Expert's Opinion

Oil Pulling Is Back

By Jessica Emery, DMD, owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft Chicago | June 2, 2014

This classic oral care method has a variety of benefits.

Even though an ancient health remedy, oil pulling has returned, transforming into a beauty and wellness topic that has gone viral today. There is nothing more splendid and virtuous then unrefined coconut oil. It is a hot topic now coming back from the ancient days of tradition. Oil pulling is a technique used to clean your teeth and mouth. You place a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and swish with it for up to 20 minutes. When finished make sure you spit into a trash can and not the sink as it can clog the pipes.
People swear by it, that it can fill cavities, relieve toothaches, whiten teeth, freshen breath, absorb harmful bacteria and even say it cures the common cold. From a dentist's perspective, tooth decay is caused by bacteria and studies suggest that coconut oil treated with enzymes (which is like the process that occurs when you have oil in your mouth), the enzymes in your saliva break down. It seems to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. So a good thing.

Patients that have oil pulled have said that they 'love how their mouth feels after swishing and that it lasts all day". They also say that tooth pain is not gone but better. Makes sense to me as we use vitamin E oil to sooth the gums and clove oil to sooth tooth aches. They work. I have not tried oil pulling personally but think I may jump on the bandwagon to see for myself. No solid proof that it works but it certainly makes people feel better. Your cheeks may get tired but I say swish away!
White and Bright
For an at-home teeth whitener: The ingredients are 1 tablespoon baking soda, 5 drops hydrogen peroxide 3%, few drops of water. To make the teeth whitening solution, mix the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in a small container until a consistent paste develops, add water only if necessary. Apply the solution to your teeth evenly with a tooth brush, brush on gently making sure to get a good and even coverage. Allow to stay on the teeth for 5 minutes. Brush off with normal toothpaste and rinse thoroughly with water. For consistent results repeat this process once every week. If your not satisfied with the results leave the mixture on for 10 minutes at a time, no more though because you may get an uneven application and your teeth may get sensitive.

For best results go slowly by taking small steps, and establish a weekly routine. Note that hydrogen peroxide is a chemical and should not be swallowed or used excessively. It is very important to make sure that your thoroughly rinse after using this solution, and stop if you experience any pain.

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Dr. Jessica Emery is the founder and owner of Chicago’s Sugar Fix Dental Loft. - See more at: