Let’s face it: bad breath, yellowed teeth and even the occasional cavity have plagued us all at some point.
Each year, Americans spend millions of dollars on pastes, rinses, strips and spin brushes in an effort to improve their oral health. However, the answer to all of your dental woes may be as simple as a tablespoon of coconut oil.
Oil pulling is the age-old practice of rinsing the mouth with oil to strengthen teeth and improve oral health. All one needs to do is rinse out their mouth with one tablespoon of oil for 15-20 minutes (or more if desired) to keep their pearly whites strong and healthy.
Traditional oil pulling involved the use of sesame oil, yet modern health experts recommend the use of coconut oil, as the lauric acid present is a proven antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial compound.
Before you spend more money on expensive pastes and gels, take a look at these three ways coconut oil can improve your oral health.
1. Reduce tooth decay. Everyone’s mouth is teeming with thousands of bacteria. Some of these microbes are beneficial, while countless others lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay. If not kept under control, bacteria form a biofilm over teeth known as plaque, and over time, wear away at the delicate enamel, leaving it vulnerable to decay. Streptococcus mutans is the primary bacteria that hastes this process.
While brushing and flossing are key in keeping teeth free from too much plaque buildup, a 2008 study found that an oil pulling routine significantly reduced the amount of Streptococcus mutans on teeth in as little as two weeks, making it an effective preventative treatment as well.
2. Treat and prevent gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease caused by the accumulation of plaque in the tiny gaps between the teeth and gums. Over time, deep pockets can form that can cause bleeding, initiate bone loss and lead to the more serious condition of periodontitis. In most cases, a potent mouthwash is prescribed as a means of treatment.
However, research has shown that oil pulling is as effective a treatment as the prescribed mouthwash chlorhexidine. Further, oil pulling reduces gingivitis up to 60 percent effectively, while a brushing and flossing routine alone is only 13 percent effective.
3. Freshen breath. Halitosis, or bad breath, can be embarrassing as well as offensive to other people. While gums and mints can mask symptoms temporarily, they don’t treat the underlying cause. Further, sugary mints can promote tooth decay, while sugar-free varieties often contain dangerous and controversial artificial sweeteners.
A 2011 study, however, found oil pulling to be as effective a treatment as stronger prescribed mouthwashes, thanks to the technique’s ability to effectively reduce oral bacteria.
Brushing and flossing are indeed key elements in maintaining proper oral health, but adding oil pulling with coconut oil to your mouth care routine is a proven technique that can keep you out of the dentist’s chair and keep your teeth sturdy and strong.
-The Alternative Daily