If you're investigating alternative remedies to whiten your teeth, you may have heard that oil pulling can help clean up your smile. This ancient Ayurvedic dental technique involves swishing a spoonful of oil around your mouth first thing in the morning for up to 20 minutes before spitting it out. This procedure is considered to primarily help maintain your teeth and gums and to build a healthy environment in your mouth. As a by-product, you may notice that your smile also becomes a little whiter. How does this work?

Oil Pulling and Mouth Cleansing

When you swish oil around your mouth it works kind of like a liquid vacuum cleaner. The swishing movement allows the oil to get to parts of your teeth and gums that brushing or flossing may not be able to reach. According to Dentistry IQ, the oil is pushed around your teeth and gums and will pick up the toxins it comes across in your mouth. These toxins stick to the oil, so when you spit the oil out, the toxins go with it. You end up with a cleaner mouth.

During this swishing process, the oil in your mouth may be able to pick up minor stains on your teeth and remove them. It may also do the same with any plaque that has built up overnight since you last brushed your teeth. Keeping stains at bay in a cleaner mouth and removing surface plaque may make your teeth look a little whiter.

Tip: While oil pulling may have oral health benefits, you shouldn't use it as a replacement for your daily dental routine. It's also important to continue to brush and floss your teeth and to see your dentist for regular check-ups.

Oil Pulling and Oral Health

The toxins that oil pulling removes from your mouth include harmful bacteria. This process may help keep your teeth and gums healthier; it may also reduce the amount of plaque that builds up on your teeth if you oil pull regularly. Plaque depends on oral bacteria to grow so, if you can remove some of this bacteria, you may help prevent plaque from building up, keeping your teeth whiter and looking cleaner.

Oil pulling may also improve your gum health. If you have red or sore gums, oil pulling may help get rid of the bacteria that is making them less healthy than they should be. Cosmetically, your teeth may look brighter if your gums are a healthy pink colour.

Is Oil Pulling Worth it?

Given the oral health benefits of oil pulling, it won't do any harm to give the process a try to see if oil pulling also whitens your teeth. Bear in mind that oil pulling won't necessarily whiten your teeth to a fantastic degree; this is more of a deep cleaning process than a whitening one. If you want to improve your smile more, you should talk to a cosmetic dentist about other tooth whitening options that may lift your smile up a few more shades.