Coconut oil is generating a lot of interest lately and for good reasons. It is linked to numerous health benefits, including oral health. Coconut oil used on teeth helps to prevent cavities, care for gums, and clean teeth while whitening them.
In our daily dental care routine, we use several products that have become essential. We do not realize that there are natural alternatives such as coconut oil. Throughout this post, we will review the latest research on the benefits and uses of pure coconut oil for teeth and how it can improve your dental health.
What is Coconut Oil: Properties
Pure coconut oil is a vegetable oil extracted from coconut meat and is one of the richest sources of saturated fats.
For the most part, these saturated fats are in the form of medium-chain triglycerides, also known by their acronym MCTs. They affect the body differently than short- and long-chain fats and have many potential health benefits.
Coconut oil MCTs are composed of:
- Lauric acid: makes up almost 50% of the total fat composition in coconut oil, making it one of nature’s highest lauric acid products. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has potent antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It has been shown to benefit the immune system, as it can eliminate bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the body.
- Caprylic acid: another healthy fat with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
- Capric acid: is converted to mono caprine in the body and has antimicrobial and immune system stimulating properties.
According to research, lauric acid is more effective in killing these pathogens than any other saturated fatty acid. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory agents. Studies indicate that many of the health benefits associated with coconut oil stem directly from lauric acid.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Teeth
Eliminates Harmful Bacteria in the Mouth
Several studies indicate that lauric acid is particularly effective in killing an oral bacterium called “Streptococcus mutans“. This bacterium is a major cause of tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.
Reducing or eliminating bacteria in the mouth can help maintain proper oral hygiene and prevent some of these conditions.
Helps Reduce Plaque and Fight Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a gum disease characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily. The main cause is the accumulation of dental plaque due to harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Research shows that coconut oil can reduce plaque buildup on teeth and fight gingivitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also help reduce the inflammation associated with this disease.
Prevents Tooth Decay
Coconut oil attacks harmful bacteria in the mouth, such as “Streptococcus mutans” (mentioned above) and “Lactobacillus” bacteria, the two main groups of bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Research indicates that coconut oil can reduce these bacteria as well as the active ingredient used in many different types of mouthwash, chlorhexidine.
Therefore, this research suggests that coconut oil can help prevent tooth decay and tooth loss.
Helps Fight Bad Breath
Halitosis, or bad breath, is a problem that affects approximately 50% of the population. The most common causes are poor oral hygiene, infections, gingivitis, and harmful bacteria.
The usual treatment includes the removal of the bacteria by brushing or with an antiseptic mouthwash such as chlorhexidine.
Research shows that, because of its ability to help eliminate harmful bacteria in the mouth, coconut oil helps reduce oral plaque and thus reduces bad breath.
Promotes Tooth Whitening
Teeth whitening is an aesthetic situation sought by many people.
If we do not want chemicals in our mouth that could negatively affect us, coconut oil helps us to whiten our teeth, and it is very economical.
It is Natural and Chemical-Free
Toothpaste contains triclosan, which is a chemical compound with a powerful antiseptic effect that protects the gums and helps prevent infections. However, as it attacks all types of bacteria, it is believed that, among other negative side effects, it can reduce our intestinal flora, causing other conditions such as allergies, irritable colon, etc.
Another chemical agent is fluoride, which gradually becomes a poisonous substance for the body and, even if dosed in small amounts, typical toothpaste has this chemical component.
100% pure or virgin coconut oil is a substance found naturally in the coconut, and a mechanical extraction is applied to obtain it, so it is not harmful to oral health in the quantities used.
No Sparkling Wines
Most toothpaste contains surfactants to generate foam during brushing. But these inhibit part of the functioning of the palate, causing the bitter taste we feel if we eat food after brushing.
On the contrary, coconut oil helps to maintain the balance of fats on the tongue while maintaining its antibacterial potential and does not leave other bitter tastes in the mouth but instead gives us a pleasant flavor.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Teeth
The most popular ways to use coconut oil in oral health are:
Oil Mouthwash or Oil Pulling
The basic idea of this method is to use coconut oil as a mouthwash for a short time each day as follows:
- Put a spoonful of coconut oil in the mouth.
- Ideally, stir the oil for 15 – 20 minutes, passing it between your teeth.
- Then spit the oil into the toilet so that it does not clog the sink pipes.
- To finish, brush your teeth
The best time to perform oil pulling is in the morning before eating or drinking.
The fatty acids in the oil attract and trap harmful bacteria, so every time you extract oil, you remove them from your mouth.
This action helps to clean and detoxify the teeth and is beneficial for the gums, as it eliminates plaque and improves their health. Additionally, it has the effect of whitening teeth naturally.
Anti-Stain Toothpaste with Coconut Oil
You can make your own homemade natural toothpaste in a very simple way by mixing the following ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons of pure organic coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 3 teaspoons xylitol
- 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil, peppermint oil, or cinnamon oil to give it a pleasant taste and smell
Mix all ingredients to obtain a thick paste and store in a small jar, tightly closed.
To pick up some paste, simply do it with a dry toothbrush or use a small utensil to transfer the paste. Avoid getting water in the toothpaste, as some germs may grow.
Precautions for the Use of Coconut Oil for Teeth
If you have any type of topical or internal reaction to coconut in any form, you should not use it in any manner. If this is the case, for dental care, using sesame oil would be an alternative.
As with any other oral product, it is important to consult your dentist if you have any doubts or before use, especially if there are other dental conditions.
Coconut oil attacks harmful bacteria that cause cavities, bad breath, and gum disease. Studies have shown that it can be as effective as some kinds of toothpaste and types of mouthwash.
Brushing your teeth or oil-pulling with coconut oil can significantly improve your oral and dental health.
If, despite all the benefits you have seen from the use of coconut oil versus traditional dental products, you want to continue using them, you can add a few drops of this oil to your regular toothpaste. Brush normally and continue cleaning your teeth as usual (floss and rinse).
For the care of your teeth and gums, choose a high-quality oil. As there are several types of coconut oil, it is best to buy 100% pure organic or organic and unrefined coconut oil obtained by cold pressing. Always look for the certifications on the label.
Nowadays, you can buy this type of coconut oil in any herbalist and natural products store, both on the street and on the Internet. It is not an expensive product, and you don’t need large quantities of it to keep your teeth clean and white. A small bottle can last you several months.
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