Sulfa-toxin-oxy-clean-brillo-brush-in. What the heck? At least that’s what reading a label feels like these days. What do you do when you can’t pronounce more than half the ingredients in your toothpaste? Many have started asking how to use ingredients like coconut oil for teeth whitening and care. But can you brush your teeth with coconut oil?
From activated charcoal to oil pulling, people experiment with many ingredients, but some work more effectively than others. While activate charcoal absorbs toxins, it may be too abrasive for your teeth besides making you look less than kiss-worthy. Oils, however, hold more appealing merit.
Topping the charts lately includes using coconut oil to brush your teeth, and with its versatile use as a beauty aid, why not try it? But can you brush your teeth with coconut oil? Recent studies show that yes, you can.
Can You Brush Your Teeth with Coconut Oil?
Using coconut oil to keep your smile healthy proves effective as an additional tool in your arsenal. Coconut oil’s high lauric acid kills streptococcus mutans, a type of tooth decay bacteria, according to a study that looked at 30 different types of fatty acids and their ability to eliminate bacteria that causes tooth decay. Lauric acid makes up 50 percent of coconut oil as a fatty acid.
Lauric acid is a type of medium-chain fatty acid. Depending on the type of oil they’re in, medium-chain fatty acids provide myriad health benefits. After lauric acid breaks down, it produces monolaurin. Monolaurin excels at destroying bacteria and viruses as well as yeast. Why does this matter? Everyone’s mouth contains yeast-causing bacteria in some form, but when these build up they facilitate a nasty case of thrush. Avoid this by brushing your teeth with coconut oil.
Other medium-chain fatty acids coconut oil possesses are capric acid and caprylic acid. These two battle alongside lauric acid to prevent tooth decay. Coconut oil is a major source of capric acid compared to other substances it exists in, like cow’s milk. Caprylic acid is also present in milk as well as palm oil. When in the form of monocaprin and monocaprylin, these two acids also destroy bacteria and yeast.
Coconut oil reduces plaque buildup, whitens teeth, prevents tooth decade and wages war on gum disease. As a result, it also conquers bad breath.
RAWR! Ride, coconut warriors, ride! Whether you swish with the oil or brush with it, using coconut oil as a part of your dental care routine can improve your oral health.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Teeth Whitening
Glycerin also comes from coconut oil, and many commercial toothpastes contain it as an ingredient. You can add this to your coconut oil toothpaste if you wish, though the paste will be fine without it. One thing to keep in mind, though — if you’re vegan, search for vegetable glycerin. Many forms of glycerin contain animal fat. Many products with coconut oil are specified for skin and hair care only, so double check the labels of any toothpastes you use to make sure it’s fit for consumption. Alternatively, you can whip up toothpaste at home to eliminate the guesswork.
You may wonder how to use coconut oil for teeth whitening, brushing and pulling, but it’s actually similar to what you already do in your dental care routine — just with more DIY and time needed. The payoff can be worth it!
Making Coconut Oil Toothpaste
You could replace your toothpaste with coconut oil, but you should consult with your dentist first. To make your own coconut oil paste, use a fork to whisk two tablespoons of coconut oil with three tablespoons of baking soda until a paste forms. Baking soda also helps whiten your teeth while it creates a paste-like structure of which you’re familiar. Get double the whitening action!
Change up your recipe by combining the oil with some magnesium or a dash of salt. Magnesium promotes healthy tooth enamel and gums. Gingivitis, though common, will have no home amongst your teeth and gums when you implement it in your ingredient list. Sea salt accomplishes many of the same functions as this mineral and will leave you with a fresh, sparkling smile.
Add in peppermint oil for flavor. You can add any essential oils of your choice to enhance the taste of your toothpaste. Only a few drops are necessary. Essential oils vary in strength and many require a carrier oil so you don’t directly expose the lining of your mouth to them. In this case, the coconut oil functions as the carrier oil. Try cinnamon, lemon or orange!
Include your furry friends in the fun and health benefits of coconut oil! Coconut oil without additives is safe for brushing your dog’s teeth. Don’t worry about your dog ingesting it while you clean their teeth, because it aids digestion and immune health to keep Fido around for years to come. If making a toothpaste for your dog, don’t include stevia or other xylitol-containing ingredient since it’s toxic for dogs. And leave out the baking soda — too much is toxic.
Cover the brush with the paste, and brush your teeth with the standard circular motions. Move from tooth to tooth, and don’t forget to brush your tongue! Rinse your mouth out with a cup full of warm water and spit in the trash since coconut oil can harden in colder temperatures, clogging your sink potentially.
Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil
Turn to oil pulling if you don’t want to create more items to wash or go to the trouble of DIYing your toothpaste. Just scoop a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth, and swish for 15 to 20 minutes to force the oil between the nooks and crannies of your teeth.
Spit it out into a garbage can rather than your sink. Coconut oil hardens when cold, which spells trouble for your drain and sink pipes in the winter months. Clogging is less likely to happen if you often run hot water, but take the precaution anyway.
Oil pulling won’t pull spinach or chicken out from between your teeth, so keep up with your flossing. You can use it as a whitening ritual a few times a week or more regularly for its multiple benefits.
If you’re still skeptical about the effectiveness of swishing oil in your mouth, familiarize yourself with the history of it! Oil pulling is a centuries-old practice originating from India. Oil pulling has ties to Ayurvedic healthcare, which centers around spiritual and physical alignment. It’s popular within homeopathic communities and with health gurus who provide natural alternatives for common ailments.
Show Off a Whiter Smile!
Can you brush your teeth with coconut oil? Yes. Is it effective? Yes. Should you stop all other oral health routines? Not if they’re working in your favor. You may wonder about how to use coconut oil for teeth whitening and the effectiveness of its other benefits, but studies point to the merits of using coconut oil as a part of your beauty routine in general.
So, have a chat with your dentist about integrating oil pulling or brushing with coconut oil into your dental care routine, and maybe you’ll shock the whole staff months later when you come in for a cleaning and have a healthier, brighter smile.