Oil Pulling For Canker Sores – Does It Work?

Canker sores or “aphthous ulcers” are painful sores that develop on the soft tissues of your mouth and gums. They aren’t contagious, but they can be very painful and make eating and speaking difficult. 

If you have canker sores, you may have heard that oil pulling, particularly with coconut oil, is a good at-home remedy. But does it really work? Find out in this blog from Nova Cosmetic Dentistry.

Oil Pulling Doesn’t Cure Canker Sores, But May Protect Them From Irritation

Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil around your mouth, similar to the way you would use mouthwash. Often done using coconut oil, oil pulling is supposed to “draw out toxins” from your body.

Proponents of oil pulling say that it can help remove bacteria, promote better oral hygiene, whiten the teeth, or even help with sleep problems and sinus issues. It’s also thought to help with canker sores. 

But the reality is that there is no scientific proof that oil pulling helps with any of these things. A review of scientific studies about oil pulling found that many of them were built with bad data, had poor study design, or used a sample size that was too small to be statistically significant.

So the short answer is “no.” Oil pulling has not been proven to “cure” canker sores. While swishing with coconut oil could have a protective effect by coating the canker sore, there’s no scientific proof that you can cure canker sores with oil pulling. 

Are There Any Home Remedies Or Steps I Can Take To Treat Canker Sores?

If oil pulling doesn’t work, how are you supposed to treat canker sores? Here are some options and recommendations from the team at Nova Cosmetic Dentistry.

  • Topical pain relievers & rinses – Over-the-counter products containing benzocaine or Fluocinonide can be applied directly to the canker sore to help with discomfort and inflammation. Mouth rinses containing hydrogen peroxide may also be recommended to kill oral bacteria.
  • Steroid rinse – A prescription steroid rinse containing dexamethasone can help reduce pain and inflammation. Rinses containing dexamethasone also usually contain lidocaine to help reduce pain.
  • Sore removal (cautery) – If you have one or more large canker sores, you may be able to have them removed at Nova Cosmetic Dentistry through chemical cautery. Surgical treatment for canker sores may also be recommended, in some cases.

There are also some steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing canker sores in the future. These include:

  • Maintaining a proper diet high in vitamins like B-12, folate (folic acid), zinc, and iron
  • Avoiding chewing on your cheeks or lips
  • Taking steps to reduce stress in your lifestyle
  • Following good oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once per day

Need Help With Painful Canker Sores? Come See Dr. Waibel Today 

Oil pulling certainly won’t hurt your oral health, and you’re free to try it on your own if you want, or to try another remedy outlined above. But if you have a large, painful canker sore that just won’t go away, professional treatment may be needed. Contact Nova Cosmetic Dentistry online now or give us a call at (267) 405-2727 to find a solution for your oral pain and discomfort. 

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