Dental issues have become a common health problem for many people today. For one thing, proper oral hygiene is not only important for eliminating bad breath and tooth discoloration, but also for keeping the mouth free of bacteria. In other words, this means preventing the occurrence of sores, cavities and tartar.
But, if you think that a toothpaste and mouthwash is all you need, you couldn’t be more wrong. According to a 2012 study by the Athlone Institute of Technology, enzyme-modified coconut oil is extremely efficient in neutralizing harmful oral bacteria. Namely, the study found that coconut oil effectively eliminated Streptococcus, Candida Albicans, and Strep Mutans, all known triggers of oral health issues.
The study leader, Dr. Damien Brady claims that enzyme-modified coconut oil is a far more beneficial and safer ingredient in dental hygiene products than chemical substances. However, further research is needed in the field before coconut oil could be included into health products. In the time being, natural medicine proponents strongly recommend regular coconut oil as a mouthwash. While regular coconut oil may not provide all the benefit as the enzyme-modified one, it still makes a world of difference when it comes to oral hygiene. Plus, it’s completely safe and doesn’t cause any side effects.
The method of using coconut oil for oral health is called oil pulling. It includes swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth for 10 to 20 minutes with the purpose of ‘pulling’ as many bacteria as possible from the mouth into the oil. Dentistry IQ links this natural dental treatment to millennia-old ayurvedic medicine. But, there is more evidence to support the benefits of oil pulling:
The ‘skin’ of mouth-residing bacteria cells is made of fat, and as such, these are drawn to the fat within the oil. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which is excellent at shutting down harmful bacteria.
A common problem many people face when trying to oil pull for the first time is adjusting the right amount of oil in the mouth so it can have an actual effect. Dentistry IQ also recommends spitting the the oil in the trash as opposed to the sink. It’s also important to wash your mouth thoroughly after the oil pulling treatment to remove any leftover bacteria.
A final note – don’t substitute your regular tooth-brushing routine with oil pulling. You should only include it in your regular oral hygiene.