I’ll be the first to admit, we’ve given coconut oil loads of attention lately. Hey, it’s not just us, it seems the entire world of health is fixed on the subject as well. With the health benefits of this seemingly magical oil stacking up, there’s good reason for our obsession with it.
We’ve talked about how it can help with weight loss, skin and hair, how about teeth? No. We haven’t talked about that, but it’s about time we did since many people claim that it cleans and whitens teeth, while also preventing tooth decay.
Let’s take a look at the latest research and claims on coconut oil and dental health.
A Little about Coconut Oil
The oil extracted from coconut meat is edible, and is known to be one of the top sources of saturated fat in the world. In one of our previous posts, we talked about what makes coconut fat unique and that is mainly due to the fact that they are mostly made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Coconut oil is made up of almost 50% of lauric acid. Our bodies actually break down lauric acid down and turns it into monolaurin, a compound that works together with lauric acid to kill bad bacteria, fungi, and viruses in our bodies. Research shows that lauric acid is the most effective saturated fatty acid when it comes to killing harmful pathogens.
Lauric Acid May Kill Harmful Bacteria Found in Our Mouth
One study conducted used 30 different types of fatty acids by comparing their ability to different kinds of bacteria. Out of all 30 fatty acids, lauric acid was found to be the most effective. Lauric acid was also found to be effective because of its ability to attack the bacteria that causes tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.
Coconut Oil Can Fight Gum Disease and Reduce Plaque
Gingivitis, or gum disease, happens because of inflammation in our gums. When there’s a buildup of dental plaque and bad bacteria, we get gum disease. In one major study, using a technique called “oil pulling”, coconut oil significantly decreased signs of gingivitis and plaque buildup. The study included participants who already had plague-induced gum disease.
To add to the success of this one particular study, participants experienced a significant decrease in plaque buildup within the first 7 days of a 30-day study period using the oil-pulling method. At the end of the 30 days, participants with major plaque buildup had a 68% decrease and participants with gingivitis saw a 56% decrease in plaque. Two major decreases in a very short period of time!
Two Ways Your Mouth Can Experience the Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Put one tablespoon in your mouth
- Swish it around for approximately 15-20 minutes, pulling and pushing it between your teeth
- Spit it out (do no swallow it after swishing)
- ½ cup of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 10-20 drops of essential oil (cinnamon or peppermint)
- Heat oil until it becomes a liquid
- Stir in baking soda and mix it until a paste starts to form
- Add your preferred essential oil
- Store in a sealed container
- Scoop it with your toothbrush or utensil and brush for two minutes and rinse.
Now, get yourself some fair trade organic coconut oil so you can start killing harmful bacteria from growing in your mouth while preventing tooth decay.