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Oil Pulling: Health Craze or Healthy Practice?

In recent years, oil pulling has gained a lot of attention as a natural alternative to traditional oral hygiene.  Proponents claim that it will whiten teeth, reduce inflammation, and help cure gingivitis. As with our exploration of activated charcoal last month, we support natural and holistic approaches to oral hygiene, so we decided to give this practice a closer look.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (usually coconut or sesame) in your mouth for 20 minutes every morning.  Afterwards, one spits out the oil as one would mouthwash.

Does it Work?

While there are few scientific studies on the efficacy of oil pulling, swishing with oil for twenty minutes a day will certainly do no harm.

“Oil pulling is a good adjunct to regular brushing and flossing to reduce staining on the teeth. We have had a number of patients that have benefitted from adding oil pulling to their home care routine,” says Dr. Brunacini.

Bottom Line

Oil pulling is a practice worth exploring if you are interested in trying something other than mouthwash.  However, it should not be a replacement for your regular oral hygiene practices.  The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that to maintain good dental health you should brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, floss between your teeth once a day, and abstain from using tobacco products.

If you find yourself exploring options for teeth whitening or have questions about your oral health care regimen, please give us a call at 207.781.5900 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment!