After pondering the question internally, I decided I couldn’t really give a good answer until I tried it myself. This week’s blog will directly address my home made clinical trial and a bit of scientific data I looked up on the web.
To begin I looked up how to do it on the internet, same as you might, and my research tells me that 1 tablespoon of sesame or coconut oil can be used to swish with for a period of 20 minutes or until the liquid becomes a white thick milky consistency at which time it will have become saturated with bacteria.
I brush my teeth for the directed 2 minutes using my handy electric tooth brush, floss all surfaces of my teeth and I would suggest you do twice daily, and I begin my oil pulling therapy.
As I type this I have a mouth full of coconut oil (since I didn’t have any sesame oil handy), and my first impression is this…it tastes awful. It is a very bland and naturally oily. My cursory review of the nutritional labeling tells me that the oil I have chosen has no sodium, no carbohydrates, no protein, no mineral qualities and no nutritional value other than a heavy supply of fats. Based on this data I will tell you that it seems very safe for your mouth and I do not believe it will cause any harm to your teeth and gums.
At minute 7, I have a strong urge to gag and so I naturally spit out the oil to recover for a moment…whew…close call! As directed on www.oilpulling.com, I knew this might happen so I am prepared to start again with a fresh mouth full of oil. Here we go again!
For the remaining 13 minutes of my experiment I search the scientific literature database online called Pub Med to determine the scientific efficiency of this technique. There is not much research into the topic available to me but I am surprised to learn that one study by dentists in India deemed oil pulling equally as effective as Chlorhexadine (a prescription strength mouthwash which I know to be about equally effective as Listerene in clinical trials) in reducing halitosis (bad breath) and the concentration of microorganisms associated with causing bad breath. Promising data! Another study found that oil pulling over 10 days found equal or better reduction in plaque and aerobic microorganisms associated with gingivitis than using Chlorhexadine when both were combined with daily tooth brushing.
When my 20 minutes has arrived, I am relieved. My cheeks are sore and my mouth is oily. I survived my clinical trial with only one mishap along the way, and I can say that my teeth do feel very clean and smooth at this point. Perhaps this is because they and my tongue are now coated in oil and I believe anything in my mouth would feel smooth at this point. Looking at the color and consistency of the coconut oil after the therapy, there is no discernable difference in the oil so I can’t say it obviously removed anything from my mouth. Based on the scientific data I read while swishing, I believe it has.
I believe that a good mouthwash will help control the concentration of bacteria and other microorganisms in your mouth, especially the ones associated with gingivitis and bad breath. I know that a 1-minute rinse with either Listerene or Chlorhexadine has the desired effect and now I know that a 20-minute swish with Coconut oil does too.
For my 2 cents, I’d prefer the taste and consistency of Listerene to either Chlorhexadine or Coconut Oil so I wouldn’t risk the potential for gagging or the sore cheek muscles I now sport after 20 minutes of swishing, but if you ask me if it works and is it safe? I’d have to say it is. If you want to use oil pulling in lieu of your regular mouthwash, go for it!
Should you substitute oil pulling for your routine home care regimen of brushing and flossing or your routine checkups and cleanings at the dentist? Absolutely not! I found no data to support its ability to “cure” dental cavities or toothaches and there is absolutely no ingredient in any oil that can remineralize a cavity as some websites suggest it can. Believe it or not, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet so you have to find a reliable source and trust your own judgement.
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