There are plenty of options for dental bleaching available from laser whitening at the dentist to home bleaching kits. There are also a lot of people who swear by natural remedies such as activated charcoal, turmeric, baking soda and - perhaps the most popular of them all - coconut oil.
What are the Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Oral Health?
Coconut oil contains natural antibacterial properties and research has found that coconut oil can decrease the buildup of plaque on your teeth and assist in fighting gum disease.
Swishing with coconut oil has been likened to washing your dishes, it pulls the toxins from your mouth leaving you with a clean, antiseptic environment in your mouth that helps the flow of good bacteria in your mouth needed to prevent cavities in your tooth.
Dentists caution that oil pulling shouldn't replace good oral hygiene - brushing your teeth twice daily and regular flossing, however, if you're looking for an alternative to traditional mouthwashes, oil pulling has been found to have the same, if not more, benefits.
Coconut Oil for Whitening Teeth
Various toothpaste manufacturers have long enticed us with the promise that using their product will bestow that sparkling megawatt smile of confidence. Should this fail to deliver the desired results, there are many and varied cosmetic dentistry treatments available: bleaching, veneers, laminates, or ultimately, the capping option. Which to choose depends either on your bank account or your willingness to go through pain to gain. Suppose there was an easier way? A way that did not cause underlying damage to the root, nerves or tissue of the tooth, which many conventional dentistry treatments do in fact disturb.
Back at the ranch, home remedies have, over the years, flung up ways to whiten teeth that include, brushing with bicarbonate of soda, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice, either separately or combined. If you have ever tried them you will no doubt have found some brightening properties. Yet they lack one crucial factor: The power of the pull.
So How Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth?
Trending for a few years now in the Western world, but never out of fashion from where it originated, is the new tooth cool: Coconut oil.
It is indeed a magical oil worthy of our due respect, but it is the manner in which it is used, and the reasoning behind this, that brings about the whiter tooth effect, namely: Oil Pulling.
Some in the mainstream cosmetic dentistry field refer to the process of oil pulling as a folk remedy and don't consider it to be a natural alternative for whitening teeth or as having any dental benefits. A tad derogatory, given it's actually from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. The same Ayurveda that is so carefully interwoven into our yoga bunny lives.
As Ayurvedic practitioner John Doulliard explains:
“Oil Pulling got its name from the ‘pulling’ or cleansing effect oils have when applied to the skin. Oils are lipophilic, meaning they attract other oils and fat soluble toxins, ‘pulling’ them out from any surface an oil is introduced to. This amazing property to chelate, or pull, toxins out of the body has been employed for centuries during classical Ayurvedic detox therapies.”
Coconut oil is antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial, therefore sloshing and swishing this, up and down, in and out between your teeth, is the ultimate health treat you can give your mouth. It cleans so effectively because of its fluid nature, enabling it to reach all the tiny gaps, crevices and folds of skin in the mouth. It cleans up plaque, which, with prolonged use over time, may bring about a whitening effect. Plus regular use may help to gently lighten tooth stains from those foods we hate to love: green or black tea, black coffee, and red wine.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Whitening Teeth
- Pull with it - Simply put 1 teaspoonful in your mouth and swish it around for 10 to 20 minutes. Be very careful not to swallow it. When you are finished swishing ("pulling") you can spit it into the toilet or in the garden. Because it solidifies you shouldn't spit it out into the sink as after awhile it could cause your sink to get blocked up.
- Massage with it - As we know, our gums anchor our teeth, and are prone to all sorts of minuscule bacteria, massaging these with coconut oil will promote gum health.
- Wash with it - It can be used instead of mouthwash by using the pulling method described above.
- Brush with it - Combined with a little bicarb of soda to mimic the feel of standard toothpaste, you can gently brush your teeth with it - for those of you cringing at the thought of an oily mouth. Be very careful though as bicarb of soda (or baking soda) is an abrasive and can damage your tooth enamel. Make sure that if you use it for tooth brushing, you only use a very small amount and don't do it too frequently. If in doubt, check with your dentist.
- Cook with it - There are said to be countless benefits to consuming coconut oil, from weight loss to anti aging. It is the most stable oil at high temps, meaning it will not oxidize and cause those free radicals to party in your body. Taking it internally and applying externally maximizes the magic.
It should be noted that it takes patience and persistence before you see any significant effect, sometimes a few months of regular use is required. Another point worth noting is that, as good as coconut oil is for your oral hygiene, it will not be able to produce significant results on teeth that are yellow or have serious stains.
If your teeth are already fairly white and you just need a gentle, regular touch up and are happy to be a regular user then you will see a difference over time. If, however, you need fast results, have very yellow or stained teeth, or aren't a routine orientated person then this might not be the best option for you.
Oil Pulling vs Coconut Oil White Strips
If you don’t fancy having a mouth full of oil every day, or if you don’t have the patience to wait months to see results, another option you could try is coconut oil whitening strips. Our gentle, coconut oil and activated charcoal infused strips are fast, easy and a great idea for people with sensitive teeth, as well as those that want a whitening product but are looking for something a little lighter in the chemical department.
Taking advantage of the same benefits gained by coconut oil pulling, the strips work faster and are just a teensy bit less yuck. They can also be used for stubborn stains or quick fixes when you don’t have time to wait for the oil pulling to slowly whiten your teeth.
Advantages of a Whiter Smile
From first dates and job interviews, to the never-ending selfie parade, our smile generates the biggest initial impact as to how we are perceived. Add on the fact that when Match.com interviewed 5,000 singles, over half said teeth are the most important characteristic when choosing someone to date, you have ample reason to want a winning smile.
Read more: 10 Benefits of Whiter Teeth
We all know it’s either lips or eyes when applying makeup, but if you choose the eye option because you want to direct attention away from your less than white pearlies, what can you do? If your smile is more Mona Lisa than Julia Roberts, is there any way to improve matters? Your genes plus the nutrition you received whilst growing up will have had an effect on your jaw structure and arrangement of your second set of teeth, but in this day and age no one needs to be imprisoned by discoloration.
Whichever tooth whitening option you choose PearlyWhites wishes you happy, bright smiles.