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Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil for Teeth Whitening and Oral Hygiene

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Oil pulling
Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic practice

Oil pulling isn't just the latest natural tooth care fad being touted by Millenials and eco bloggers. It's actually an ancient Ayurvedic folk remedy practiced in India.

Promotors of this natural remedy claim it has many benefits, not just for your dental health but for your overall health in general. But is there any substance to these claims? And can they be backed up by science?

In this article, we'll get to the bottom of tooth oil pulling and discuss all you need to know about this practice, including:

  • Oil pulling benefits
  • Coconut oil pulling dangers
  • How to do it
  • Whether or not it actually whitens teeth

After reading this article, we hope you feel armed with the information you need to decide if you want to buy that recycled glass jar of organic coconut oil on Amazon, or instead look around for some other alternatives.

What is oil pulling?

Oil pulling involves swishing edible oil, usually coconut oil, around your mouth.

natural oral care
This practice goes back thousands of years

This process is an ancient Ayurvedic practice to aid in maintaining good oral hygiene. It is a therapy mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, one of the two foundational texts on Ayurvedic medicine. It was introduced in the Western world by Dr. Karach in the 1990s, as a way to fight against immune disorders and treat other illnesses.

Today, oil pulling is still used for its supposed health benefits, along with whitening teeth and freshening breath.

What are the health benefits?

Traditionally it is said that there are a plethora of health benefits that can be gleaned from oil pulling, in fact, in the Charaka Samhita it is said to be able to cure around 30 systematic diseases, and in general Indian folk medicine it was used to:

  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Cure oral malodor
  • Cure bleeding gums
  • Prevent dry throat
  • Prevent cracked lips
  • Strengthen teeth and jaw

It was also used to cure ailments not directly related to the mouth, such as diabetes, migraines and asthma.

The touted benefits of modern oil pulling do overlap and include:

Reducing harmful bacteria

The main reason that people oil pull today is to reduce the number of harmful bacteria that can be found in your mouth. The principal harmful bacteria targeted by this practice is streptococcus mutans. This is the main bacteria that aid in the buildup of plaque, which then can lead to tooth decay.

Reduce the risks of gingivitis

Gingivitis or gum disease, is a condition that happens when your immune system attacks the bacteria in the plaque around your gums, and causes them to become red, inflamed and even to bleed. Oil pulling is said to reduce the inflammation in your gums and also the plaque that causes that inflammation.

Goodbye, bad breath!

coconut oil bad breath
It may be able to help with bad breath!

Do you suffer from bad breath or halitosis? If so, first you should read our full guide to bad breath.

It also turns out that you may want to consider oil pulling to help freshen up that breath. That's because foul-smelling breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that produce bad smells, so since oil pulling gets rid of some of that smelly bacteria, it also helps get rid of unpleasant odors in your mouth.

Keep in mind that all of the benefits mentioned in this article are to be taken with a grain of salt, as many professionals in the dental community say there isn't enough science-based evidence to back up these touted benefits, and that some of the studies that have been produced aren't very reliable.

Teeth whitening

One way some people use oil pulling in modern times is for a natural way to whiten teeth. The thinking behind oil pulling and teeth whitening is that oil helps get rid of plaque, which is one of the reasons your teeth may appear yellow. That being said, there really isn't a lot of evidence to back up the whitening effects of coconut oil on teeth. However, nor is there significant research that says that it doesn't whiten teeth. For now, coconut oil teeth whitening is a subject that lacks enough research for a definitive answer.

You can watch this oil puller's 28-day journey in the video below. She shows some oil pulling before and after images of her teeth, and says that they are a bit whiter.

