Coconut oil pulling is a type of oral health therapy that dates as far back as 3,000 years. According to an article published by dentistryiq.com, this practice has its origins in Ayurvedic medicine. The term “oil pulling” comes from the process of sucking, pulling, and pushing oil though the teeth. Here is some more information about this oral therapy, including coconut oil pulling benefits.
How Coconut Oil Pulling Works
Oil pulling involves swishing oil, about one tablespoon, around the mouth. The aim is to remove bacteria and microbes hiding in the crevices and spaces between teeth. Doctors such as Jessica T. Emery DMD recommend swishing oil around your mouth for about 20 minutes to ensure it pulls as many bacteria and microbes as possible. After this, you can spit it out. Although one can use a wide range of oils, coconut oil is the best because it can get rid of harmful microbes, viruses, protozoa, and bacteria. With this in mind, here are the health benefits of coconut oil pulling.
1. Prevent Tooth Decay
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92% of adults ages 20-64 have experienced tooth decay at some point in their lives. Out of these, 23.7% have not sought dental treatment according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The good news is coconut oil can prevent tooth decay according to a study carried out at the Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). Researchers involved in this study found that coconut oil inhibits growth of tooth-decay causing bacteria strains such as streptococcus mutans.
2. Prevent Plaque Buildup
Plaque is another oral health problem that affects many people. In simple terms, plaque is a sticky, colorless cover that forms on teeth. It forms when one eats carbohydrate or sugar-rich foods and fails to brush the teeth. The problem with plaque is it provides food to acid-producing bacteria that eventually destroy the teeth. This is where coconut oil comes in handy because it can prevent plaque buildup according to Lyla Blake-Gumbs, a researcher at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
Besides getting rid of bacteria and microbes, coconut oil can improve salivary flow as well as moisturize the mouth according to a study carried out at the University of Toronto. The researcher involved in this study asked people with Sjorgren’s Syndrome (SS) and xerostomia (dry mouth) to swish coconut oil in their mouths every day over a three-week period. All subjects involved in this study reported improvements in salivary flow and lubrication of their mouths.
4. Better Breath
Bad breath or halitosis affects as many as 80 million Americans according to figures from the Bad Breath Institute. The downside is 60% of halitosis sufferers are likely to suffer from stress or depression compared to people who do not have bad breath. If you suffer from bad breath, coconut oil can help. A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that coconut oil pulling inhibits the proliferation of microorganisms that cause halitosis.
5. Reduce Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that causes inflammation and irritation of the gums. It is usually caused by poor oral hygiene. Although there are conventional treatments, coconut oil pulling can reduce the likelihood of developing plaque-induced gingivitis. This is according to another study published by the NIH.
In conclusion, coconut oil pulling therapy has been around for thousands of years. It has health benefits such as reducing gingivitis, plaque buildup, tooth decay, improving bad breath, as well as improving salivary flow in the mouth. You can enjoy the same health benefits by swishing coconut oil around the mouth for about 20 minutes every day.