Could using coconut oil on your teeth actually make them whiter? It certainly seems odd to use this oily kitchen staple to achieve pearly whites, but there just might be something to it.
And let’s be honest, we all want a set of gleaming white teeth. But years of drinking coffee, red wine, and tea can really dull your sparkle.
Now, many people choose to get their teeth professionally whitened, but it is an expensive process. And at-home whitening methods — while effective — can also have their drawbacks. Whitening strips and trays have the potential to cause unwanted side effects, like tooth sensitivity.
So perhaps it was only a matter of time before coconut oil began making a name for itself as a gentle DIY teeth whitener. Here’s the lowdown …
What’s Coconut Oil Pulling?
Using coconut oil for teeth might seem like just one more recent trend to up your DIY beauty game. But it actually has its roots in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Traditional Ayurvedic practitioners recommended “oil pulling” as a means to prevent tooth decay, bad breath, and promote the health of the gums, jaw, and teeth.1
Now, there’s a good chance you’re wondering just what oil pulling entails.
Long story short: oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil in your mouth for several minutes in order to clean and whiten your teeth.
The swishing action is meant to “pull” pathogens and germs away from your teeth, thus preventing them from doing their dirty work – like causing plaque buildup and tooth decay.
And, coconut oil is an integral part of this process. The fats from coconut oil attract bacteria, so they don’t get stuck in your teeth.
Even better: coconut oil contains lauric acid – a fatty acid that forms a soap-like substance when it comes into contact with your saliva.
This substance can help cleanse the teeth and reduce plaque.2 And keeping plaque at bay is essential for preventing yellowing and discoloration.
Another benefit of the lauric acid found in coconut oil? It helps fight off a bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans, which plays a big role in tooth decay. A study done in 2016 demonstrated that after 30 days of coconut oil pulling, subjects experienced a significant decrease in Streptococcus mutans.3
And there’s more science to back up this tooth trend. A 2015 study found a significant decrease in plaque and gingivitis after just 7 days of oil pulling with coconut oil.4
In other words, there’s some solid evidence in favor of using coconut oil to whiten teeth!
So, are you ready to give this ancient Ayurvedic “trend” a shot?
Putting Coconut Oil To Work
Oil pulling is a pretty simple process, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t gargle or swallow the coconut oil.
- Spit the coconut oil out in the trash. Spitting it into your sink could clog up your drain.
- Always rinse with warm water after, and follow up with regular brushing and toothpaste.
Here are some ways to incorporate coconut oil into your dental hygiene regimen:
Simple Coconut Oil Pulling
This is by far the easiest and most foolproof oil pulling method. All it takes is a little coconut oil. Opt for unrefined virgin coconut oil, which contains fewer additives, so you’ll be getting the most potent version of the oil.
1. Place a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth. Keep in mind that coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so it may take a few seconds to warm up and liquify.
2. Swish thoroughly in your mouth for 5-20 minutes.
For a little variation on this method (or if your jaw gets tired from all the swishing), simply add a little coconut oil to your toothbrush and scrub gently.
Coconut Oil and Hydrogen Peroxide
It’s been known for years that hydrogen peroxide is a super effective ingredient when it comes to whitening teeth.5 You can combine this all-star with coconut oil to get a sparkly smile.
1. Combine 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil with 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon water.
2. Swish the mixture in your mouth for at least 10 minutes.
Coconut Oil and Activated Charcoal
One tooth whitening ingredient that’s gained a lot of notoriety is activated charcoal. Now, rubbing a black substance normally reserved for BBQ’s on your teeth certainly seems counterintuitive, but it’s gained a lot of traction.
If you’d like to experiment …
1. Combine 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil with ¼ teaspoon activated charcoal powder.
2. Swish for at least 10 minutes.
Coconut Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar
Many DIY beauty gurus swear by apple cider vinegar as a tooth whitener. There may be some credence to their claims, but it is important to use apple cider vinegar with caution since it’s quite acidic. To try this combination …
1. Mix 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar with 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil and 2 teaspoons water.
2. Swish for 1 minute.
3. Rinse well, and follow up with regular toothpaste.
Of course, you’ll get the most dramatic results with professional teeth whitening procedures, which can remove stubborn stains below the surface. And keep in mind that oil pulling is no substitute for regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist.
But that doesn’t mean using coconut oil for teeth isn’t worth the experiment. It’s relatively mild, and it’s a great option if you’re looking to go the natural — and inexpensive — route.
Here’s a fun way to test out if it really works: Try taking a close-up picture of your teeth before beginning any coconut oil pulling routine. Then take another picture after 30 days. Did it work? Here’s hoping so!
And if you want to draw attention to those newly whitened teeth? Try our Anti-Aging Lip Enhancer. Our Lip Enhancer uses moisturizing hyaluronic acid and collagen peptides to plump up lips and fill in fine lines both on and around the lips.6 It’ll give you a kissable, voluminous look!
A Note On Beauty Uses of Coconut Oil
While using coconut oil to whiten teeth might be an interesting — and perhaps worthy — experiment, never use coconut oil as a skin moisturizer. Coconut oil is comedogenic, which means it can clog pores, leading to blackheads, whiteheads, and acne breakouts. So, if you’re looking for skin hydration, it’s always a safer choice to use moisturizers that are specifically formulated to be gentle and effective.
Coconut Oil For Teeth
Using coconut oil to whiten teeth might seem like one more beauty craze that’s here today and gone tomorrow. But with scientific evidence backing up its dental benefits, coconut oil just might be one trend with real staying power. Give it a try and see for yourself!