6 Benefits of Oil Pulling — Plus How to Do It
Portrait of a young woman rinsing her mouth with mouthwash at home

6 Benefits of Oil Pulling — Plus How to Do It

Oil pulling is an ancient technique involving swishing oil in your mouth to rid it of bacteria and bolster oral health. It’s often linked with Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine system. While studies propose that oil pulling can zap mouth bacteria and enhance dental hygiene, some alternative medicine practitioners even argue it could address various illnesses.

Although the mechanics behind oil pulling aren’t entirely clear, it’s believed to draw bacteria out of the mouth. Moreover, it might aid by hydrating gums and increasing saliva production, which can combat bacteria. Certain oils also boast properties that naturally fight inflammation and bacteria, thus promoting oral health.

Yet, research on oil pulling is scant, sparking debate over its actual benefits.

This article delves into scientifically backed advantages of oil pulling and offers guidance on how to perform it for optimal results.

Can Curtail Harmful Mouth Bacteria

The mouth harbors around 700 types of bacteria, with up to 350 present at any given time. Some of these can fuel issues like tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease. Several studies indicate that oil pulling can reduce the number of harmful mouth bacteria.

In one study, 75 adolescents either used an antibacterial mouthwash or did daily oil pulling with sesame oil. After 15 days, both methods significantly decreased harmful bacteria in saliva and plaque. Another study had 60 participants rinse with mouthwash, water, or coconut oil for two weeks. Both mouthwash and coconut oil were found to diminish bacteria in saliva.

Reducing mouth bacteria can foster proper oral hygiene and stave off certain conditions.

May Alleviate Bad Breath

Bad breath culprits include infections, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, and bacteria accumulation on the tongue. Treatment usually involves eradicating bacteria through brushing or using antiseptic mouthwash like chlorhexidine. Surprisingly, a study found that oil pulling was as effective as chlorhexidine at curbing bad breath in children.

Though further research is needed, oil pulling might serve as a natural bad breath remedy, potentially matching traditional treatments’ efficacy.

Might Prevent Cavities

Poor oral hygiene, excessive sugar consumption, and bacterial buildup can trigger tooth decay, resulting in cavities. Plaque, a film comprising bacteria, saliva, and food remnants, is also a cavity culprit. Several studies suggest that oil pulling can reduce mouth bacteria, thus preventing tooth decay. Some research even suggests it’s as effective as mouthwash in reducing bacteria in saliva and plaque.

Diminishing these bacteria strains through oil pulling could thwart tooth decay and cavity formation.

Appears to Diminish Inflammation and Enhance Gum Health

Plaque bacteria are a primary cause of gingivitis, provoking gum bleeding and inflammation. Luckily, oil pulling might be an effective remedy for gum health improvement and inflammation reduction. By curbing harmful mouth bacteria and plaque, especially Streptococcus mutans, oil pulling aids in fighting gum disease. Certain oils with anti-inflammatory properties, like coconut oil, may further soothe gum inflammation. In a study, 60 participants with gingivitis showed reduced plaque and better gum health after oil pulling with coconut oil for 30 days.

Possible Additional Benefits

While oil pulling proponents tout myriad benefits, research on them remains limited. However, oil pulling’s anti-inflammatory effects may potentially alleviate conditions linked to inflammation, although no studies have verified this.

Convenient and Inexpensive

Oil pulling stands out for its simplicity and ease of integration into daily routines. Requiring just one kitchen staple, it’s a budget-friendly option. Traditionally, sesame oil is used, but other oils like coconut and olive boast properties beneficial for oil pulling. Allocate just 20 minutes daily for oil pulling, utilizing the time for multitasking at home while enhancing oral hygiene.

The Bottom Line

Some studies propose that oil pulling could curb harmful mouth bacteria, prevent plaque formation, and enhance gum health and oral hygiene. Nonetheless, research remains limited. Furthermore, it shouldn’t substitute traditional oral hygiene practices like brushing, flossing, routine cleanings, and seeking dental advice for oral health issues.

Kristina Shafarenko

Kristina Shafarenko is a relationship and health and wellness psychologist and a part-time freelance lifestyle writer covering health and fitness, sex, sexual wellness, and relationships. When she's not writing, you can find her planning her next getaway, taste-testing every coffee spot in sight, and lounging at home with her cat, Buddy.

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