What is oil pulling?
The practice of oil pulling dates back thousands of years to India but has become popular for oral home care since the 1990s.
The process of oil pulling involves swishing with oil for between 3 to 20 minutes. A variety of oils can be used, including coconut oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil.
To oil pull simply put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish it around and between your teeth.
How does oil pulling work to help prevent cavities?
Have you ever mixed water with oil in a glass? Separation occurs between the two layers because water and oil repel each other. Oil is hydrophobic (afraid of water), while water is lipophobic (afraid of fat). Oil cannot be dissolved in water.
Bacteria create plaque through the production of soft proteins. One of the reasons plaque sticks to teeth & leads to cavities is that it is hydrophobic (repels water) and so this is why plaque on the teeth cannot be removed with water or mouthwash.
Plaque and bacteria can be removed from the mouth by oil pulling. Oil and plaque are both hydrophobic, so they will mix. By rinsing with oil more and more bacteria are removed & dissolving into the oil. Teeth, gums, tongue, and other oral tissues are greatly cleaned or "pulled" of bacteria leading to fewer cavities.
It is best to spit the oil into a trash can rather than down the drain, as it could block your drain pipes when it cools and solidifies.
Can it reverse tooth decay?
Oil pulling cannot reverse tooth decay, but it can prevent cavities by reducing the number of bacteria in your mouth. Damage caused by tooth decay cannot be reversed once it has already occurred so that is why it is better to work towards prevention rather than cure.
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