What is Oil Pulling and Should You Try It?

If you’re responsible about your oral health and strive to keep your teeth clean and bright, you
hopefully brush at least twice a day. You probably use floss daily and you might even use
mouthwash on a regular basis to keep your breath fresh and your pearly whites looking…well,
pearly white.
What you may NOT be doing is oil pulling – which is the practice of swishing oil around in your
mouth like Listerine for up to 20 minutes a day. At first read, it may sound ridiculous. How can
gargling grease in between your teeth help your oral health?
Although it may seem like the latest fad to work its way through trendy natural remedy blogs,
the concept has actually been around for a long, long time. It’s an oral therapy based on
Ayurvedic medicine dating back 3,000 years to ancient India. And, even more recent studies
point to the validity of the process of “pulling” microorganisms that cause bad breath, plaque
and gingivitis out of one’s mouth when the oily rinse adheres to them. Sort of like a powerful
magnet. All those evil bacterial cells are flushed away when you spit out the oil. The evidence
that this practice may be beneficial is there, but incorporating it into your oral health regime
definitely requires some do’s and don’ts.
Oil Pulling Do: Use the Right Oil
Make sure the oil you are using is food grade and ingestible. Although many oils contain
bacteria-fighting benefits, coconut oil includes lauric acid – which has superior anti-microbial
agents. Coconut oil has also been shown to reduce streptococcus bacteria when used
regularly in this way.
Oil Pulling Don’t: Oil Should Not Replace Brushing
Even if you start oil pulling and find that it’s helpful in whitening your teeth and reducing bad
breath, it should NOT replace your regular oral health habits of brushing and flossing. Oil
pulling has not been shown to reduce tooth decay and is a supplement to oral habits, not a
replacement of conventional practices.
Oil Pulling Do: Make Sure You Spit It Out!
The whole point of oil pulling is to draw out toxins and bacteria from all the tiny crevices in
between your teeth and get rid of them by spitting them out of your mouth. By swallowing
them, you’re actually ingesting all those toxins you just took so long to pull out! Don’t forget to
spit! And, if you plan to oil pull regularly, you may want to spit everything out in a bowl or trash
can rather than the sink, as oil build up can eventually clog your pipes.
Many believers claim oil pulling can cure everything from skin issues to headaches to hormone
changes. Although it’s probably not the cure-all be-all many think it might be, according to
most dentists, it’s a unique and valuable addition to your regular oral health practices. Give it a
swish!
Have more questions about oil pulling and other trending dental practices? Let us give you
some answers. With locations in Alexandria, VA and Washington DC, DC Smiles provides a
holistic approach to dental care that incorporates total-body health and wellness. Learn more
at DCSmiles.com.

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