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Ten Coconut Oil Pulling Side Effects and Benefits

Oil pulling is an ancient medicinal technique that dates back over 3,000 years. In this technique, the user swishes a tablespoon of a natural oil like coconut oil in the mouth for approximately 20 minutes, then spits it out. This practice is reputed to help reduce oral health problems and even fight certain diseases.

Before you begin oral pulling, however, it is important to know the risks as well as the benefits. Here are ten coconut oil pulling side effects and benefits to help you decide if oil pulling is for you.  There are reasons why oil pulling is still widely in use today. Here are six to help you make your decision.


  1. Coconut Oil Is Anti-bacterial And Anti-microbial

Coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-microbial properties for a two-in-one oral rinse solution. Unlike other oils, coconut oil contains lauric acid, a naturally anti-microbial acid that helps eliminate harmful bacteria and microbes in your mouth and body. Lauric acid and the antibacterial properties of coconut oil help control enveloped viruses, fungi, yeast, and bacteria, keeping your mouth and body healthy. Coconut oil even helps fight Clostridium difficile, the most common cause of antibiotic-resistant diarrhea acquired in hospitals worldwide.

  1. Coconut Oil Helps Reduce Plaque

Nothing replaces brushing for plaque elimination, but swishing coconut oil could reduce harmful plaque buildup. The swishing action loosens food particles and plaque, and the coconut oil helps break down the plaque further.

  1. Coconut Oil Protects Against Gingivitis

Studies show that the anti-bacterial properties in coconut oil that help reduce plaque also help protect against the gum disease gingivitis. This disease is usually the result of poor oral hygiene, which means that using a rinse like coconut oil to help keep your mouth healthy also reduces your risk of gingivitis.

  1. Coconut Oil Improves Bad Breath

Halitosis, or bad breath, is often the result of poor oral hygiene combined with several microorganisms that cause the condition. Traditional Indian medicine techniques treated this condition with oil pulling. More recently,scientists performed studies that suggest that oil pulling is just as effective as the conventional method of therapy, a chlorhexidine mouthwash, in treating halitosis.

  1. Coconut Oil Relieves Dryness Of Throat And Mouth

Coconut oil is a natural way to treat dryness of the mouth and throat, including the condition dry mouth. Many medications list dry mouth as a side effect. The moisturizing properties of natural oils like coconut oil reduce the symptoms while also moistening lips and throat.

  1. Coconut Oil Strengthens Teeth

The plaque reducing, gingivitis fighting and antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil lead to healthier, stronger teeth. Combined with the moisturizing properties that help fight dry mouth and its associated tooth decay, coconut oil might just be what is missing from your oral hygiene routine. There are no serious side effects associated with coconut oil pulling. That said, here are a few things to keep in mind.


  1. Coconut Oil Does Not Replace Oral Hygiene Habits

Perhaps the most concerning side effect that oil pullers develop is the belief that oil pulling replaces traditional hygiene practices. Scientific studies indicate that coconut oil is as effective or more effective than oral mouthwashes. That does not mean users can stop brushing and flossing their teeth. Manual brushing and flossing are still the best ways to reduce plaque, gingivitis, and the microorganisms that cause bad breath.

  1. Coconut Pulling Oils Are Not Always Tested For Purity

Using a food grade, organic oil or a coconut oil specifically geared towards oil pulling is probably safe. However, oil pulling is not a practice endorsed by traditional medicine and so is not regulated in the same way as other oral health products. Coconut oils used for pulling can contain harmful additives as the oils are not evaluated by an independent agency specifically for pulling. This is not something that should overly concern pullers. Purchasing food grade, organic oils is safer than using coconut oil without these labels. Just be sure to do a little research about the manufacturer.

  1. Coconut Oil Can Cause Stomach Upset And Diarrhea

Some oil pullers report feelings of nausea and diarrhea after using coconut oil. While this side effect is not well documented, it is also not surprising. Individuals with sensitive stomachs or digestive problems should consult their physician before attempting oil pulling. So far this side effect had not led to any reported complications. To reduce the risk, start by swishing oil in your mouth for five minutes at a time instead of the full 20.

  1. Pulling Can Cause Liquid Pneumonia

Swishing any liquid in your mouth for long periods of time carries the risk of liquid pneumonia, known in the medical community as aspiration pneumonia. This condition results from the inhalation of a foreign matter like food or liquid into your lungs. This causes a bacterial infection which is often harder to treat than the more common strains of pneumonia. To prevent this side effect, take care when oil pulling not to inhale any liquid. If you do, consult your physician immediately. Now that you know the side effects and benefits of coconut oil pulling, decide for yourself if coconut oil pulling is right for you.

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