COCONUT OIL FOR DENTAL HEALTH
In our search for natural alternatives to deal with medical issues, we also look for promising methods to keep your teeth healthy as well. Coconut oil has been put forth as an option to decrease bacteria in your mouth and lower you risk for gingivitis (gum inflammation) and tooth decay. In this article, we discuss this option, which is also known as “oil pulling”.
“Oil pulling” is accomplished by swishing a tablespoon of oil around in your mouth. Although this method is 3,000 years old, there is a scientific explanation as to how it works. As the oil hits your teeth and gums, germs are picked up like iron fillings by a magnet. As coconut oil is a fat and bacterial walls have fatty substances in their membranes, they stick to each other. The action of swishing (“pulling”) extracts bacteria from crevices in the gums and teeth are stick to the solution.
The oil needs to be swished around for a while. After 20 minutes or so, the solution turns a milky white. Theoretically, this is because of the bacteria removed. At this point, spit out the oil and rinse thoroughly with water.
Using coconut oil in this fashion is reported to help reduce gingivitis, eliminate bad breath, prevent cavities, decrease gum and tooth sensitivity, and even whiten teeth. Although I can’t vouch for every claim, many conventional dental professionals are perfectly ok with oil pulling.
There are a number of medical issues that excessive oral bacteria can affect. Bacterial infection is the most common cause of endocarditis, an inflammation involving the valves and inner lining of the heart. The more inflamed the gum tissues due to excessive bacteria , the more likely the infection can reach the bloodstream. A 2005 study at Boston’s Forsyth Institute found certain bacteria in high levels in certain patients with oral cancers. Other oral bacteria have been implicated in cases of pneumonia, sinusitis, and even meningitis.
Some tips if you’re interested in trying oil pulling:
- Swish gently. It takes a while to oil pull, and your jaw will ache if you’re too aggressive.
- Don’t swallow the oil. If you feel that you have to, you’re using too much.
- Spit the oil out in the toilet, not the sink. Otherwise, you’ll eventually clog the drain.
- Rinse with water before and after oil pulling.
By the way, coconut oil, although a reasonable option to decrease oral bacteria, does not cure existing tooth decay, nor does it eliminate the importance of regular dental examination by qualified professional in non-survival situations.
Joe Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones