Written by Kayla McDonell, RD
A lot of articles have been written recently regarding the health benefits of coconut oil. It has proven to have many different health benefits, including weight loss.
Amongst the claims that state how coconut oil may impact positively on your health, there have also been claims stating that coconut oil can clean, whiten your teeth, as well as helping in prevention of tooth decay.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is an oil which is edible which comes from coconut meat, and is also known to be one of the world’s highest source of saturated fat.
Coconut oil is different from other saturated fats though, in that it is composed practically totally of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
MCTs are metabolized much different that the big chain fatty acids which are found in most other foods, and have many different health benefits to draw upon.
Lauric acid is one medium-chain fatty acid which composes practically half of the components of coconut oil. Coconut oil is known to be the most richest source of lauric acid that has ever been known in the world.
The human body breaks down lauric acid into a compound which is called monolaurin. Lauric acid and monolaurin may destroy harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses which are inside the body.
According to the research which has been done, lauric acid is much more effective at destroying these types of pathogens than any other type of saturated fatty acid.
Also, studies that have been done also suggest that many of the health benefits which are associated with coconut oil have been directly caused by lauric acid.
The most popular ways to utilize coconut oil to help in your quest for better oral health, and a healthy and clean smile is a procedure referred to as “oil pulling”. Another option for using coconut oil to help with dental health is to create toothpaste with coconut oil as an ingredient. I have explained how to do both of these procedures later on in this article.
Lauric Acid Can Destroy Bad Oral Bacteria
One study which was done had tested 30 various fatty acids, comparing a variety of their different abilities to destroy bacteria.
Of all of the fatty acids that we researched, lauric acid was found to be the most effective fatty acid.
Lauric acid attacks bad oral bacteria which may cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
It is especially effective in destroying a type of oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, which is a leading cause of tooth decay.
It Can Decrease Plaque and Destroy Gum Disease
Gum disease, is also referred to as gingivitis, is an inflammation of the gums in the mouth.
The main reason for gum disease is caused by the creation of dental plaque that has built up in the mouth, due to the bad oral bacteria found in the mouth.
The latest research has shown that coconut oil may reduce buildup of plaque on your teeth and destroy gum disease.
One study that was done with oil pulling, it has been proven to have greatly reduced the buildup of plaque and signs of gum disease in 60 people who participated in the research study who had gum disease, which is also known as gingivitis, which was from teeth plaque buildup in their mouths.
A huge reduction in dental plaque was seen after only 7 days of using the oil-pulling procedure, as well as dental plaque continue to reduce over the 30 days time period of the study.
After the 30 days of the study was completed, the average total plaque was reduced by 68%, and the average total gum disease was reduced by 56%. This is an extreme reduction in both dental plaque as well as gingivitis.
It Can Prevent Tooth Decay and Tooth Loss
Coconut oil destroys the bacteria types Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus, which both types of bacteria are capable of allowing for tooth decay.
There have been several studies done which may suggest that coconut oil may decrease these types of bacteria as effectively as chlorhexidine, which is the major ingredient used in many oral rinses specifically targeted for dental health.
For all these reasons cited, it has been proved that coconut oil can help to prevent tooth decay as well as tooth loss.
How to Perform Oil Pulling on Your Teeth for Dental Health
Oil pulling is a trend which is increasing, but is not entirely new.
Truthfully, the practice of oil pulling began in India thousands of years ago.
Oil pulling is the process of swishing oil around in your mouth for about 15 to 20 minutes on average, and then spitting it out. It is similar to buying a mouthwash for your teeth.
Here is how you do the process:
Put one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth.
Swish the oil around for between 15 – 20 minutes on average, moving it between your teeth with your tongue.
Spit the oil out. Do not spit the oil into a sink, since it can clog sink pipes.
Brush your teeth with coconut oil toothpaste.
The fatty acids in coconut oil can attract and trap the bacteria which is then destroyed by the lauric acid in coconut oil. Therefore, each time that you oil pull, you are taking out bad bacteria out of your mouth which can cause germs which cause bad dental health.
You should oil pull first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking.
Recipe for Coconut Oil Toothpaste
0.5 cup of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of baking soda
10 – 20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil
Heat the coconut oil until it is soft and liquified.
Stir in baking soda and mix until it forms a paste.
Add the peppermint or cinnamon oil.
Keep the toothpaste in a sealed container.
To brush your teeth, scoop it with a spoon or toothbrush. Brush your teeth for two minutes, and then rinse your mouth, and spit out the solution.
To summarize the entire article, I would say that coconut oil destroys the bad mouth bacteria that can cause bad dental health. It can reduce the building up of plaque, it can fight against tooth decay, and prevent against inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis. For these reasons cited, the process of oil pulling or brushing your teeth with coconut oil can greatly impact positively on your dental health.