Contrary to the current fascination of beauty bloggers and magazines with oil pulling, this ancient dental practice dates back 3,000 years.
What is oil pulling?
With its roots in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling uses natural ingredients to rid the mouth of toxins, debris and bacteria.
While scientific research is lacking, many who carry out oil pulling attest to the fact it leaves them with healthier and cleaner teeth and gums.
The practice involves a person swilling a natural oil, usually coconut or sesame, around their mouth for about twenty minutes before spitting the remains into the bin and rinsing with water. It’s recommended to be done first thing in the morning before eating.
How does oil pulling work?
The idea is that bacteria and food are dislodged from the teeth and gums, bound to the oil and stripped away from the mouth in much the same way as oil cleansing works on impurities on the skin.
Some even state that oil pulling helps to whiten their teeth and reduce bad breath.
So is oil pulling good or bad for your teeth?
Using natural ingredients that have no astringent properties, oil pulling is clearly not a health concern for your teeth in the same way that whitening teeth with charcoal might be.
In fact, coconut oil is around half made up of lauric acid, so there is some support for the theory that it might inhibit the growth of strep mutans, the bacteria behind tooth decay.
However, there is no real evidence as to how effective it is as a sole means of dental cleaning. Therefore, although oil pulling might help to reduce bacteria on the teeth and gums, in the same way as brushing, rinsing and flossing, it can’t reverse tooth decay or give added protection to the enamel like fluoride products can.
That’s why many dentists recommend oil pulling to be used as a supplementary dental health practice rather than replacing traditional and proven practices such as brushing and flossing. That way, at worst you will simply lose 20 minutes of your time, rather than potentially your teeth from lack of adequate care!
Have more questions? Pop in to see us at our Notting Hill dental surgery, or call Number 18 Dental today.