Coconut oil has gotten an increasing amount of attention over the past few years. It is linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss and skin care. There are also claims that it can help with cleaning and whitening your teeth, as well as preventing tooth decay with a process called oil pulling. Oil pulling is the method of someone rinsing or swishing oil around in their mouth.
Coconut oil is edible oil and is pulled out of coconut meat. It is known to be one of the world’s richest sources of saturated fat. It has a high concentration of lauric acid, which has been known to kill harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses in the body. Of all the fatty acids, lauric acid was the most effective when it comes to fighting bacteria. It is particularly effective at killing an oral bacterium, known as Streptococcus mutans, which is a leading cause of tooth decay. When there are harmful bacteria in the mouth, it causes a buildup in dental plaque, which leads to gum disease (gingivitis). Coconut oil can reduce the buildup of plaque on your teeth and fight gum disease.
A study reported by the National Institutes of Health, oil pulling with coconut oil drastically reduced plaque buildup and signs of gingivitis in participants with plaque-induced gum disease. NIH also reports that coconut oil attacks the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and can be just as effective as mouth rinses.
Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil
Oil pulling is not a new concept and has been practiced in India for thousands of years. Oil pulling is essentially using oil as a mouthwash.
- Put at least a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth
- Swish the oil around for as much as 20 minutes
- Push and pull the oil in between your teeth and gums
- Spit out the oil into the trash or toilet (oil can clog pipes of sink)
- Brush and floss your teeth as usual
As you swish the oil around your mouth, the fatty acids in the oil are attracting and trapping bacteria. Each time you oil pull, you are removing toxic bacteria and plaque from your mouth. It recommended to this right in the morning, before eating or drinking anything.