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Do Mouthwash and Oil Pulling Really Work?

oil pulling holistic dentist Brisbane
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 2 September, 2016

Good oral hygiene practices, proper brushing and flossing techniques plus the optional extras like tongue scraping or oil pulling are important ways to help keep your teeth clean, gums healthy and prevent bad breath.

Whilst these are excellent daily practices if you are to truly have a healthy mouth and healthy body it is important to address contributing factors to systemic illness such as lifestyle factors and diet.

Mouthwash and oil pulling work by dislodging food debris and bacteria but it is important to apply the correct techniques and choose the right product especially when it comes to a mouthwash.

Whichever you choose to make sure you use it daily and be aware that if time is a limitation then 20 minutes of oil pulling a day is probably not going to fit into your routine and you will derive the same benefits in one minute with a good quality mouthwash.


Mouthwashes give you great tasting fresh breath but they also deliver more than a minty fresh mouth. A good mouthwash will have antibacterial properties so will help to reduce the number of bacteria present on your teeth and in your mouth.

An excellent mouthwash will also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that will support your gum health.

Again you can get mouthwash off the shelf or opt for a more natural product. Either way, the most important thing to know is always choosing an alcohol-free variety.

Alcohol dehydrates your mouth which allows bacteria to breed faster and makes you more prone to gum disease or cavities. The ethanol in leading brands of mouthwash has also been linked to the increased risk of mouth cancers in research studies and should, therefore, be avoided.

If you are after a natural mouthwash read the label closely to ensure it does not contain fluoride, alcohol, sugar, artificial colours or sweeteners.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient practice that involves simply swishing oil around your teeth and mouth for as long as you can (ideally 20 minutes). The idea is that the oil helps to draw toxins out of the teeth and gums, keep them healthy and prevent disease. Now there isn’t a lot of scientific research out there on this topic but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence where people claim it has benefited them and their oral hygiene.

Oil pulling is very much back in fashion again at the moment due to many people discovering the many health benefits of coconut oil.

The technique involves using about 1 teaspoon of good quality coconut oil then drawing it back and forth between the teeth for as long as you can hold it in your mouth, but no more than 20 minutes, before spitting it out. Then rinse your mouth, brush your teeth and use your tongue scraper to clean your tongue.

Some of the reported benefits of oil pulling are:

  • removes bacteria, toxins, and parasites that live in your mouth or lymph system
  • helps remineralise your teeth
  • strengthens your gums
  • makes your teeth whiter
  • reduces tooth sensitivity
  • shifts mucous from your throat and sinuses
  • and has been reported to help with asthma, headaches, skin conditions, arthritis, infections and liver problems etc

As I mentioned there is little scientific evidence to back up these claims but many people swear by it. From a dentists perspective, it can’t do you any harm if it is something you are wanting to try for yourself.

Be warned though if you have crowns or caps on your teeth as I have heard stories of them being dislodged by the process.

If you are unsure what mouthwash to use or are having difficulty finding a good natural product please contact us at Evolve Dental Healing Kenmore we will be more than happy to help.

  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 30 years experience, practising holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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