Home Dental Care Oil pulling: does it make your teeth look better?

Oil pulling: does it make your teeth look better?

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 265 views

With hemp, coconut or flaxseed oil: The Ayurvedic healing method of oil pulling promises to use vegetable oil to kill bacteria and toxins in the mouth and whiten teeth. But does that really work? Read here how oil pulling works, which oils are suitable and how big the effect actually is.

Does oil pulling make teeth whiter?

A tablespoon of vegetable oil and 15 to 20 minutes: That’s all you need for oil pulling. The alleged effects of moving the oily liquid in the mouth: toxins and bacteria that have accumulated in the oral cavity overnight are removed by the oil. It is also said that the teeth become whiter as a result.

“So far, however, there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of oil pulling,” says Dr. Nicole Arweiler, Professor at the Department of Periodontology at the Philipps University of Marburg. While there are studies on the subject, they have been short-lived, have too few participants, and are generally imprecise.

There is also no evidence to support the assumption that oil pulling whitens teeth. “The fat makes the teeth shine, but a whitening effect has not yet been proven,” explains the professor.

But where does the assumption that oil pulling helps come from? According to the professor, vegetable oils contain essential oils that are said to have an antibacterial effect. But: ” Essential oils need alcohol or heat to be able to be dissolved – or chewing for a long time,” explains the expert.

In their opinion, it is an open question whether it will be possible to effectively extract the essential oils from the oil in these 15 minutes.

People who invest so much time in oil pulling often have a very conscious lifestyle. “You may get sick less often because oil pulling is part of an Ayurvedic program,” the expert suspects.

She advises: If you take 15 minutes in the morning for dental hygiene, it is more effective to brush for two minutes and then do a proper interdental cleaning.

Oil pulling: Does it help against periodontitis?

Oil pulling is also said to have a preventative effect on periodontal disease. Is that correct? Prof. Dr. Nicole Arweiler explains: “Oil pulling can perhaps be used as a supportive accompaniment for inflammatory diseases, but neither the effect nor the healing have been proven.”

Also, four different studies showed no significant beneficial effects of oil pulling on periodontitis.

Oil pulling: what is it?

Oil pulling comes from Indian Ayurveda medicine and is part of the daily morning routine “Dinacharya”. Oil pulling is also called oil cure, oil chewing or oil slurping. Over the years, the trend has caught on in Europe and falls under the “alternative medicine” category.

The idea behind it: By moving a tablespoon of vegetable oil back and forth in the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, an antibacterial cleansing takes place in the mouth – in preparation for the day. Morning bad breath , plaque and discoloration disappear as a result, according to the scientifically unproven assumption.

How does oil pulling work?

Oil pulling is very simple: It can be incorporated into your daily routine with little effort. The necessary “ingredients” can usually be found in your kitchen. You will need a tablespoon, vegetable oil and about 15 to 20 minutes of your time.

How oil pulling works:

  1. The prerequisite for this is that you are sober! The best time is therefore to do the oil pulling before brushing your teeth and before breakfast on an empty stomach. This keeps the toxins that have accumulated in your mouth overnight from getting back into your body.
  2. You will need a tablespoonful of vegetable oil of your choice. Linen, hemp or coconut oil, for example, are suitable.
  3. Put the oil in your mouth. Draw the oil through the oral cavity and between the teeth and move the liquid back and forth in the mouth. Chewing movements are also possible. Don’t swallow the oil!
  4. Take 15 to 20 minutes. Beginners are advised to draw as long as is comfortable.
  5. After application, the oil is discolored and has a milky white color. The reason: Substances contained in saliva have the property of breaking down the oil. Spit out the oil completely at the end. Be careful not to swallow the oil. The toxins should leave the body! However, the oil residue does not belong in the drain of the sink or in the toilet. Otherwise, the pipes will clog over time and blockages and odors will occur. In addition, oil pollutes the waste water. It is best to dispose of the oil in the household waste after oil pulling: With small amounts, it is quite easy if you spit the remains into a cloth and put it in the normal residual waste. In this way you also avoid an oily film in the dustbin.
  6. After oil pulling, brush your teeth to remove the oil residue from your mouth. Start the day with fresh breath!

Which oil is suitable?

Which oil you use for oil pulling is a matter of taste! Use vegetable oils, preferably cold-pressed and untreated if possible, so that no additional harmful substances enter your body.

These oils are suitable for oil pulling:

hemp oil

Hemp oil is extracted from the hemp plant and has no intoxicating effect. You can recognize cold-pressed oil by its green-yellowish color and the taste is nutty. Hemp oil is considered a high-quality vegetable oil and smells aromatic and herbaceous. In addition, the oil has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect.

coconut oil

Coconut oil is a popular all-round talent in the kitchen and body care: The oil is said to have high anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. However, untreated coconut oil is usually solid at room temperature. So warm it up.

linseed oil

Linseed oil is extracted from the seeds of the flax plant. You can recognize cold-pressed linseed oil by its golden yellow colour, and it has an intense taste. The oil also has antibacterial properties. Make sure to store the linseed oil in dark and airtight containers.

sesame oil

Popular in oriental and Asian cuisine: Sesame oil can be recognized by its pale yellow to dark color and is extracted from sesame seeds. If the oil is light in color, the seeds have not been roasted and it is odorless and tasteless. The roasted, darker oil tastes and smells more like roasted nuts. It has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect.

sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is a common oil in European cuisine. The advantage: It is affordable and available almost everywhere. The oil is light yellow in color and has a mild taste, as well as having antibacterial properties.

What should be considered when oil pulling?

Based on current knowledge, oil pulling is not a substitute for mouthwash. “That’s why it replaces neither brushing your teeth nor a thorough cleaning of your teeth,” says the expert.

Would you like to try oil pulling but are unsure? As a precaution, ask your doctor. In rare individual cases there is a connection to pneumonia. The reason: accidental inhalation of oil droplets.

What else should you watch out for when oil pulling? We explain it to you:

amalgam fillings

It is an inexpensive material that has been used for tooth fillings for a long time: amalgam contains, among other things, mercury, which is released in small quantities when it is worn. This includes chewing. However, it is not known whether oil pulling pulls the mercury out of the fillings.

prosthesis wearer

If you have artificial teeth, you remove the prosthesis before oil pulling. This saves you having to clean the dentures of oil afterwards – the artificial teeth have no benefit from oil pulling.

pregnancy and children

Are you pregnant and still want to oil pull? If you suffer from morning sickness , it may be rather uncomfortable. However, no side effects are known. If you have any questions, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor. Is oil pulling suitable for children? Yes! Be sure to only give them half a tablespoon of oil. Important: The child must already be able to understand that it must not swallow the oil!

To the expert: Prof. Dr. medical dent. Nicole Arweiler is a dentist, professor and director of the department of periodontology at the Philipps University of Marburg. Her work has received several awards and has been widely published nationally and internationally. She is a member of the German Society for Dental, Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine.

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