If you've been keeping up with the latest natural beauty and hygiene trends lately, you know that coconut oil is all the rage. The uses and purported benefits of coconut oil are vast in quantity and with all the talkgoing around, it's hard not to wonder if we should all jump on the coconut oil bandwagon. A major benefit that many people are intrigued by is the supposed ability of coconut oil to whiten teeth. Oil pulling and other dental uses of this natural product have become quite popular, and we decided it was time to investigate the effectiveness of these methods.
What Is Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling originated in ancient India as a natural Ayurveda healing technique. The process of holding a natural oil in the mouth and swishing it around the teeth and gums was thought to strengthen and improve overall dental health. Today, it is touted as being one of the most effective uses for coconut oil in terms of whitening teeth, although it is not the only popular method.
Other Ways To Whiten Teeth With Coconut Oil
Along with oil pulling, there are a few other techniques used to reap the (supposed) teeth whitening benefits of coconut oil. Some people prefer to incorporate the coconut oil into home-made toothpaste, like this one from Wellness Mama. According to a study from researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, using coconut oil in toothpaste (or oil pulling) may help halt the damaging effects of tooth decay. Strains of Streptoccocus bacteria are often responsible for declining dental health, and the study suggests that coconut oil acts as a powerful natural antimicrobial that can help inhibit growth of this type of bacteria.
So, Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth?
The benefits of coconut oil are undeniable - studies have shown time and time again that the oil does have natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that are helpful all over the body, including your teeth and gums. But, does it actually whiten teeth? The answer is yes and no. While coconut oil should not replace your standard dental hygiene routine, it definitely will help the overall health of your mouth. Many people have reported seeing improvement in blisters and sensitivity in their teeth after incorporating coconut oil into their daily routine. The reduction of harmful bacteria in your mouth plays a big role in the whitening process - the healthier your teeth, the easier it will be to brighten the up. However, coconut oil on its own may not be enough to give your pearly whites the color you are looking for.
Add a Whitening Agent Into The Mix
Using coconut oil on its own might not be what your teeth need toget that white and bright smile, but adding in another natural product like activated charcoal might just do the trick. Activated charcoal has long been known as nature's whitening tool, and for good reason. The chemical properties of the charcoal allow it to easily bind with those solutions that are known to cause your teeth to develop that stained, yellow look (think coffee, wine, tea, and even regular old plaque). While it helps take unnatural stains that mayhave been caused by wear and tear off of your teeth, if you were born a slightly darker or more yellow smile, activated charcoal may not be the whitening agent you are looking for. Another downside to activated charcoal (much likebaking soda) is that it is incredibly abrasive in nature, which can be harmfulto your enamel. To avoid brushing it into your teeth and damaging your enamel, and your bathroom, try using whiteningstrips like these ones. They combine coconut oil with activated charcoal for true whitening power, and are easy to apply without any abrasion or mess needed.
When In Doubt, Brush It Out
At the end of the day, coconut oil may be worth adding to your arsenal of dental health products. Its bacteria-killing benefits have been proven over and over again, and it's hard to ignore those people who have noticed significant improvements in their personal dental health since using the oil. But, as research as shown, coconut oil just doesn't have enough umph on its own to whiten your teeth. Using a natural whitening agent with the oil, however, can have a two-for-one effect: fighting off and killing harmful bacteria while also brightening your pearly whites. Besides, who doesn't want to walk around with a slight coconut-y aroma to their breath, right?