Most of us are aware by now of the many different health benefits of coconut oil, but few realize just how great it can be for oral health too – not only can it be used to remove bacteria and promote healthy teeth and gums, but it can make your teeth whiter and brighter.
Teeth whitening has become commonplace today, with the teeth whitening industry growing rapidly over the past decade or so. In fact, it’s said to currently generate more than a $11 billion a year. It’s no longer relegated to the dentist office either, with non-dentists offering teeth whitening products in malls and beauty salons.
The problems with typical teeth bleaching treatments…
Teeth whitening doesn’t come without risks. Although those that market the services claim that they’re minimal, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says there can be a problem of sensitivity following bleaching, and that it should only be done by a dentist. Just one of the risks comes with bleaching a decayed tooth, which can kill the nerve, resulting in the need for a root canal or extraction.
In most bleaching products in the U.S., both in the dentist office and at home, contain 35 percent hydrogen peroxide. A 2012 study found that this concentration of peroxide can lead to changes in the tooth enamel that make it rough, as well as resulting in weaker teeth and lessened phosphate in the teeth’s deeper layers. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide, even at diluted concentrations, may release mercury from silver fillings and cause them to deteriorate, which could lead to poisonous toxins getting into your bloodstream. Research in 2006 evaluated peroxide and found that mercury vapors were released from discarded pieces of silver filling.
How coconut oil can naturally whiten your teeth…
That said, why would you want to do that to your health? At the same time, of course, we all want whiter teeth, and that’s where coconut oil comes in. Coconut oil teeth whitening has become increasingly popular as one of the best natural methods for whitening yellow teeth. An ancient method used primarily in Ayurvedic medicine, it’s an outstanding oral detoxification technique that may sound strange, but all it involves is swishing around a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth like a mouthwash.
Oil pulling works by detoxifying and cleansing the oral cavity, similar to the way soap gets your dirty dishes clean. It literally sucks the bacteria and toxins out of your mouth to create a clean, antiseptic oral environment that contributes to the proper flow of dental liquid that is needed to prevent cavities and disease. There are thousands of different types of bacteria in the mouth. Some of them are friendly, others aren’t. Those bacteria in the mouth create a biofilm on the teeth, which is a thin layer used to adhere to the surface, you know it better as plaque. While some plaque is normal, when there is too much, it can result in a host of problems, like inflamed gums, cavities, bad breath, and yellower teeth.
Coconut oil doesn’t whiten teeth by bleaching but rather with lauric acid. This medium chain fatty acid helps get rid of that bacteria and plaque, major contributors to yellow teeth and has proven to provide both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Why coconut oil is the preferred oil…
As sesame seed oil is a staple in India, many Ayurvedic practitioners use it for oil pulling, however, coconut oil offers so many benefits, it’s become the oil of choice for this technique in the western world. You’ve probably at least heard of coconut oil’s positive effects on health – just a few include improving digestion, balancing hormones, killing off candida, slowing the signs of aging, increasing HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and decreasing LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, lessening the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, balancing blood sugar, boosting energy levels and more.
As mentioned, there are numerous benefits to your oral health by practising oil pulling.
Killing bad breath – Oil pulling is excellent for battling halitosis, or bad breath. This is one benefit of oil pulling that all sources agree on. Likely because of its ability to help wipe out harmful bacteria in the mouth, oil pulling is known for its ability to help improve the breath and reduce plaque in the mouth. In many cases, although not all, caused by the smell of chemicals and gases produced by bacteria in the mouth. It makes sense that if you can eliminate some of these bacteria, you can get rid of that bad breath.
Reducing plaque and gingivitis –. Gingivitis is caused by inflammation of the gums and occurs when the immune system starts attacking the bacteria in the plaque. Research in 2009 which compared oil pulling and chlorhexidine in adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis found that oil pulling and chlorhexidine mouthwash were effective against gingivitis.
Whitening teeth – Of course, whiter teeth is what you’re probably looking for if you’re reading this article. And as mentioned, oil pulling is great for this very thing as it’s safe, natural and comes without side effects. In fact, experts that conducted a study featured in the Journal of Contemporary Dental Hygiene found, “Edible oil-pulling therapy is natural, safe and has no side effects. Hence, it can be considered as a preventive therapy at home to maintain oral hygiene.”
Some of the other benefits of coconut oil pulling include:
- Healing bleeding gums
- Reducing inflammation
- Fighting tooth decay
- Soothing a dry throat
- Preventing cavities
- Healing cracked lips
- Boosting the immune system
- Clearing the complexion and improving acne
- Strengthening the jaw and gums
Coconut oil pulling means that you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals, it doesn’t taste bad as compared to other oils used for pulling, it’s inexpensive and readily available, and it’s easy to use.
How to oil pull:
To start oil pulling, you’ll need about a tablespoon, or slightly less if it feels like it’s too much of raw, cold pressed, organic coconut oil. Simply place it into your mouth, and allow it to warm until it’s liquified, if it isn’t already a liquid. Swish the oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, making sure that it covers all areas of your teeth and gums. Don’t gargle with it, just keep swishing. Afterwards, spit it out into a trash can or similar container rather than your sink as it can clog your drains. Rinse your mouth with warm water, and then brush your teeth as usual. You can do this a few times a week, or every day.