Does Oil Pulling Work?

Categories: Dental Tips & News
Does coconut oil pulling better than brushing and flossing?
Is coconut oil pulling better than brushing and flossing?

Coconut oil is all the craze right now and is being promoted as the miracle cure for just about everything. A quick look on Pinterest pulls up article after article of people claiming how oil pulling cured their cavities, stopped their migraines and whitened their teeth.

Unfortunately, all these articles fall under the category of “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of oil pulling, the directions state for a user to swish a teaspoon of coconut oil in their mouth for 20 minutes a day. The oil is supposed to pull toxins out of your body through this swishing action and solve all your dental problems.

The truth is that swishing water for 20 minutes will provide you with the same effect as swishing with coconut oil. Your mouth will be moist and your muscles will be tired from swishing for 20 minutes but the plaque that causes cavities will still be on your teeth.

First, let’s talk about what causes cavities.  Streptococcus mutans are bacteria that live in your mouth and feast on sugar. Plaque is the waste product of those bacteria.  Plaque is acidic and erodes away the enamel of the teeth, causing cavities. Plaque is as sticky as it is acidic and can not simply be removed by swishing any product in your mouth. Plaque can only be removed by mechanical means.

That’s where brushing and flossing come in.  Brushing and flossing are proven ways to protect your teeth against cavities and gum disease.

Brushing twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and an ADA approved toothpaste helps remove plaque and food from your teeth. The fluoride found in toothpaste also helps keep your teeth strong and healthy. When you brush, be sure to get those hard to reach places in the back. Also remember to brush your gums and tongue.

Flossing needs to be done at least once a day. Brushing alone misses at least 35% of your teeth surfaces.

As mentioned above, plaque is sticky and to remove it, you are going to have to physically remove it. This is why flossing is so important and can’t be replaced by oil pulling. If traditional floss leaves your fingers tied up in knots, try any of the flossing aids you can find in the toothpaste aisle of any store. If you aren’t in the habit of flossing regularly, expect to see some red the first few times you floss. That’s a sign of unhealthy gums and will get better the more you floss. If not, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with us so we may evaluate your gums and get you back on the road to a healthy smile.

The bottom line is, while oil pulling will not harm you, it definitely does not take the place of daily brushing and flossing when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy.

If you ever have any questions about home remedies you find on the internet, give us a call at (210) 598-5321 and we will do our best to separate fact from fiction for you.