Around 80 percent of the population worldwide still relies on traditional alternative therapies to help care for their health, according to the World Health Organization. One of these alternative therapies is coconut oil pulling.
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine published study, the practice of oil pulling goes back hundreds of years in Indian and South Asian medicine where it was considered a healthy ingredient for body tissue. It’s said to help:
Freshen your breath
Whiten your teeth
Improve your oral health
Coconut oil pulling is starting to become more popular these days. While there are numerous edible oils used in this type of therapy, there's limited scientific evidence. However, there is recent literature showing coconut is one of the more popular pulling oils. Many individuals swear by this alternative therapy, reporting it also improves their health in various ways.
Other than freshening your breath and whitening your teeth, coconut oil pulling provides various other benefits as well, including those listed below.
Benefits of Coconut Oil Pulling
Coconut oil works by:
1. Improving Your Gum Health
There are bacteria in plaque that could cause gingivitis, a common gum disease marked by swollen, inflamed and red gums that easily bleed. Coconut oil pulling could improve your gum's health. It's said it "pulls" bacteria from your mouth, increases saliva production and moisturizes your gums. All of these can reduce bacteria.
Sixty individuals with gingivitis participated in one study where they performed coconut oil pulling for 30 days. Just one week later, their plaque was reduced and their gum health improved.
2. Reducing Inflammation of Your Gums
Research shows coconut oil can also decrease gum inflammation. According to the study, coconut oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities. The oil reduces the inflammation and makes your gums pinker and healthier.
3. Killing Harmful Bacteria in Your Mouth
There are hundreds of bacteria in your mouth and some can be harmful leading to:
In another study also with 60 participants, it was found that oil pulling could decrease the number of bacteria in saliva. It could also help support good oral hygiene. The authors of the study claimed coconut oil was a safer alternative to chlorhexidine, an ingredient in some mouthwashes.
4. Reducing Bad Breath
Bad breath (halitosis) is a condition affecting around 50 percent of the population. It has many potential causes with some common ones being:
Tongue coating (bacteria becomes trapped on your tongue)
Poor oral hygiene
Another study found oil pulling to be just as effective at reducing bad breath as chlorhexidine.
5. Whitening Your Teeth
While there isn't any scientific evidence confirming oil pulling helps to whiten teeth, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting it could clear teeth surface stains. This is likely because the oil attaches to your teeth and lifts off the stains that have accumulated overnight.
With coconut oil pulling, you swish the oil around in your mouth like you would mouthwash. It's simple to add it into your regular oral hygiene routine. You can find it online or at your local grocery store, and you don't need to add any additional ingredients. You simply take a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish with it for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, then spit it out into the trash to avoid clogging the drain.