Coconut oil is in the spotlight at the moment. It has links to many health benefits such as weight loss, as well as , healthy skin and hair.
In regards to teeth whitening with coconut oil, this is true. It will not be as effective as teeth whiteners that bleach your teeth as coconut oil kills the germs that cause teeth to be yellow.
When bacteria and plaque get out of control, they cause symptoms such as bad breath, gum inflammation and yellowing of teeth.
So oil pulling with coconut oil or using a coconut oil toothpaste will whiten your teeth a little but it is more effective at preventing yellowing of the teeth as well as maintaining good oral health.
This article will look at the research about coconut oil and your dental hygiene and health.
First, What Is Coconut Oil?
The oil is extracted from the coconut meat and used in cooking, baking, cleaning and cosmetically. It is one of the highest sources of saturated fat. Coconut oil is a unique fat because its composition is that of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) whereas most other fats are long chain versions.
This is an important factor for coconut oil because MCT are metabolized in a way that creates health benefits, unlike other fats. 50% of the medium chain fatty acid in coconut oil is lauric acid.
Our bodies digest lauric acid into a compound called monolaurin, which kills harmful micro-organisms in our body.
Research suggests that lauric acid is the most effective pathogen killer over all other saturated fatty acids (1).
There have been other studies which also suggest that health benefits from coconut oil are actually caused by the lauric acid (2).
A dental hygiene practice that is becoming more popular is called ‘oil pulling’ as well as making toothpaste from coconut oil.
Lauric Acid Is Beneficial For Killing Harmful Bacteria In Your Mouth
Lauric acid has been tested against 30 different fatty acids and proved to be the most effective against fighting bacteria (3).
Lauric acid works to destroy bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria cause tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease (4).
In fact, lauric acid is very effective at killing Streptococcus mutans, a specific oral bacteria that is the leading cause of gum disease and tooth decay.
Coconut Oil Reduces Gum Disease
Gingivitis is a common gum disease where the gums inflame. It is caused by a build up of plaque, formed by these harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Recent research has uncovered that coconut oil decreases the build up of plaque on your gums and teeth and therefore fights gum disease and keeps teeth white. This is due to the high content of lauric acid.
In one recent study, a practice called oil pulling using coconut oil was conducted in 60 participants. The result was significantly decreased build up of plaque as well as early signs of gingivitis (5).
This study showed results in just less than seven days.30 days after the conclusion of the study the results were impressive.
The average participant saw decreased plaque by 68% and the signs of gingivitis by 56%. These significant findings point to coconut oil pulling as a legitimate method for controlling bacteria as well as keeping up dental health.
Coconut Oil Prevents Tooth Decay
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of bacteria responsible for build up of plaque and tooth decay – Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus. Coconut oil can kill both of these bacteria (6).
This means that coconut oil is just as useful at preventing tooth decay as artificial and chemical compounds currently available on the market.
How Do You ‘Oil Pull’ With Coconut Oil?
While oil pulling has become a popular trend, it is actually an ancient practice. It seems to have begun in India a few thousand of years ago.
What is oil pulling? It is when you hold the coconut oil in your mouth, swishing it around for up to 20 minutes. You then spit it out. Essentially like a mouthwash but for a longer period of time to allow the lauric acid to work its way around your teeth and gums.
Follow these step by step instructions:
Make sure the coconut oil is soft and scoop 1-2 tablespoons into your mouth.
Agitate the coconut oil in your mouth for 15–20 minutes, taking extra care to swirl it around your teeth.
Spit the oil out into the trash. Do not spit into the drain as it can solidify and clog the pipes.
Brush and floss as usual.
The best time to do an oil pull is first thing in the morning or last thing at night, accompanied by tooth brushing.
Each time you do an oil pull, the coconut oil is killing harmful bacteria. The coconut oil allows you to remove the bacteria and plague and so is recommended as a daily practice.
If you need more information, follow this link how oil pulling can improve your dental health.
Coconut Oil Toothpaste Recipe
Toothpaste is a logical use for coconut oil as it is proven to kill dental bacteria.
A simple recipe for coconut oil toothpaste is as follows:
1 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons baking soda.
Optional – 15 drops essential oil, peppermint for ‘normal’ toothpaste flavor.
Warm the coconut oil so it is softened but not a liquid.
Next, mix in the baking soda. It will fizz slightly and become a gritty-paste consistency.
If wanted, add in the essential oil a few drops at a time until the desired flavour is achieved.
Keep the toothpaste in a sealed container, out of the fridge so it doesn’t go too hard.
Scoop a small amount onto your toothbrush, brush your teeth for at least two minutes and rinse with water.
Summary Of Coconut Oil And Dental Health
Coconut oil is just as effective at killing mouth bacteria as the current chemical mouthwashes on the market.
Using coconut oil toothpaste is excellent if you want to avoid exposure to fluoride.
Because it kills those bacteria, it also prevents plaque build-up and the subsequent tooth decay and gum disease.
You can use coconut oil to improve your oral and dental health significantly. You can use it by using coconut toothpaste or by starting an oil pulling regime.