Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Teeth?

Coconut oil has won the coveted title of superfood. While fat is often vilified before being praised, coconut oil seems to be consistently popular for its health benefits and versatility. According to WebMD, coconut is loaded with fatty acids that support weight loss, improve brain function, and enhance skin and hair health. This leads us to question — can it support oral health, too?

Researchers point out that the properties found within coconut oil can be extremely supportive of oral hygiene (per News Medical Life Sciences). In particular, coconut oil contains lauric acid, a fatty acid chain that is highly reactive with saliva and contains anti-microbial properties (via News Medical Life Sciences). Coconut oil is also anti-inflammatory, which can be an effective agent in fighting gum disease and plaque buildup (via Healthline).

One 2019 review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that coconut oil helps fight against tooth decay and bad breath by killing harmful bacteria. According to StatPearls, poor oral health accounts for at least 85% of bad breath symptoms. When it comes to eliminating harmful bacteria, research has found coconut oil is responsible for reducing two types of oral bacteria: Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans (via Healthline).

A guide on oil pulling with coconut oil

If you've fallen in love with the health benefits coconut oil provides for your teeth, the next step is understanding how to use the oil to support oral hygiene. While it's not a new concept, oil pulling is a growing trend, with coconut oil being the most popular oil of choice. This holistic practice began thousands of years ago in India starting in Ayurvedic medicine (via The Healthy).

Oil pulling, particularly with coconut oil, has been found to promote oral health by diminishing levels of the bacteria, streptococcus (per Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice). The fatty acids found in the oil trap and then remove plaque and unwanted bacteria from the mouth (via Healthline).

Similar to mouthwash, oil pulling acts in the same way. To begin, MedicalNewsToday recommends placing one tablespoon of oil in your mouth, then swishing for 15 to 20 minutes. Breathe through the nose, and be careful not to swallow any of the oil since it's filled with debris. After the allotted time, spit the oil into the trash and brush your teeth. Keep in mind that 15 minutes can be difficult when first beginning — MedicalNewsToday suggests beginning with five minutes and slowly increasing over time.