A Holistic Dental Perspective On Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has become an increasingly popular trend across social media, but does it do anything for your oral health? Today, we’ll take a look at what oil pulling is all about and if it can help your total-body wellness. 

How Oil Pulling Works

Oil pulling purports to remove harmful bacteria and biofilm from the mouth via using oil as a mouthwash. There are a lot of different types of bacteria in the mouth, and certainly not all of them are good for oral wellbeing. Bad bacteria leaves biofilm that can cause stained teeth, bad breath, gum inflammation, cavities, gingivitis, and more. So does oil pulling help us out at all? 

Each tooth is covered in thousands of bacteria, and each bacteria has a fatty outer coating that responds to fatty substances by sticking to them. Liquid oil, being able to get into areas that most toothbrushes and floss cannot, is thought to be able to pick up evasive bacteria in the crevices of teeth and gums before they can cause more harm. 

Chemists have a term called “polarity.” Oils are non-polar liquids that won’t blend with polar liquids. Brushing and flossing your teeth will remove some of the polar elements, but might leave behind a lot of the non-polar particles. Swishing with oil may help you dissolve and flush out any residual non-polar particles for a healthy mouth environment. 

Many people choose coconut oil as their oil of choice for oil pulling. Coconut oil contains Vitamin E, lauric acid, and other antifungal and antibacterial agents. Recent scientific studies have shown that oil pulling helps to fight bacteria, plaque, and gingivitis. At a minimum, oil pulling works as a natural mouthwash alternative to alcohol and chlorhexidine-based products.

What Does Conventional Medicine Say About Oil Pulling? 

Oil pulling is touted by some as a cure for diseases as diverse as headaches to diabetes, but there is little research to support these claims. However, there is evidence to support oral health improvement from oil pulling. 

Studies that compared oil pulling treatments against a conventional chlorhexidine mouthwash found that they performed similarly in regards to reducing cavity-causing bacteria. Other studies have found that oil pulling is effective at reducing plaque-related gum infections. 

For most people looking for a chemical-free alternative for mouthwash, oil pulling serves as a possible answer. Its mechanical action of literally pulling away bad bacteria as well as its saponification effect where the oil creates a soap-like substance cleans the mouth. However, oil pulling is not a substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth.

What Are The Risks of Oil Pulling? 

Oil pulling is generally safe for most people to perform. However, if oil is inhaled into the lungs, even in small amounts, it can lead to a condition known as lipoid pneumonia. There are instances where lipoid pneumonia has been fatal, which is why people who have issues breathing, are too young to properly keep oil from being inhaled, or have a problem with coughing unexpectedly should refrain from oil pulling. 

Practice Holistic Wellbeing with LeBlanc Dental

LeBlanc Dental strives to always make the best recommendations for each of our patients; we know that each person that trusts their health to us is unique. Oil pulling is becoming a popular trend, but it’s important to practice it in its proper context so that you get the maximum benefits. If you’re looking for more natural ways to improve oral hygiene and your overall wellness, give our office a call or email today to schedule an appointment with a holistic dentist! 

See our other articles from our Education Station.teeth