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Can I Use Mouthwash After Oil Pulling?

You can use mouthwash after oil pulling but it is unnecessary because it is redundant and you won't reap more benefits from additional rinsing. However, this holistic ayurvedic practice is not endorsed by the American Dental Association so use at your own risk.


Mouthwash after oil pulling is unnecessary

It's unnecessary to use mouthwash after oil pulling when done properly for two reasons.

  • Oil pulling is a mouth rinse. A mouthwash or mouth rinse is any type of liquid that is swished around the mouth to cleanse it of food/plaque/debris. Therefore, "pulling with oil" is technically a mouthwash. In other words, it is redundant and unnecessary.

  • Mouth is already clean after pulling. Oil pulling requires rinsing for 15-20 minutes which will definitely leave your mouth squeaky clean. Most traditional mouthwashes only require 30-60 seconds of rinsing.


Coconut oil
Coconut oil

Basically, using a mouth rinse after pulling with oil is redundant because you're essentially using two mouthwashes if you do so. Then there is also the fact that if you rinsed for 15-20 minutes already, an extra 30-60 second rinse with a "mouthwash" probably won't give you much more benefits.


In other words, your mouth can't get any cleaner so there is really no point to using a mouth rinse after oil pulling. However, there is one instance where you may want to consider it.


When you may want to use mouthwash after oil pulling

The only time you may want to use a mouthwash after pulling with oil is if you dislike the taste of oil in your mouth afterwards.


Bottle of listerine cool mint
Listerine has a cool minty taste that is more palatable

The most commonly used oil for this practice is coconut oil and not everyone is fond of its taste. If you do not like the flavor of the oil that you're pulling with, rinsing with a mouthwash afterwards can help get rid of the oil taste.


Alternatively, you could also use a different type of oil for the pulling if you do not like coconut. Any type of oil that is near neutral will be suffice as a substitute.


Alternate oils for pulling:

  • Sunflower oil

  • Sesame oil

  • Olive oil


Of course there are many more types of oils that you can use. As long as it is food grade it should be acceptable. Just make sure you don't swallow any of it!


Oil pulling is not ADA approved

To be clear, the American Dental Association does NOT endorse nor recommend oil pulling as a hygiene practice due to insufficient evidence of oral health benefits. They have not found any reliable scientific studies to validate any of its claims.


  • Activate salivary enzymes. The enzymes absorb chemical toxins, bacterial toxins, and environmental toxins.

  • Generate antioxidants. These antioxidants can damage bacterial cell walls and kill them.

  • High saponification index. The oil contains lauric acid which reduces plaque adhesion and cleanses the mouth.

  • Prevents bad breath. Olive oil contains squalen, phytosterols, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K which can prevent oral malodor.

  • Increase metabolism of body. Supposedly increases the body's metabolism, ability to heal, and overall longevity of the human body.


With that being said, we've personally witnessed improved gum health from our patients who do practice oil pulling. Essentially their gums were bleeding less after they started pulling with oil regularly.


Bleeding gums that may benefit from oil pulling
Bleeding gums that may benefit from oil pulling

However, the reason for the improvement has nothing to do with the oils pulling out toxins but rather it is simply functioning as an oral buffering agent. The neutral pH of the oil neutralizes acids and raises the oral pH which inhibits bacterial activity.


Verdict

You do not need to use mouthwash after oil pulling because it is redundant and your mouth is already clean enough as it is. The only time we would recommend an additional mouth rinse afterwards is if you dislike the taste of oil in your mouth.


Last but not least, don't forget that while consistent rinsing is a good oral hygiene practice, it is still not a substitute for regular dental checkups and cleanings. If you're around Long Island City, NY our dentists are accepting new patients.



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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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