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Oil pulling: Oil mouth wash the key to better oral health?

Thursday - 3/6/2014, 10:38am  ET

WASHINGTON -- An ancient practice to improve oral health is a little tough to swallow, but health bloggers are swearing by the benefits of "oil pulling."

Oil pulling is an age-old remedy that cleans teeth and gums by rinsing out the mouth with oil. The practice, which is trending online Thursday, is said to help whiten teeth and improve gum health, according to the Huffington Post.

Swishing oil, such as coconut, sesame or olive oil, in the mouth cuts through plaque and remove toxins without disturbing the teeth or gums, according to health blog Wellness Mama.

For those interested in oil pulling, Wellness Mama has some steps:

  1. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil into your mouth. Many scoop it out as a solid and let it melt in the mouth.

  2. Swish for 20 minutes. It seems lengthy, but the timing is key. It's long enough to break through plaque and bacteria, but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil gets thicker as it mixes with saliva and should be creamy and white when you spit it out.

  3. Spit into the trash can. Not all septic systems may be able to handle the oil.

  4. Rinse well and brush your teeth. Rising with warm water and following up with thorough brushing leaves the mouth and teeth clean.

  5. Bloggers recommend daily use.

Few studies reaffirm the benefits of oil pulling and the American Dental Association has not directly addressed the practice. The ADA recommends brushing, flossing and oral rinses as effective measures for good oral health.

Oil pulling also can clear up acne and help lead to a healthy, glowing complexion, according to the Huffington Post.

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