It’s barely been a month since celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow told reporters about what she says is her smile secret—oil pulling—and already it’s everywhere on the Internet as people look for another new way to whiten their teeth. While oil pulling might be an ancient oral health technique, as our Kelowna dentists will tell you, coconut oil is no match for cavities or gum disease.
What is oil pulling?
People have been practicing oil pulling for at least 2,000 years, swishing coconut oil (or sesame oil) in their mouths for 20 minutes each day in the belief it helps them achieve oral health.
In addition to a glossy smile, strong gums and fresh breath, proponents like Ms. Paltrow say it does wonders for the skin, while others claim it cures headaches. We want to remind you, there’s absolutely no scientific proof oil pulling achieves any of these things.
You might have also heard that Shailene Woodley, a Divergent star with pearly whites, oil pulls with both coconut oil and sesame oil. Regardless of the oil, dental professionals are discouraging oil pulling; the fact is, the best way to keep your teeth white is by brushing and flossing regularly, eating healthy foods, getting cleanings at the office every six months, and maybe an approved teeth whitening service.
How does oil pulling ‘work’?
Oil pullers believe, and some media have reported, that plaque is fat soluble, and so, the bacteria in your mouth left behind by yesterday’s sandwich then joins with the fat of coconut oil, all of which is removed when you spit out the oil.
The truth? No amount of coconut oil in your mouth will prevent cavities or treat gum disease (aka gingivitis and periodontitis).
While oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been used to treat oral pain as well as chronic pain, since there aren’t any medical studies to support oil pulling, our Kelowna dental clinic can’t endorse oil pulling as a whitening technique. Right now, this is just another Hollywood trend.
Do you want to see how other celebrities got their camera-ready smiles? See our post Hollywood Smiles for some amazing before and after shots.
Whether you’re visiting us for cosmetic or general dentistry, we provide a comfortable experience with results that will last. Contact us to book an appointment today!
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