Hi Guys! Today's video is following me on my oil pulling journey. I used coconut oil to oil pull for 28 days. Kopari came out with these oil pulling packets that are pre measured and flavored and asked me to take the 28 day oil pulling challenge. The benefits for oil pulling are great and I've wanted to try this for a long time, but had a really bad experience. I have a lot of dental issues and wanted a natural way to whiten my teeth plus maintain good oral hygiene. Here's what happened. Kopari Coco Oil Pullers http://bit.ly/2DLrO7V LOVE BEAUTY? CHECK OUT MY INTERACTIVE DIGITAL MAGAZINE "BY SEREIN" https://www.byserein.co/ SUBSCRIBE FOR MORE VIDEOS → http://bit.ly/2x8FDWj ———————————————— MY LINKS » DIGITAL MAGAZINE → https://www.byserein.co/ BLOG → http://sereinwu.com/ TWITTER → https://twitter.com/sereinwu INSTAGRAM → https://www.instagram.com/sereinwu/ FACEBOOK → https://www.facebook.com/sereinwu PINTEREST → https://www.pinterest.com/sereinwu SIGN UP FOR MY MONTHLY NEWSLETTER → http://bit.ly/2hnp2dh MY PODCAST ON ITUNES → http://bit.ly/BTBiTunes PODCAST ON YOUTUBE → http://bit.ly/2ohSJQN ———————————————— BUSINESS INQUIRE E-MAIL ONLY → [email protected] CHANNEL ART BY → Huong Nguyen (https://wang-calorista.myportfolio.com) MUSIC All music from 2017 is from Epidemic Sound unless otherwise noted http://www.epidemicsound.com/ Midnight Radio (Instrumental Version) – Cacti FTC DISCLAIMER ___ This video is sponsored by Kopari. All opinions expressed are my own and 100% honest. Some links/codes are affiliates. I do not recommend anything to you that I don’t believe in wholeheartedly. ___ COUPON CODES ___ SHOP GLOSSIER 20% OFF 1st ORDER http://bit.ly/2qt3LiM EBATES CASH BACK → $10 BONUS http://bit.ly/ebatesserein JOUER COSMETICS 15% OFF → SEREIN15 http://bit.ly/297a57U OFRA 30% OFF → SEREIN30 http://bit.ly/29QoIfU FAVORITE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE → http://mbsy.co/fr6jt AUDIBLE FREE 1st BOOK → http://bit.ly/audibleserein #oilpulling #coconutoil #kopari #sereinwu

Available research

Although there isn't extensive research on the benefits of oil pulling, there are some studies that have been conducted. One of which is this one from the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, in which one group of people practiced oil pulling and the other used chlorhexidine mouthwash for up to two weeks. The results were that the number of streptococcus mutans, acid-producing bacteria known to cause decay, in the plaque of the group using oil pulling was significantly reduced.

Another study from the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine compared the effect of oil pulling in patients with plaque-induced gingivitis to a normal oral hygiene routine without oil pulling. The results of this study were that the reduction of plaque was more pronounced in the participants who practiced oil pulling.

Despite the existence of some studies that support claims that it is beneficial to oral health, you can also find plenty of scholarly articles, like this one from a doctor at the Department of Public Health Dentistry at Sri Siddhartha Dental College in India, that says that the existing studies are unreliable due to the misinterpretation of results, too small of sample size and absence of negative controls, among other factors. And that there simply aren't enough scientific studies that provide clinical evidence demonstrating that oil pulling is, in fact, effective in reducing dental caries, whitening teeth or improving oral health in general.

Are there any risks?

According to the ADA, the limited studies available for the health effects, including the potential benefits and risks of oil pulling puts into question the efficacy and safety of this practice. They cite one of the potential risks of oil pulling as including lipoid pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs from fat particles, and another of the risks as diarrhea.

Another concern is that the oil used for oil pulling might contain harmful additives. Harvard Medical School conducted a study of the Ayurvedic products available in South Asian grocery stores in Boston and found that 1 in 5 products contained potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury and/or arsenic.

However, the greatest potential risk of oil pulling comes from using this practice to replace a healthy oral hygiene routine that includes proper brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist.

Have a look at the following table for a summary of the pros and cons of oil pulling. Although keep in mind that due to the lack of scientific evidence, these are to be taken with a grain of salt.

Pros Cons
Decreases harmful bacteria in the mouth Time consuming
Helps heal bleeding and inflammed gums Can cause stiff and sore mouth muscles
Naturally whitens teeth Not an efficient whitener
Helps prevent cavities Lack of evidence to back up health benefits
Inexpensive
Can be done at home

How to oil pull

If you do decide that you would like to try oil pulling, the good news is that it's pretty easy to do. Just follow these steps:

  • Measure out one tablespoon of edible oil, such as sesame, olive or coconut oil. A lot of people prefer coconut oil because it tastes the best.
  • Swish the oil around your mouth for up to 20 minutes, and don't swallow any.
  • Once your 20 minutes are up, spit the oil into the trash (spitting it into the sink can clog your drain).
  • Rinse your mouth, thoroughly.

Have a look at how one influencer conducts her oil pulling routine in the video below.

Want fresh breath, whiter teeth, and overall better health? Then you should incorporate oil pulling into your daily routine! Oil pulling is not just another health fad. It’s an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been proven to have numerous health benefits. This video will explain what oil pulling is, how to do it properly, and some of the health benefits associated with it. READ FULL BLOG POST HERE: https://bit.ly/2GXlR8p INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/holistichabits MY WEBSITE: https://holistichabits.com _________________________________ OILS I USE FOR OIL PULLING: COCONUT OIL: http://bit.ly/2iq1R3n Sesame Seed Oil is another popular one to use: http://bit.ly/2jY8IkU LIVING LIBATIONS makes wonderful bacteria fighting essential oils to mix into your oils. They also have a bunch of other oral care products I use: http://bit.ly/29XBj5c ————————————————————– SHAMPOO I USE: http://www.calianatural.com COUPON CODES: APOTERRA Natural Skincare: https://bit.ly/35sfTpM (Get 10% off with the coupon code "HOLISTICHABITS") _____________________________________ Camera: Canon T5i: http://amzn.to/2weOtVA Microphone: http://amzn.to/2fX6yBf Editing software: Final Cut Pro X This video is NOT sponsored.

