Oil pulling is gaining quite a lot of traction as a complementary dental therapy. Despite having been around for over 3,000 years, the practice is regularly in the news, celebrity magazines and in medical and dental publications. But what is it and what can it do for your oral health?

Oil pulling is the practice of using an oil mixture as a mouthwash. The use of coconut oil is a fairly recent addition to oil pulling. Used alongside oregano oil, it provides a potent aid in the fight against tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Oil pulling is not a replacement for brushing, flossing or regular checkups. It is used as a complementary therapy alongside your normal oral health regimen. Oil pulling can however replace your usual mouthwash if performed properly and consistently.

Coconut oil and oil pulling

Coconut oil is very popular for oil pulling because it contains a high percentage of lauric acid. This acid attracts the lipid membrane that protects bacteria like iron filings to a magnet. This provides an excellent base for oil pulling. Lauric acid is also credited with fighting the Streptococcus mutans bacteria which is credited with being the primary cause of tooth decay. For these reasons alone, we recommend its use as a carrier oil for oil pulling.

Add good quality oregano oil with its known antibacterial qualities and you have a double whammy. The known health benefits of coconut oil and you have a healthy, natural replacement for mouthwash. Notice I said quality oregano oil. Some cheaper imported oregano oil is not as effective as good quality versions. It is well worth investing in quality oil as it will have real health benefits.

While there is a lot of medical evidence emerging to support oil pulling, there are a few myths too.

Oil pulling is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. Oil pulling is very effective as a complementary therapy but should not replace brushing, flossing and regular dental checks.

Oil pulling helps treat jaw pain. Oregano oil is credited with having pain relieving properties but cannot treat severe discomfort. If you are experiencing any issues with your jaw, you should see your dentist as soon as possible.

Oil pulling whitens teeth. Not strictly true. Your teeth will look better and perhaps a little lighter thanks to its bacteria fighting ability. If you regularly have plaque buildup on your teeth, oil pulling will reduce and eventually eliminate it. That could make your teeth look whiter but there are no known instance of actual tooth whitening accredited to oil pulling.

Oil pulling as a complementary therapy used alongside brushing and flossing is something I definitely recommend. The known health benefits of both coconut oil and oregano oil are well known and are bound to have a beneficial effect. I would suggest everyone try it and see how you feel!