What might swishing some oil in your mouth do for your health?
A popular technique called “oil pulling” has gained popularity, and is claimed to help improve dental health, reduce inflammation, and reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth.
So, can it provide all those benefits?
This article will discuss the research behind oil pulling.
Oil pulling involves swishing oil, typically coconut oil, back and forth in your mouth for 5-10 minutes. This practice is said to remove bacteria and support your oral hygiene.
Oil pulling has been around for thousands of years, and is a traditional folk remedy practiced in ancient India.
Due to side effects to many modern medicines and oral hygiene products, many people are looking at oil pulling for a safe alternative (1).
Limited research, but consistent evidence is in support of oil pulling for overall oral hygiene (2).
Below are the top research-backed benefits of oil pulling.
The human mouth contains about 700 different types of bacteria (3).
Research has found that oil pulling may help reduce harmful bacteria found in the mouth.
For example, one study of 60 participants, found that oil pulling was as effective at killing harmful bacteria as mouthwash (6).
Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease that can cause redness, irritation, and swelling (inflammation) of the gums.
Fortunately, oil pulling may be helpful for reducing the risk for gum disease.
That’s because coconut oil contains anti-inflammatory properties, which may be helpful at fighting off inflammation of the gums (7).
For example, one study looked at the impact of oil pulling on gingivitis for 30 days. The results showed a significant decrease in plaque and the severity of gingivitis in the study participants over the duration of the study (8).
Tooth decay, also known as a dental cavity, occurs when bacteria within the mouth starts attacking your teeth.
These bacteria make acids that attack the tooth’s surface (or enamel), which can lead to a small hole in the tooth called a cavity. If left untreated, it can lead to pain, infection, and even tooth loss (9).
Research has found oil pulling to be beneficial for reducing harmful bacteria which can contribute to tooth decay.
For example, one study found that oil pulling was beneficial for reducing a bacteria calledStreptococcus mutanwhich is an acid-producing bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay (10).
Another study found oil pulling to significantly reduce inStreptococcus metanafter just one week of use (11).
Oil pulling is a simple and cost-effective way to support your health (12).
For example, a container of organic coconut oil or olive oil can cost less than $10.
Plus, since you only need about one tablespoon of oil per time, one container of oil can last quite awhile.
Interested in trying oil pulling for the first time? Here’s four simple steps to help you get started.
When doing oil pulling, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind (14):
I say oil pulling is definitely worth a try since it’s so inexpensive and a simple thing to do.
Keep in mind that oil pulling isn’t a cure-all, and it’s still important to focus on supporting your oral health in other ways such as regular brushing, flossing, reducing sugar intake, and reducing intake of acid foods and beverages (15).
Have you tried oil pulling before?
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