Coconut oil for oral hygiene has recently gained traction in modern science and mainstream media. As a result, many different companies, especially those exploring organic and natural products, have talked about the benefits of coconut oil in relevance to our teeth.
Not only that, some companies have come out with coconut oil containing mouthwash and toothpaste. These products not only focus on oral hygiene and freshness, but their main selling point usually revolves around how coconut oil in the product will whiten teeth.
Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth?
The use of coconut oil for teeth, especially teeth whitening, is a centuries-old ritual that has become popular again as the world moves towards more natural products.
For centuries people, especially in the Indian subcontinent, have been using oil pulling under which coconut oil is swished inside the mouth for a certain period to help maintain oral hygiene and tackle discoloured teeth.
While the followers of organic knowledge and ayurvedic medicine genuinely believe in the power of coconut oil for teeth whitening, recent research conducted at the world's top universities and hospitals has also supported the same.
King’s College, Oxford University Hospital Trust, University of Manchester – United Kingdom
In a study published in August 2017, as a combined effort by researchers at Kings College, Oxford University Hospital Trust, and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, over 42 published studies were analyzed, comprising over 182 participants.
The duration of these studies under consideration lasted from 7 to 14 days. This study has concluded that the use of coconut oil for cavities, teeth whitening, and general oral hygiene has resulted in favorable outcomes and therefore further research should be conducted in this realm. This suggestion is made based on how common these oral hygiene issues are throughout the world specially stained teeth and how easily and naturally they can be tackled using coconut oil as a part of the oral hygiene regime.
Al-Azhar Dental Journal, Al-Azhar University- Cairo, Egypt
A study published in January 2021, in the official publication for the dental faculty at Al-Azhar University Egypt, concluded on the efficacy of coconut oil for teeth whitening. The study compared the effects of coconut oil versus the use of a whitening mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide.
The research concluded that even though the use of coconut oil for teeth whitening revealed results at a slightly slower pace, it was a better option because it did not increase tooth sensitivity and is, of course, an organic product to use, without harmful chemicals.
Properties of Coconut Oil that Helps with Whitening the Teeth - Why Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth?
Now that we know that the use of coconut oil for whitening teeth is not only supported in organic and natural medicine but is also supported by empirical research conducted in recent times, we shall also look at the properties of coconut oil that are the actual reason behind its ability to whiten teeth.
Some studies have concluded very well on the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil. The use of coconut oil especially as a medium in oil pulling helps get rid of harmful bacteria that reside in the mouth and damage the teeth and gums. These bacteria are responsible for causing cavities and even irritating the gums.
With painful gums and highly sensitive teeth, brushing becomes an aching experience. And sometimes due to this discomfort, we brush very mildly thus not cleaning our teeth properly. This mild brushing over time results in yellow teeth, which could have been avoided in the first place had we used coconut oil for killing harmful bacteria in our mouth.
Presence of Fatty Acids
The presence of fatty acids has been attributed to the removal of plaque on teeth. A few researchers have concluded that the fatty acids present in coconut oil act as a natural abrasion medium, directly removing plaque from your teeth when you are brushing with coconut oil or oil pulling.
Not only has that, but the presence of fatty acids also actually helps in getting rid of all the gunk and debris that has been deposited in the crevices of your mouth, especially between the gums. Once all this harmful material is removed from our mouth, we not only experience cleaner teeth but good oral hygiene in the long run as well.
Prevents Plaque Buildup
The main cause behind gum disease and yellow teeth is the buildup of plaque and tartar. Studies have concluded on the efficiency of coconut oil in preventing the buildup of plaque in the mouth. The use of coconut oil not only helps in keeping our teeth white but also aids in reducing gum sensitivity and keeping gum diseases at bay. With the plaque in the mouth reduced, we are also less likely to experience bad breath.
How to Make a Coconut Oil Toothpaste at Home?
Let us now explore a DIY homemade coconut oil toothpaste recipe, that can help you in harnessing the oral hygiene benefits of coconut oil, naturally at the comfort of your home.
Do note that just like with all other organic and natural products, the efficiency of this coconut oil toothpaste depends on the purity of the ingredients being used.
¼ Cup Baraka Coconut Oil
½ tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Dried Mint Leaves
2 drops Peppermint Essential Oil (Optional)
- On a double boiler, on low medium heat, melt your coconut oil.
- Once the coconut oil is completely melted, turn off the flame and take it off the stove.
- Now add in your baking soda and dried mint leaves and mix well. You may add your peppermint essential oil at this point.
- Pour the mixture into a mason jar and let it cool until it hardens.
- Your DIY homemade coconut oil toothpaste is ready for use.
- Always remember to give it a mix after two days, to ensure that the ingredients remain homogeneous.
- To use, take out a small amount with a mini spatula and put on your damp toothbrush. Brush as you would normally do with regular toothpaste.
Keep the jar of the toothpaste in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Exposure to moisture and direct sunlight can alter the composition and effectiveness of toothpaste. To ensure maximum benefits from the use of this coconut oil toothpaste, you must use 100% pure coconut oil that is free from preservatives and harmful additives. If your coconut oil is not pure, the toothpaste will not be effective at all. And the presence of harmful preservatives might even irritate the gums.
Frequently Asked Questions
We will now answer some questions that are commonly asked in relevance to coconut oil and its use in teeth whitening.
Does Coconut Oil Get Rid of Yellow Teeth?
Yes, the use of coconut oil-enriched oral hygiene products such as toothpaste, and mouthwash aid in getting rid of yellow teeth.
Does Pulling Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth?
Yes, pulling coconut oil helps in getting rid of tartar and plaque to reveal whiter teeth.
Should I Brush After Oil Pulling?
You should most definitely brush after oil pulling, to remove all the bacteria and harmful plaque that has been drawn out of the teeth and mouth during oil pulling.
How Often Should I Oil Pull with Coconut Oil?
Start with oil pulling at once a day, on alternate days in the week. Slowly take it up to twice a day every day, to guarantee and sustain the results.
Coconut oil has been used as an oral hygiene product for centuries. Now due to exposure in mainstream media and support by conclusive research, it has gained importance in the oral hygiene sphere. Just like with the use of any other organic and natural product, we suggest that you consult your dentist before incorporating coconut oil into your oral hygiene routine. If you plan to benefit from the properties of coconut oil then we recommend not only sourcing 100% pure and organic coconut oil for this purpose but also using it as a part of a homemade toothpaste recipe as presented.