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Does ‘Oil Pulling’ Really Work?

A question we hear a lot around here is, "Should I be oil pulling?" Well, the answer to that may come as a surprise to some.

Before we get into the good and bad of oil pulling, let's discuss what exactly it is. Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice that has been done for centuries to draw toxins from the body. Recently, it has become popular in mainstream culture as a way to whiten teeth and clean the mouth. The idea is you put coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes a day, and voila - instantly whiter smile! But does it work?

Well, yes and no. On the one hand, it works because you are essentially rinsing out your mouth for 20 minutes. But what you may not realize is that rinsing your mouth out with any other type of oil, water or mouthwash for 20 minutes will yield comparable results.

But that’s not all ...

In addition to coconut oil not being any more effective as a whitener than water or some other fluids, it can also be harmful if swallowed. There have been reported cases of patients developing pneumonia after swallowing pulled oil.

If you want to try oil pulling, follow these guidelines:
• Make sure you really do "pull" for at least 20 minutes.
• Don’t use oil pulling instead of brushing and flossing; it can be an effective accompaniment, but it’s not a replacement for your regular oral health routine.
• When you are done pulling with oil, be sure to spit it out into a trash can and not into a sink or toilet, as the oil can wreak havoc on your pipes and plumbing system.
• Never allow a child to oil pull, as they are more likely to swallow pulled oil and become ill.

If you would like to try oil pulling, speak with Dr. Abelar first so he can be sure to rule out any illnesses, infections, loose teeth or fillings, or disorders like TMJ disorder that might be aggravated by 20 minutes of swishing.

For questions and concerns, or to schedule an appointment, please give Dr. Abelar’s office a call at 858-866-9692.

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