Oil pulling, also known as “kavala” or “gundusha”. Using coconut oil as a form of mouthwash has recently become more popular among people who prefer home therapy remedies. This is not a new concept; people have been oil pulling for over 3000 years.

Dental professionals have recently been faced with patients who have adopted oil pulling as part of their daily dental regime.  As there is still much controversy about using alternative therapies amongst dental professionals, here is what evidence experts have on the benefits of Coconut oil pulling.

What is Oil pulling?

Oil pulling consists of rinsing your mouth with oil, by pulling the oil backs and forwards through the teeth.  For favourable results this needs to be done for at least 15 minutes every morning.

Different oils have been used in the past, including nut oils.  Coconut has been more popular recently for its many different health benefits including boosting your immune system.

The claimed results are:

  • Whitens your teeth
  • Cures tooth decay
  • Helps bad breath
  • Heals bleeding gums
  • Boost immune system

 What experts say

Dental experts agree that coconut oil pulling does have a benefit to dental hygiene but it’s not a cure and should not replace regular visits to the dentist or traditional dental routines at home.

When oil is sucked through the teeth, little microbes are picked up and held firmly by the oil.  As the oil is pushed and pulled, bacteria is sucked out of difficult-to-reach hiding places within the mouth.  Oil Pulling benefits your oral health by lessening the bacterial load in the mouth.  The longer you pull the oil through the teeth, the more bacteria are removed.

It’s important to advise your patients NOT to swallow the oil, as it will be full of viruses and bacteria which may be harmful to their health.

More research needs to be done to make sure the claims which can be found on the internet are factual.  However, there is some truth on ‘oil pulling’ with coconut oil reducing tooth decay.

Coconut oil comprises 50% of lauric acid, which is well known for being a bacteria destroyer. As the bacteria streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium, is a major cause of gum disease, the antibacterial action in coconut oil helps prevent this from happening.

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