Coconut oil has become more and more popular as its many health benefits are being recognized. Most people know that coconut oil can help with hair, skin, and nails or that it is a healthier alternative to vegetable oil or butter. However, did you know that coconut oil also contributes to oral health?
Recent research has confirmed that using coconut oil has various benefits for your teeth and gums, including limiting the growth of harmful bacteria that cause plaque build-up and other serious conditions.
Why is coconut oil so healthy for your oral cavity?
Coconut oil is made up almost entirely of saturated fats. While this may seem unhealthy at first, especially given that saturated fats boost LDL cholesterol levels (that’s the unhealthy kind) more than other types of fatty acids, coconut oil’s unique compound actually helps boost HDL cholesterol levels (that’s the good kind).
Scientists believe this phenomenon is the result of the high levels of lauric acid found in coconut oil. Lauric acid is a type of saturated fat known as medium-chain triglycerides, which break down differently in the body than other types of saturated fats. Lauric acid breaks down into a compound called monolaurin. Both monolaurin and lauric acid kill harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
This means that when you use coconut oil as part of your oral care regimen, it can aid in killing the bacteria that is responsible for plaque build-up, tooth decay, and bad breath.
Lauric Acid Fights Gum Disease
Using coconut oil to reduce plaque build-up directly results in decreasing your chances of developing gum disease. Gum disease, known as gingivitis, is marked by an intense inflammation of the gums, often resulting in bleeding when flossing and sometimes infection. Therefore, the lauric acid in coconut oil can kill the bacteria that causes plaque build-up and prevent gingivitis.
Coconut Oil Prevents Tooth Decay
The two types of bacteria primarily responsible for tooth decay are Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus. Research has found that lauric acid attacks both of these bacteria just as effectively as chlorohexidine, the active ingredient in most mouthwashes. This means you can keep your teeth healthy and whole through natural means by using coconut oil.
How do you use coconut oil in your mouth?
The most common method for adding coconut oil for your oral hygiene is through oil pulling. Oil pulling simply refers to the process of swishing oil in your mouth. The practice began in India thousands of years ago and is fairly easy:
- Take a teaspoon of raw coconut oil
- Put it in your mouth
- Swish it around, “pulling” it through your teeth
- Continue this for 15-20 minutes
- Spit out the oil
- Brush your teeth
Another, more subtle option is to use Alka-White Alkalizing Mouthwash tablets to get the effects of coconut oil combined with mint or turmeric and other essential oils. With the mouthwash, you can strengthen your teeth and brighten your smile the natural way. Or as we like the say the Alka-White way. :)