Coconut oil is excellent for your gums and brushing teeth with coconut oil regularly can eliminate bleeding and sore gums. The oil kills bacteria that are responsible for gingivitis and if you have gingivitis, you might want to massage some coconut oil into your gums regularly, in addition to using it in your toothpaste.
Moreover, brushing your tongue with coconut oil helps with thrush-a fungal problem localized in the mouth, and to boot, coconut oil has been found to stop and even reverse some tooth decay. Irish scientists have tested coconut oil samples on steptococcus mutans — the bacteria that glues to our teeth and causes dental erosion. They found that coconut oil is an effective way to kill this bacteria. In a study to test coconut oil's biocidal properties against the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, the oil proved to be quite effective. The action of coconut oil was tested in its natural state and after being treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion. The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, which are common inhabitants of your mouth. They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibits the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay.
It is thought that the breaking down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids, which are toxic to certain bacteria. Chief researcher Dr. Damien Brady said: "Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection." A guide research claim that if coconut oil, modified with chemical additives, is put into dental hygiene products it can be the most powerful tool against bacteria and other harmful substances that attack our teeth.
6 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil as Toothpaste
A case could be made that coconut oil has a near-perfect makeup to act as an effective toothpaste. Six top reasons, include:
1. No Harmful Chemicals
Conventional toothpaste such as Colgate Total contains an antibacterial chemical called triclosan, which has been linked to concerns over antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are a serious concern, as they can promote a wide variety of health problems, including: breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, precocious puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys. Some animal studies showed that triclosan caused fetal bone malformations in mice and rats, which may hint at hormonal effects. Fluoride is another common chemical in conventional toothpaste. Fluoride is a toxic industrial waste product that is a poison to your body even in trace amounts…
2. Effective Against Cavity-Causing Bacteria
Research even shows that massaging coconut oil into your gums for about 10 minutes daily (continued for three weeks) significantly reduces decay-causing Streptococcus mutans as well as plaque.
3. No Foaming Agents
Many toothpastes also contain surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). Surfactants are chemicals responsible for the foaming action of the toothpaste, but they also interfere with the functioning of your taste buds by breaking up the phospholipids on your tongue. This enhances bitter tastes and is thought to be the reason why everything tastes so bad right after you've brushed your teeth. This may also be part of why coconut oil works so well for oral hygiene, as it helps maintain a more natural balance of lipids on your tongue, while still having potent antibacterial properties. Not to mention, SLS has even been linked to painful canker sores, with research suggesting an SLS-free toothpaste should be used for people with recurring sores.
It takes only a small amount of coconut oil to keep your teeth clean, and one jar can easily last you months, making it a very inexpensive toothpaste.
5. You Can Use It on Your Dog's Teeth Too
While you wouldn't want to brush your pets' teeth with ordinary "human" toothpaste, coconut oil is effective and safe for dogs and humans alike. Applying it with a toothbrush would be best, but your pet may even get some oral health benefits just from licking a small amount of oil. The recipe below is not recommended for dogs. As noted, some ingredients that are fine for human consumption can be toxic for pets.
6. Simple to Make
Coconut oil toothpaste is simple to make with just a few ingredients:
6 teaspoons of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide
2 tablespoons coconut oil (warm enough to be liquid, which means above 76° F)
10 drops peppermint, clove, or citrus pure essential oil
Directions: Put baking soda in a bowl, add the other ingredients and mix until you achieve a proper paste texture. Add a small amount of baking soda if it’s runny; add more coconut oil if it’s too dry. Taste, and add more essential oil if you want a more flavorful paste. Store in an opaque container (required to protect the hydrogen peroxide) and brush your teeth with coconut oil tooth paste.
You Can Use Coconut Oil for Oil Pulling Too
Oil pulling involves 'rinsing' your mouth with coconut oil, much like you would with a mouthwash (except you shouldn't attempt to gargle with it). The oil is "worked" around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for about 10–15 minutes. When you're first starting out, you may want to try it for just five minutes at a time. This process allows the oil to "pull out" cavity-causing bacteria and other debris from your mouth. Once the oil turns thin and milky white, you'll know it's time to spit it out. As reported by the Indian Journal of Dental Research: "Oil pulling has been used extensively as a traditional Indian folk remedy without scientific proof for many years for strengthening teeth, gums, and jaws and to prevent decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, and dryness of throat and cracked lips." However, oil pulling does appear to have a significant cleansing and healing effect, which is backed by science:
Oil pulling reduced counts of Streptococcus mutans bacteria – a significant contributor to tooth decay – in the plaque and saliva of children.
Researchers concluded, "Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health."
Oil pulling significantly reduced plaque, improved gum health, and reduced aerobic microorganisms in plaque among adolescent boys with plaque-induced gingivitis
Oil pulling is as effective as mouthwash at improving bad breath and reducing the microorganisms that may cause it
Oil pulling benefits your mouth, in part, via its mechanical cleaning action. Researchers noted, "The myth that the effect of oil pulling therapy on oral health was just a placebo effect has been broken and there are clear indications of possible saponification and emulsification process, which enhances its mechanical cleaning action."
It's worth noting that the above studies used sesame oil, which is traditionally recommended.
A Comprehensive Approach to Improve Your Dental Health
Toothpaste containing natural ingredients, like baking soda, essential oils, xylitol, and others, appears to be more effective and safer than fluoride-containing toothpastes. There's no reason to risk exposing yourself to fluoride or other dangerous chemicals like triclosan and sodium lauryl sulfate. Here are my basic guidelines for optimizing your dental health, safely and naturally:
Avoid fluoridated water and fluoridated toothpaste. Instead use natural non-fluoride toothpaste, either homemade or from a reputable brand.
Minimize your sugar and grain consumption. Keep your fructose intake to less than 25 grams per day. Avoid processed foods.
Make sure you consume a diet rich in fresh, whole foods, fermented vegetables, and grass-fed meats, which will ensure you're getting plenty of the minerals that are so important for strong bones and teeth.
Practice good oral hygiene and get regular cleanings from a mercury-free natural dentist. Scrubbing your teeth briskly with a washcloth before brushing can also help to remove the built-up biofilm.
Finally, remember that nature provides many natural solutions to freshen your breath.
Chewing on fresh parsley, mint, cilantro, or ginger slices is a natural breath freshener, for instance. Placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth may also help to rid your mouth of odor-causing bacteria. According to the principles of Ayurveda, eating cucumbers may also help to release excess heat in your stomach, which is said to be a primary cause of bad breath.