You may have heard the term “oil pulling” as one of the latest trends in home oral health care. By swishing around coconut oil for several minutes in your mouth, the idea is that the oil pulls microbes off of your teeth, which can act as a teeth whitener, halitosis treatment and even improve gingivitis. Some will go as far as to say oil pulling prevents cavities. Whey these claims are not proven and agreed upon by all dentists, there is some scientific truth about what coconut oil actually accomplishes within the mouth.
We all have millions of bacteria and microbes in our mouth at any given time, even when our mouth is “clean.” Each microorganism has a fatty cell membrane. When coconut oil is introduced to the mouth, the fatty microbe cell is attracted to the oil and is essentially “pulled away” and removed as you swish.
Coconut oil contains a significant amount of lauric acid, which is known for its antibacterial powers. Since bacteria (strep mutans) is what causes tooth decay, it is understood why many people consider oil pulling as an cavity prevention regime. There is no mistake that coconut oil can reduce bacteria in the mouth, which we know can treat a variety of oral health issues, ranging from bad breath to gum disease.
For a solid boost to your oral health routine, oil pulling can be an excellent addition. It may even be considered your new natural mouthwash. However, never allow oil pulling to replace your dental visits or your routine brushing and flossing, and don’t rely on it to prevent cavities and gum disease. There are many home remedies for oral care out there, before you give them a try, always consult your dentist first. At Mitzi Morris DMD, we will be happy to discuss oil pulling as a supplemental dental care regime.