by oil pulling.

1. Can Kill Harmful Bacteria in Your Mouth

There are approximately 700 types of bacteria that can live in your mouth and up to half of these can be found in your mouth at any given time.

10 minutes of oil pulling per day can reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth. This can be done using coconut oil or sesame oil.

2. Could Help Reduce Bad Breath

Common causes of bad breath include poor oral hygiene, gum infection or inflammation, poor diet, and other lifestyle factors.

Using an antiseptic mouthwash and changing brushing habits to remove bacteria is usually recommended.

Interestingly, one study found that oil pulling was as effective as chlorhexidine at reducing bad breath.

3. May Help Prevent Cavities

Cavities are caused by tooth decay which is a common issue.

High sugar diet, poor oral hygiene, and bacteria build up can all cause tooth decay, causing holes, leading to cavities.

As seen in point 1, the claims of killing bacteria link into the school of thought that if bacteria is removed from gums & salvia, this could potentially reduce the risk of tooth decay as well.

4. Easy and Affordable

Oil pulling is an easy addition to add to your oral hygiene routine and you can use oil often already found in your kitchen.

Sesame oil is what was used traditionally but more commonly in today’s society; people who use this method more often than not choose coconut oil.
This is due to the anti-inflammatory properties found in coconut oil. Olive oil contains the same benefits but coconut oil is probably a bit more tolerable in taste!

So, what’s the bottom line?

The benefits listed above are great, however it’s important to keep in mind the research behind it is very limited.

Oil pulling should definitely not be used instead of regular oral hygiene care, (brushing your teeth, flossing, and of course routine checks with your dentist).
However, using oil pulling techniques alongside the above steps is a safe and natural remedy that may assist in improving your oral health.