Oil Pulling--A “New” Form of Old Medicine

You may have coconut oil in your house, but what about your bathroom sink? Coconut oil has been used for centuries as a home remedy against health conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol and even Alzheimer's! Known for its high volume of saturated fats that help break down bacteria and unhealthy pathogens, it’s no wonder some dentists recommend oil pulling to support healthier teeth

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling (also known as Kavala Graha or Gandusha) is an ancient folk remedy where users swish or hold plant-based oils in the mouth for a period of time to reap certain health benefits. Although research has not been conducive to proving these results, many oil pullers swear by it with the belief that bacteria that builds up in the mouth over time is “drawn out” by “pulling” the bacteria into the oil before rinsing out the mouth. 

How Can I Try This At Home?

To try this home remedy out yourself, all you need is a 1-2 tablespoons of your choice of a plant-based oil. Sunflower, coconut, sesame, olive and palm oil are all popular choices. Before you brush or floss, swish or “hold” the oil in your mouth for upwards of 10-20 minutes, 3-4 times weekly. For many who don’t have time to stand and swish, holding oil in the mouth while showering or cleaning the dishes can be a good way to multi-task. 

Pull Before You Brush!

Oil pulling cleans and detoxifies the oral cavity by drawing the dirt, or toxins, out of the mouth. A similar process occurs when using dish soap to remove dirt from your plates or silverware! After emptying the oil from your mouth into the sink or trash bin, the cleaned oral cavity can better receive anti-cavity treatment from other dental processes such as brushing with a quality toothpaste. 

History of Oil Pulling

Dedicated users of oil pulling claim that there are many general and dental health benefits of the process, such as strengthening the gums, whitening teeth and eliminating plaque. Others believe that oil pulling can be used to cure certain diseases and even cancers by pulling toxins out of the body. Most commonly, oil pulling is thought to cure tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, inflammation, sore throat dryness and cracked or chapped lips. 

The Bottom Line

Some first-time users of oil pulling quickly become loyal fans of the method, but it is highly advised that this traditional remedy should not substitute regular brushing and flossing in your dental hygiene routine. However, if you can spare the 10-20 minutes to swish oil while you shower and brush your hair, then why not? You may enjoy a healthier mouth with oil pulling and get the whole family involved in this gentle dental treatment

Ask Dr. Max Meinerz at Honest Teeth!

Dr. Max is a graduate of Marquette's School of Dentistry and belongs to the American Dental Association, Wisconsin Dental Association and the Greater Milwaukee Dental Association. He also loves to cook! When it comes to knowing how to take care of your teeth, though, his best advice is to keep up-to-date with your dental hygiene routine and give the dentist a visit every six months! As a local dentist in Elm Grove, Dr. Max enjoys helping patients discover healthier lives by serving his communities in Elm Grove, Wauwatosa, Brookfield and West Allis. Give us a call to meet Dr. Max and his team or to set up your appointment!