Oil Pulling – Good for Dental Health and Teeth Whitening?

coconut oil pulling for white teeth

Oil pulling is said to be an age old practice that helps detoxify your mouth, break down plaque and whiten teeth. However it has very little scientific substance to back up these claims. Two of us at Nest&Glow have been oil pulling daily for a fortnight to see for ourselves if it lives up to these claims.

How to Oil Pull

Oil pulling is basically swishing oil in your month and through your teeth, just like mouthwash, one or more times a day. The common oils to pull with are coconut, sesame, ghee (clarified butter) or sunflower. It’s recommended to use about one tablespoon and to swish until at least the oil warms up. About 15-20 mins, if you have the time, is said to be optimal to give it time to break down plaque. Best time to oil pull is first thing in the morning before you have had anything to eat.

  1. Oil up your mouth with 1-2 table spoons of your choice of oil. Sesame is the traditional choice, but coconut is the most common these days and is the only oil tested that has been shown to have antibacterial properties.
  2. Swish oil in your month, ideally for 15-20 mins. By this time it should double in volume and turn thick and milky. Run the oil across your teeth and through them.
  3. Spit out oil, into a compost heap or tissue that you can bin. Do not put down a drain as this causes issues for drainage systems. Never swallow as can contain bacteria, toxins and dead skin.
  4. Rinse mouth, with either warm water, salted water or a mouthwash of your choice. We used a food grade 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Brush teeth, using your normal method and toothpaste. It’s said to be very important to remove all the oil and the loosened plaque.

Is it safe?

In a word yes; it is not known to have any side affects and the oils are safe to eat. All can do it – children (as long as they don’t swallow), pregnant and elderly. We both spoke to our dentist before hand and they said it was fine. We have a combination of amalgam and composite fillings but otherwise healthy teeth. If you do have any dental issues you should ask your dentist for advice before trying.

Our Results With Oil Pulling

We tried this for two weeks, doing for 20 mins – once in the morning and once before night time. Then brushing with an electric toothbrush.

No changes to the appearance of our teeth and honestly don’t look any whiter, but our teeth were well cared for beforehand. There have been some photos of remarkable changes, these are often by people selling expensive flavored coconut oil so could be suspect. It will not whiten teeth any whiter than their natural colour.

I (Bastian) had a few teeth with slight shadowing and it hasn’t removed these, but neither has a dentists polish.

Despite no physical changes we both felt like it did something beneficial. Our mouths felt good, this could mean nothing but it does make sense that this extra time dedicated to doing something for 20 mins did have a positive affect on our oral health.

Going forward neither of us will be doing this twice daily any more, but will do it again once in a while. It’s very easy to get into the swing of oil pulling and its a fun thing to try out.

Oil Pulling tips

  • If you have lots of mucus while oil pulling, spit everything out and start again. Still count the time before you started again.
  • Start off with a smaller amount of oil as it can be difficult to start with to do it for 20 minutes.
  • Use a high quality cold pressed oil, like raw virgin organic coconut oil.
  • No need to buy special flavored oil for pulling. Unless you really don’t like the taste of coconut oil.

Have you given it a try? Let us know below.

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