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Tips for Dental Specialists to Tackle ‘Oil Pulling’ Patients

While information about oil pulling has considerably increased in recent times, dental professionals may still find it difficult to address issues related to this alternative therapy.

What Is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurveda remedy practiced in Asia and dates back to over 3,000 years. It involves placing a tablespoon of edible oil like olive, coconut and sesame in the mouth and rinsing it through teeth for several minutes to improve oral health.

As oil goes through teeth, hidden microbes and bacteria are drawn out into the solution. The longer oil is rinsed through the mouth, the more microbes are removed from it. After approximately 20-30 minutes, the oil solution gets filled with bacteria, so the person needs to spit it out and rinse with water.

Many practitioners of oil pulling claim that this procedure whitens teeth and enhances oral health in the long term. Just like other folk remedies, there simply isn’t enough evidence available to advocate the efficacy of oil pulling as a replacement for time-tested and proven dental hygiene.

Replacing or Supplementing Regular Dental Visits?

As a dental professional, it’s important to educate your patients about how oil pulling routines shouldn’t substitute routine dental visits and oral care routines. The process of oil pulling doesn’t necessarily reverse tooth decay effects, so you must let your patients know.

But it doesn’t mean that oil pulling isn’t a good supplementary therapy. Many people who practice oil pulling have affirmed its benefits for whitening teeth, preventing cavities, relieving tooth sensitivity and reducing gingivitis.

Potential Positive Effects on Patients

As a dental professional, you may need to pre-medicate patients before certain dental procedures to prevent sicknesses. If bad bacteria in the mouth enter the bloodstream because of a dental procedure, a patient can get really sick. Patients with inflamed oral tissues are at higher risk of bad bacteria from the mouth traveling to their bodies. With this in mind, the procedure of oil pulling may act as a good supplement to any dental procedure. But your patients must know that this alternative therapy cannot replace traditional dental work.

What to Tell Your Oil Pulling Patients?

If your patients undertake oil pulling as part of their oral health, make sure they follow these rules:

  • Rinse gently and slow down when jaws start to ache because this indicates that the mouth is working too hard.
  • Don’t swallow any oil when rinsing because it contains bacteria pulled from hidden corners of the mouth.
  • Use smaller amounts when rinsing to avoid swallowing the oil.
  • Once rinsing is over, spit the solution into a trash bin instead of a sink because oil clogs pipes over time.
  • Don’t drink anything after rinsing to avoid swallowing bacteria for the best results.

Without enough scientific information available about oil pulling, it is vital that patients don’t discard regular dental procedures for this alternative therapy. But you should not dissuade them from trying it out either, as long as they treat it as a supplement and not a replacement.

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