Coconut oil has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention lately and for good reason. It’s linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss. It is an intricate part of the popular KETO diets that are all the fad. There have also been claims that it can clean and whiten your teeth while also helping to prevent tooth decay. This article will examine the latest research on coconut oil and its effects on your dental health. We are going to explain exactly why coconut oil is great for your dental health.
What is Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from coconut meat and is one of the world’s richest sources of saturated fat. Coconut fat is unique because it is made almost entirely of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are metabolized differently than the long-chain fatty acids found in most other foods. They have many potential health benefits.
Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid that makes up almost 50% of coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil is the richest source of lauric acid known to man.
Now, your body breaks lauric acid down into an important compound called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin have the ability to kill harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the body.
According to research, lauric acid is more effective at killing these pathogens than any other saturated fatty acid. Studies also suggest that many of the health benefits associated with coconut oil are directly linked to the lauric acid.
So how is this magical oil used for one’s teeth? The most popular way to use coconut oil for your teeth is using it in a process called “oil pulling” which will be explained later.
Lauric Acid Kills Harmful Mouth Bacteria
One recent study tested thirty different fatty acids and compared their ability to fight bacteria. Of all the fatty acids, lauric acid was the most effective. Lauric acid attacks harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. It is particularly effective at killing an oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, which is a leading cause of tooth decay.
Coconut Oil Reduces Plaque & Fights Gum Disease
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, involves the inflammation of the gums. The main cause of gum disease is the buildup of dental plaque due to harmful bacteria in the mouth. We are now discovering through current research that coconut oil can decrease plaque buildup on your teeth and fight gum disease.
In one study, “oil pulling” with coconut oil significantly decreased plaque buildup and signs of gingivitis in sixty participants with plaque-induced gum disease. Moreso, a significant decrease in plaque was noticed after just seven days of oil-pulling, and the plaque continued to decrease over the thirty-day study.
After the thirty days, average plaque scores decreased, and the average gingivitis scores decreased as well. Both turned in major decreases in both plaque and gum inflammation.
It Prevents Tooth Decay & Loss
Coconut oil attacks Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus. These are the two groups of bacteria primarily responsible for tooth decay. Several studies suggest that coconut oil can reduce these bacteria as effectively as chlorhexidine, which is the active ingredient used in many mouth rinses. For these reasons alone, coconut oil can help prevent tooth decay and loss.
How to Oil Pull With Coconut Oil
“Oil pulling” is a growing trend, but it’s not a new concept. The practice of oil pulling started in India thousands of years ago. It is the act of swishing coconut oil in your mouth for fifteen to twenty minutes and then spitting it out. Basically, like using oil as a mouthwash.
Here’s What to Do:
- Put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish the oil around for 15–20 minutes, pushing and pulling it between teeth.
- Spit out the oil (into the trash or toilet, since it can clog sink pipes).
- Brush your teeth.
The fatty acids in the oil attract and trap bacteria so each time you oil pull, you are removing harmful bacteria and plaque from your mouth. It’s best to do this right away in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
We here at the office of Dr. Max L Lingo, Evansville dentist, agree with this list of tips when it comes to coconut oil’s benefits. If you even slightly think you are suffering from decay issues, and you’re way past the coconut oil, now is the time to contact our office. We also offer services such as bonding & filling, cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, dentures & partials, extractions, sedation dentistry, teeth whitening, teeth cleaning, plaque removal and more.
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