BY LOGAN CROSS
White teeth look good on people of all ages, sizes, races, and genders. It shows that you take good care of your dental hygiene, and it makes you look super sharp. The only problem is that professional teeth whitening can be ridiculously expensive and teeth whitening toothpastes don’t always work. So, in these hard times, many people are turning to natural remedies that are cheaper to use and more likely to work. One of the most popular remedies is coconut oil.
Coconut oil has a vast array of benefits, according to Medical News Today ranging from controlling blood sugar to preventing liver disease. But how well does coconut oil actually whiten your teeth?
What effect does coconut oil have on your teeth?
While there isn’t any science-backed research that confirms coconut oil’s whitening powers, it’s still commonly used for this reason, and believers swear by it (via Healthline). One of the most popular methods people use to brighten their smiles is called oil pulling (via Authority Dental). The practice involves holding a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swishing it around for up to 20 minutes. The oil literally pulls bacteria from the surface of your teeth because it’s lipophilic (meaning that it actually attracts toxins in your mouth). This method washes away plaque, which is why coconut oil allegedly helps make yellow teeth whiter.
If the thought of swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes doesn’t appeal to you, you can also coat your floss with coconut oil to help get to the hard-to-reach areas, or you can mix the oil with a bit of baking soda to create a powerful toothpaste (via InStyle).
Why is coconut oil good for mouth health?
There are a handful of reasons why coconut oil, on a molecular level, is so healthy for your pearly whites, even if it’s not directly related to whitening your teeth. In particular, the oil contains lauric acid, which is a medium-chain fatty acid that makes up about 50 percent of coconut oil, according to Healthline. Essentially, lauric acid is important because it can kill harmful bacteria and viruses in the human body. In the mouth, lauric acid kills the stuff that causes bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.
According to Authority Dental, using coconut oil can also reduce the risk of gingivitis and help prevent cavities. So, if you have a sweet tooth, using coconut oil is the perfect natural remedy to keep your mouth healthy, even if the jury’s still out on whether or not it actually whitens your teeth.