Over the years, you have heard a variety of home remedies that are said to produce amazing benefits for your teeth and gums. Among one of the most popular is oil pulling. This involves swishing coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil in the mouth for about 20 minutes before you spit it out. By doing so, it is said to provide teeth whitening, cure gum disease, and several other benefits. However, what does your dentist have to say about this natural treatment?
What is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling has been a holistic remedy used in Indian folk cultures for hundreds of years. As a replacement for traditional mouthwash, the process is said to reduce harmful oral bacteria in the mouth. By swishing a tablespoon of oil, it reduces biofilm that clings to the teeth. As a result, it is said to treat gum disease, reduce the development of cavities, cure bad breath, and even whiten the teeth.
It seems like a simple and safe solution to promote your oral health; however, your dentist will advise you to be cautious.
Is Oil Pulling Effective?
There are several studies that show the benefits of this natural remedy for reducing oral bacteria. In fact, a 2008 study found that it can reduce the number of Streptococcus Mutans in plaque in just two weeks. While this can help to prevent gum disease, it is not a replacement for brushing and flossing.
In addition to treating gum disease, it is also said to be a natural remedy to resolve tooth discoloration; however, this is not true. While it may appear to produce results, it actually has the same effect as swishing water for 20 minutes.
Despite what you may have heard, it does not treat disorders of the temporomandibular joint. The only way to treat a TMJ disorder is by resolving the underlying cause. While the oil may mask the pain, it will not treat the condition.
Is Oil Pulling Safe?
If you are considering using oil pulling as an alternative to mouthwash, it is best to proceed with caution. A Harvard Medical School study found that many of the oils used contain harmful levels of lead, mercury, or arsenic. If you choose to use oil pulling, it is important to only use an oil that is of the highest organic quality.
In addition, oil pulling is not suitable for children. If it is inhaled, it can cause lipoid pneumonia. Instead, it is better to teach your child proper home oral hygiene habits instead of turning to potentially risky home remedies.
Choose a Trusted Method
If you want a healthier or whiter smile, do not turn to risky home remedies. Instead, it is best to schedule an appointment with your dentist for safe and effective solutions.
About Dr. Melanie White
Dr. Melanie White combines the art and science of dentistry to provide superior dental services to her patients to reach optimal oral health. With proven methods and treatments, she will help you reach your dental health goals. If you are considering home remedies, please contact Maple Grove Family Dental to discuss them first.