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Why Oil Pulling Can't Replace a Traditional At-Home Oral Care Routine

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Used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is known to be a great oral detoxification procedure. Here’s how Calgary dentists are responding to this at-home remedy that has gained mainstream attention.

Looking after your teeth is vital to your oral health and to help you avoid certain conditions of the teeth and gums. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, visiting your local Calgary dentist for regular check-ups is important to prevent:

  • tooth decay
  • tooth loss
  • gum disease
  • oral cancer
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What is Oil Pulling?

Used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine, coconut oil pulling is said to be an effective oral detoxification procedure that is done by swishing a tablespoon of oil (coconut, olive or sesame oil) in your mouth daily for 10-20 minutes.

It is used in India as a home remedy to:

  • treat tooth decay
  • kill bad breath
  • heal bleeding gums
  • reduce inflammation
  • whiten teeth
  • relieve symptoms of TMJ
  • prevent cavities
  • strengthen gums and jaws

How It Works

As the oil hits your teeth and gums, microbes are picked up and carried away by the oil.

How Long Does It Take To See The Results?

It has been said that within one week, patients may notice a cleaner mouth and change in their breath. Within one month, some people may experience healthier gums.

How Should I Perform Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling should be performed first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything. Use 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil and swish for around 10-20 minutes. Once the time is up, spit out the oil and rinse and remember to brush your teeth as normal!

It is recommended to do this at least 3-5 times a week for the best results.

Tips From a Calgary Dentist

If you embrace oil pulling as part of your daily teeth cleaning regimen, Calgary dentists recommend that you adhere to a few guidelines:

  • Swish gently. If your jaw starts aching after minutes, take a break or slow down.

  • DO NOT swallow the oil while swishing. If you find it hard not to, you likely have too much oil in your mouth. Some find it helpful to start out with a smaller amount, like a half-tablespoon, before working up to larger amounts.

  • Once you have finished pulling, spit out the solution into the trash. DON’T spit it down the sink or into a toilet, because with time the oil will build up and clog the pipes the.

  • ALWAYS rinse your mouth with water first before consuming any food or drinks.

Oil Pulling is NOT a Replacement For Traditional At-Home Oral Care

While there are some undeniable benefits that are associated with oil pulling, the majority of dentists agree that a regular oil pulling routine SHOULD NOT replace routine dental visits and traditional at-home oral care such as brushing and flossing.

Why is this the case?

Swishing for 20 minutes with oil reduces plaque in the same way as swishing with water does - it dilutes the stickiness or plaque and its ability to cling to teeth.

If done daily, oil pulling COULD remove some tooth staining and reduce plaque and bacteria, but not enough to prevent gum disease. That is where flossing, brushing and tongue scraping come in.


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To find out more about how our Calgary dentists can help keep the teeth and gums of your entire family healthy, contact our clinic at 403-248-2066 or fill in our online contact form.

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