You already know about flossing, mouthwash, tooth brushing, and regular dental checkups, but what about oil pulling? You may have heard rumor of the benefits oil pulling is claimed to provide (or you may never have heard of it at all).
Oil pulling is a part of Ayurveda medicine, a form of Hindu traditional medicine. It is the practice of swishing some form of edible oil (commonly sunflower, coconut, or sesame oil) in your mouth for 20 minutes. There are many beneficial health claims associated with oil pulling such as:
You might have heard friends and family members talk about how great oil pulling is for your health; but do understand that there has not been significant research to support actual medical benefits of oil pulling. There has been some scientific proof that oil pulling can reduce bacteria that produce bad breath and tooth decay, but it is much less effective than mouthwash.
If you want to try oil pulling, be careful not to overwork your jaw (20 minutes of swishing puts a lot of wear and tear on your jaw muscles), and we have concerns over the long term effects on the TMJ. Remember to brush your teeth as well; if you’re able to spend 20 minutes swishing oil in your mouth, you should also spend a few extra minutes to brush and floss too!