Which oil is the best for oil pulling?

If you want to follow traditional Ayurvedic practices for your oil pulling routine, then you should use sesame oil. However, coconut oil is the most popular oil to use for pulling present-day. That's because many people are drawn to its numerous antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. It also contains lauric acid, which is effective at killing harmful bacteria that could lead to tooth decay. And of course, coconut oil tastes better!

sesame oil
Sesame oil is the traditional option

That being said, any edible oil will work, but for the best results, make sure to use unrefined, organic oil.

How often should I oil pull?

To achieve any of the potential effects of oil pulling, you should do it anywhere from a few times a week, up to three times a day. It should be noted that your mouth muscles may tire of swishing pretty quickly when you first try it, so you might have to slowly build up the time that you swish for.

Where to buy oil

While you can certainly use the coconut oil or sesame oil that you have at home to oil pull, there are also a plethora of options available in stores and on Amazon. If you'd like to try oil pulling with coconut oil, you can buy some all-purpose organic, extra-virgin coconut oil like this one from Viva Naturals. If you're really a purist and want to use sesame oil as is used in Ayurvedic practices, then this organic sesame seed oil from Velona may be the product for you.

You can also purchase an oil made specifically for oil pulling, like this one from Banyan Botanicals. It is a combination of organic sesame and coconut oils, infused with organic Ayurvedic herbs to support overall oral health. You can get it in mint or cinnamon flavors for a fresh taste. You can also find pure oil pulling coconut oil like this ozone-infused coconut pulling oil, made specifically for swishing oil and oral care.

Conclusion

coconut pulling
You can try oil pulling, it may help and it probably won't hurt

Oil pulling is not a practice that is backed up by tons of modern science, however, it is an ancient practice that comes from Ayurvedic medicine in India.

Those who have added oil pulling to their oral hygiene routine claim that its benefits include whiter teeth and an overall healthier mouth with less harmful bacteria. If you do want to try it, make sure to not swallow the oil, and to use oil that is edible and preferably organic as well. And the most important thing to keep in mind—don't use it to substitute daily brushing and flossing!

FAQs

What time of day should I oil pull?

If you want to follow traditional Ayurvedic practices, you should oil pull first thing when you wake up in the morning, before eating or drinking. The idea behind this is that oil pulling helps get rid of harmful bacteria in your mouth that has built up overnight, and when you spit it out, you're also spitting out all of that bacteria. But if you eat before oil pulling, you just end up swallowing that bacteria anyways.

Do you brush your teeth before or after oil pulling?

You don't need to brush your teeth before oil pulling, because it will, in theory, get rid of some plaque and bacteria for you. You can, however, brush your teeth afterward. If you don't brush your teeth directly after oil pulling, make sure to rinse your mouth out really well. And whether you oil pull o not, you should brush your teeth when you normally would, at least twice a day.

What are the side effects of oil pulling?

Negative side effects can include dry mouth, muscle stiffness, exhaustion, loss of taste, excessive thirst, lipid pneumonia and diarrhea. That sounds pretty bad, but this is if you use an improper technique, or perform it too many times or for too long throughout the day. Your dentist might say that the most negative side effect of all from oil pulling would be those that occur from using it to replace a proper oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing twice a day.

Is oil pulling healthy?

There's not enough scientific evidence to say definitively whether or not oil pulling is healthy. It is certainly an ancient practice and an important part of Ayurvedic medicine. Many people who do oil pull claim countless health benefits, and even a whiter smile. And while there's no concrete evidence that it's healthy, there's also not overwhelming evidence that it's unhealthy, at least when done correctly. So if you want to try it, follow the instructions mentioned in this article and pull away! (And maybe talk to your dentist first).

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Contributors:
Natalie Asmussen
Natalie Asmussen
Natalie Asmussen on LinkedinNatalie Asmussen on Website
Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.
Sources
Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine: Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review. Consulted 13th February 2020. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine: Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. Consulted 13th February 2020. Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry: Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Consulted 13th February 2020. Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine: Comparing the effect of coconut oil pulling practice with oil pulling using sesame oil in plaque-induced gingivitis: A prospective comparative interventional study. Consulted 13th February 2020. ADA.org: Whitening. Consulted 13th February 2020. Journal of the American Medical Association: Heavy metal content of ayurvedic herbal medicine products. Consulted 13th February 2020. CNN: Does oil pulling work? Consulted 13th February 2020.
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