Monday, August 24, 2015

Should I Whiten my Teeth with Oil Pulling?

            Oil pulling is an old remedy that started in India and has been all the rage due to news coverage and social media websites. It requires swishing edible oil (coconut, sesame, or olive) for at least 20 minutes before. The idea is swish until the oil looks white, which allegedly shows that bacteria have been removed from your mouth. While it may eventually prove effective in some cases, most dentals are hesitant to get behind the practice of oil pulling until further legitimate research can be properly done.
            At first glance, the removal of bacteria from your mouth sounds ideal. However, there are numerous types of bacteria in the oral cavity we all need to maintain good oral health. If the oil pulling does remove all of the bacteria from the mouth, it could actually do more harm than good if the normal make up of bacteria is altered. This could potentially lead to a higher risk of infections or cavities by changing the way our mouth defends itself.  Until more studies have been completed, many dentals will likely remain skeptical.
            Oil pulling requires 20 minutes of swishing, which is a long time to keep anything in your mouth and actively swish. To achieve whiter teeth and better oral health you desire, I would advise just spending that extra time with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouth rinse.  It is my belief that those home care tools will yield the best long term results. And if whitening your teeth is a concern, most dental professionals agree than professional teeth bleaching will be the safest, most predictable, and most effective way to brighten your smile.
            Whether or not you decide to try oil pulling is your own decision. But be sure to let us know if you are so we can document your home care. And even if you are diligent in using oil pulling, I would recommend you don’t use it to replace the more traditional homecare methods of brushing, flossing and using mouth rinse.

Please visit us at with any other questions.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

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