Oil Pulling and Dental Health: What Intra-Oral Dental Assistants Need to Know

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It seems as if every day there is a new popular health procedure that takes an alternative approach. More and more, patients are trading in traditional tried and true methods for natural alternatives. But while natural health alternatives can sometimes be beneficial, the lack of research about them can raise concern among health professionals.

Oil pulling is one of the newest fads to hit the oral health industry. People everywhere are trying the method for themselves and blogging about their results online or sharing them on social media with their friends. According to proponents, oil pulling has many health benefits such as preventing gingivitis, freshening breath, and even reversing cavities.

But does current research back up those claims? Read on to discover the truth behind oil pulling.

A Look at How Oil Pulling Works for Intra-Oral Dental Assistants

While oil pulling has recently grown in popularity, it has actually already been around for over 3,000 years. Ita��s a technique used in Ayurveda, a traditional medicinal system in India.

Ayurveda takes an alternative approach to medicine and focuses on providing holistic healing therapies for the whole body. Ayurvedic doctors believe that a humana��s physical existence, mental existence, and personality are all intertwined and should be treated as one entity. In fact, there are many claims that oil pulling not only improves oral health, but that it can also cleanse the entire body.

As professionals with dental assistant careers may know, the process of oil pulling involves using natural oil in the oral cavity like a mouthwash or rinse. One tablespoon of oil is placed in the mouth. Then, the tongue and cheeks are used to swish, move, and pull the oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes. Over time, the oil will thicken as it absorbs bacteria and germs from the mouth. Once the 20 minutes are up, the oil is to be spat out and regular dental practices like flossing and brushing are to be carried out. Oil pulling fans recommend repeating the process four to five times a week for desired results.

Professionals with Dental Assistant Careers Should Know the Health Claims of Oil Pulling

As any intra-oral dental assistant knows, there is no miracle cure for gum disease. However, recent studies have shown that oil pulling can have a positive impact on reducing the formation of plaque and the development of gingivitis in the mouth. One of the most popular oils for oil pulling is coconut oil because of its light flavour and range of healthy properties. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a fatty acid that contains antimicrobial properties, and can help rid the mouth of bacteria like Streptococcus mutans, which can cause tooth decay. It has also been claimed that oil pulling with coconut oil can help reduce inflammation in the mouth, which can provide relief for those suffering from gum disease.

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Coconut oil is a popular choice for oil pulling

While there have been some promising early findings on oil pullinga��s effects on gum disease, many of the other benefits promised still need more research. At this point in time, there are limited formal studies on the subject of oil pulling and dental health. Most outcomes and health claims are made by individuals who have taken up oil pulling and experienced benefits personally. However, many dental professionals, including doctors, agree that the potential benefits of oil pulling could improve their patientsa�� oral health.

Oil Pulling Should Never Replace Brushing and Flossing

As oil pulling grows in popularity, dentists and dental professionals will likely have more and more patients claiming to use oil pulling as a staple part of their dental routine. The potential and mostly unproven benefits of oil pulling could improve the oral health of many individuals. However, it should not be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing. Only when used in conjunction with regular oral care procedures does oil pulling offer the potential for improved oral health.

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