While brushing your teeth and flossing are staples in oral care routines, many TikTokers are adding another step into the process — oil pulling.
Oil pulling is the practice of swishing around oil (coconut, sesame or olive) the mouth for an extended period of time, similar to using mouthwash.
“I had a bunch of dentists in my comments saying that I was doing it right,” she says in her post. “Start it with oil pulling. This gets rid of bad breath, makes your teeth whiter … makes your gums healthy. … It just makes a nice ecosystem in your mouth.”
While there are are oil pulling products on the market that include a variety of ingredients, it can also be done with plain coconut oil. Some studies have shown coconut oil to be helpful in improving gum health, bad breath and inflammation in the mouth. According to Medical News Today, oil pullers should swish one tablespoon of oil for 15 to 20 minutes in order to get optimal results.
Ryan also noted that after swishing the oil around their mouth, people should spit it into the trash because it could clog the sink. She advised viewers to spit in the toilet, but experts warn the oil could clog that as well.
Currently, the hashtag #oilpulling has over 350 million views on TikTok, as several users are learning about this technique. While many TikTokers have implemented oil pulling into their routines, not everyone is fully on board with the practice.
Benjamin Winters (@thebentist), a registered orthodontist in Plano, Texas, made a video several years ago reacting to someone’s oil pulling routine. In the video, Winters claims that it isn’t the coconut oil that removes plaque, rather just the swishing motion that does the job.
“You can swish with anything for 20 min and it will remove plaque OR you can just brush your teeth in 2 min whatever works for you,” Winters wrote in the comments.
Winters’s assertion is also backed by the American Dental Association (ADA), which hasn’t officially endorsed the routine.
“Currently, there are no reliable scientific studies to show that oil pulling reduces cavities, whitens teeth or improves oral health and well-being. Based on the lack of scientific evidence, the American Dental Association does not recommend oil pulling as a dental hygiene practice,” Mouthhealthy.org, a website created by the ADA, wrote. “The ADA continues to recommend that to maintain good dental health you brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste and floss between your teeth once a day.”
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