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Teeth Whitening With Oil Pulling
There are many different types of home remedies people swear by for natural teeth whitening without a trip to the dentist, and oil pulling is one that is gaining more popularity. While many of these remedies are mostly harmless, it is still important to understand what they are and whether they really do what people claim they do. If you are ever in doubt, it is a good idea to check with your dentist.
The oil pulling trend
The oil pulling method involves taking a tablespoon of edible oil, such as that from coconuts, sunflowers or sesame, and swishing it around in the mouth much like a regular mouthwash. The idea is to swish it around for up to five minutes, but some people claim the best results are achieved by swishing it around for 20 minutes, which is difficult for a lot of people to do. The idea is that the swishing or pulling of the oil around the mouth and through the teeth loosens plaque and other buildup to clean the mouth and encourage natural teeth whitening.
What the results are saying
There are no scientific studies that prove oil pulling is more beneficial than regular mouthwash. In addition, it is still necessary to remove any buildup on the teeth with pressure, such as that applied when brushing, even when regularly using the oil pulling method.
Another drawback to oil pulling is that keeping the oil swishing in the mouth for up to 20 minutes is particularly difficult due to saliva buildup. It can also leave an unpleasant feeling when it is time to spit the oil out. While there are some people who claim the method has worked for them, many people have seen no results at all.
Although oil pulling is a technique that has been around for a long time in southern Asia and India, the act of chewing on twigs was used even before that. It is still important to brush the teeth twice a day, and swishing with oil does not appear to be any more beneficial than using a regular American Dental Association-approved mouthwash.
How the ADA is responding
Unless the claim can be backed up with scientific evidence and studies, the ADA recommends maintaining oral hygiene with flossing and twice-a-day brushing with a good fluoride toothpaste. Concerning trends such as oil pulling and other unconventional dental care, the ADA recommends that “the provision of dental care should be based on sound scientific principles and demonstrated clinical safety and effectiveness.” While not necessarily harmful to the teeth, the act of oil pulling does not seem to whiten the teeth better than a good brushing and flossing routine or professional-grade treatment in a dental office.
It is important to exercise caution when using any natural remedy to care for teeth. Results can vary, and unless the claims are backed by scientific data, there is no guarantee a technique like oil pulling will whiten the teeth. If teeth whitening is a concern, the best results are usually achieved by visiting a dental professional for in-office treatment or using over-the-counter products.
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