We are told from an early age, to brush twice a day and to floss between all our teeth, but this isn’t enough. Our mouth is an ecosystem filled with resilient bacteria like Streptococcus Mutans (S. Mutans), which cling to our teeth in hard to reach places, producing lactic acid and causing tooth decay.[i]
However, the increasingly popular coconut oil is proven to limit the risks of bad oral hygiene by using it like mouthwash. In an activity called oil pulling, you can remove the bacteria which clings to your teeth. This video explains:
Traditional Methods of Oral Hygiene isn’t Enough
These pesky bacteria called S. Mutans, attach themselves to the sucrose on our teeth and convert it into Lactic Acid which erodes our teeth, ultimately leading to tooth decay and cavities.
Brushing your teeth is not effective at removing the S. Mutans, which hide in the crevices of our teeth. A study found that supplementary cleaning is necessary to get rid of these harmful bacteria.[ii] One of the only traditional ways to fight S. Mutans is by going to a dental hygienist who has to clean your teeth regularly with fluoride and professional cleaning instruments. This method is expensive or too labor intensive to do ourselves (plus many have raised concerns about the effectiveness of fluoride).
In addition, store bought toothpaste comes with its own risks as they are filled with controversial chemicals like Triclosan, known to be invasive to our bodies and ecosystems by interfering with hormone function.[iii] Some toothpastes also contain non-biodegradable micro-beads which pollute our aquatic ecosystems.[iv]
Coconut Oil Can Drastically Improve your Resistance to Oral Bacteria
Coconut Oil effectively reduces the presence of S. Mutans and their ability to erode your teeth. A study done at the Center for Oral Health Research explored the fats that make up coconut oil and found “that the fatty acids exhibited patterns of inhibition against oral bacteria.”[vi] They saw that lauric acid, among other fats in coconut oil, are good at removing the S. Mutans in our teeth.
You can change the organic make up of your mouth by introducing new medium-chain triglycerides, which can be an effective way to tip the balance in favor of a healthy mouth. Coconut oil has the added benefit of being able to flow through our gums and teeth to eliminate the hard to reach S. Mutans.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Healthy Teeth
You can try one of these are two popular solutions for including coconut oil into our lives:
1. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling can be beneficial to stop tooth decay, and gingivitis to improve our overall health. The coconut oil is swished around our mouth to get around the crevices and small areas of the mouth. To maximize the potential of this technique it is best to do it in the morning before eating or drinking anything.
Oil pulling is as simple as:
- Putting a tablespoon of the coconut oil in your mouth
- Swishing it around for about 20 minutes, which can be added to any basic household routine that doesn’t require you to speak or eat
- Spitting it out in the garbage and not in the drain as it is too viscous and it might clog it
- And of course, Brushing your teeth to give the S. Mutans a finishing blow
2. Enzyme Treated Coconut Oil Toothpaste
Another effective way to add coconut oil to your oral care routine, shared by AuthorityNutrition, is by simply making your own coconut oil toothpaste.
You can make the toothpaste by:
- Warming up half a cup of coconut oil until it becomes a liquid.
- Stirring in baking soda until it has a similar consistency to traditional toothpaste.
- Adding 10 – 20 drops of peppermint, or cinnamon.
- And applying it to your toothbrush like a traditional toothpaste and brush as you normally do.
Coconut Oil is an accessible way to treat the harmful bacteria in your mouth such as S. Mutans without spending time and money on a professional. Apply it to your daily oral care routine by oil pulling, or using it as a toothpaste to maintain a clean and healthy mouth. Find other ways to maintain oral health by using these alternatives to your cancer causing gum, or by finding effective ways to stop grinding your teeth.
[i] Loesche WJ. Microbiology of Dental Decay and Periodontal Disease. In: Baron S, editor. Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. Galveston (TX): University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; 1996. Chapter 99. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK8259/
[ii] Manju M, Prathyusha P, Joseph E, Kaul RB, Shanthraj SL, Sethi N. Evaluation of the effect of three supplementary oral hygiene measures on salivary mutans streptococci levels in children: A randomized comparative clinical trial. European Journal of Dentistry. 2015;9(4):462-469. doi:10.4103/1305-7456.172616.
[iii] “Triclosan”. David Suzuki Foundation. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
[iv] Ottawa proposes to ban plastic microbeads in facial cleansers, toothpaste. The Canadian Press. Feb 09 2016. Available from: http://ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1764502436?accountid=13631.
[v] Huang CB, Altimova Y, Myers TM, Ebersole JL. Short- and medium-chain fatty acids exhibit antimicrobial activity for oral microorganisms. Archives of oral biology. 2011;56(7):650-654. doi:10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.01.011.
[vi] Huang CB, Altimova Y, Myers TM, Ebersole JL. Short- and medium-chain fatty acids exhibit antimicrobial activity for oral microorganisms. Archives of oral biology. 2011;56(7):650-654. doi:10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.01.011.
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