Despite many advances in the dental field, organic or natural remedies is a popular topic of discussion. One of these natural remedies is coconut oil for teeth whitening, otherwise known as oil pulling. It is called this because you "pull" the oil through your teeth.
The practice dates back to about 3,000 years ago in ancient India. It is a natural approach to dentistry known as "Ayurveda." Advocates of the natural approach to medicine believe that disease comes from an imbalance (or stress) in your consciousness.
With its roots dating back to ancient times, this raises the question: does coconut oil whiten teeth? To find out more, check out our article that relies on scientific evidence.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Teeth Whitening?
When looking into various studies, there is no evidence that coconut oil is an effective teeth-whitening solution. This comes from a lack of high-quality data affirming its usefulness.
Below, we go through different studies covering the subject.
In a systematic review reporting the effects of coconut oil and oral health, it was difficult to conclude coconut oil was a beneficial at-home teeth-whitening alternative. Much of this difficulty came from the lack of high-quality data.
Due to this lack of data, the American Dental Association (ADA) does not recommend oil pulling as a natural teeth whitening alternative. So, you might say that this closes the case.
But, while coconut oil isn't effective for teeth whitening, some studies tell us it can help your teeth in other ways.
Some studies show that oil pulling potentially results in an improvement in oral hygiene when practiced correctly. However, the study also cautions that this should not replace other forms of dental therapy.
Other studies show oil pulling as a potential alternative to in-office teeth whitening. So, those living in developing countries might reap the benefits of white teeth, despite not having access to dental facilities supporting cosmetic work.
Part of what makes coconut oil potentially effective is its high lauric acid content.
Because acid can kill bacteria, it can potentially help with oral care. So, while you might not see incredibly effective teeth whitening, it could reduce your bad breath and boost your oral health.
For a more concrete look, look at these images of how coconut oil can whiten teeth before and after.
Given the high potential teeth whitening cost, inexpensive alternatives can be a blessing. This is especially true if you live somewhere without access to these services. Carbamide or hydrogen peroxide treatments, used in professional teeth whitening, aren't available in some communities.
Still, improving your oral hygiene can result in a healthier-looking mouth. By extension, this can lead to whiter teeth, as some advocates may claim.
How To Whiten Your Teeth with Coconut Oil
If you want to try getting whiter teeth with coconut oil, follow this quick step-by-step guide:
- Take a teaspoon of coconut oil and place it in your mouth.
- Wait for the oil to melt in your mouth.
- Swish the melted oil throughout your mouth for 20 minutes. Be sure that the coconut reaches all of your teeth.
- Spit the oil into the nearest trash can. Do not spit it into your sink, as this can cause clogs.
As an alternative to the steps above, you can coat your toothbrush with oil.
Much like standard teeth brushing, be careful to get all your teeth.
Some people report good results in whitening teeth with coconut oil and baking soda. Because baking soda is abrasive, it's also shown to potentially help whiten teeth.
Below, you'll find some additional tips to consider when using oils:
- Avoid gargling the oil like you would with mouthwash. Oil pulling has no benefits to other areas of your mouth and might leave an unwanted aftertaste. To get the flavor out of your mouth, you can rinse it with water.
- You'll still want to brush your teeth with regular toothpaste. Oil pulling is not seen as an effective oral hygiene alternative.
- Some companies sell toothpaste infused with coconut oil. However, we can't speak to the effectiveness of these products, as there are no ADA-approved coconut oil toothpaste products.
- You might consider using other oils. Sesame oil is one potential alternative, but you might prefer coconut oil because of its better taste. Sunflower oil is also seen as a popular alternative. Because there are fewer studies on the effectiveness of these alternative oils, coconut oil shows the most potential promise.
- The best coconut oil for teeth whitening is typically the purest. Some advocates of the practice believe the best kind is cold-pressed and unrefined. Before using, check for any additives. Most oils are made to be spread on the skin, meaning they might not be ideal for putting in your mouth.
Is It Safe To Whiten Your Teeth With Coconut Oil?
Generally speaking, it is safe to whiten your teeth with coconut oil. It isn't shown to have any adverse effects from being in your mouth.
Because of the limited effects and impact, those with sensitive teeth might prefer it to alternative practices. Those who've struggled with bleaching or other methods might choose this when comparing teeth whitening options.
Despite being safe to put in your mouth, be careful not to swallow it. The ingestion of coconut oil can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. So, treat it as you would when using any oral care product.
Who Should Avoid Whitening Their Teeth With Coconut Oil?
If you are allergic to coconuts, you should not whiten your teeth with coconut oil. The allergic reaction can lead to a rash, hives, an upset stomach, and swelling.
In these cases, you might consider using sunflower or sesame oil. Among natural teeth whitening solutions, both have been used as alternatives.
Before considering these alternatives, you might consider an allergy panel.
Contact your trusted medical professional for more information on how to get one.
How To Use Coconut Oil In Your Oral Care Routine
If you want to improve your smile, coconut oil can be a part of your oral care routine. Following our steps above, you can include them alongside current tooth care practices.
To start this new habit, do it before you brush your teeth. This way, you can connect it to your current oral care routine, making it easier to start.
Because its use is meant to potentially remove bacteria due to the lauric acid's antimicrobial properties, brushing your teeth after makes sense. It also provides an easy solution for removing the unwanted taste of oil from your mouth.
As you've seen above, this natural method cannot replace teeth cleaning.
Despite the potential benefits of oil pulling, no studies report it as an effective alternative to standard practices.
Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth Before And After (Images)
Wrap-Up - Is Coconut Oil An Effective Method To Whiten Your Teeth?
Based on a data review, coconut oil is not the most effective way to whiten teeth. However, there is data showing that coconut oil might improve your oral health.
If you are pursuing ways to improve mouth health, oil pulling can potentially help. Because a healthy mouth can lead to whiter teeth, you can see some correlation here. However, better mouth health might not automatically lead to whiter teeth.
Coconut oil might be a more effective routine for teeth whitening when combined with baking soda. However, professional teeth whitening tends to lead to faster results. In either case, neither teeth whitening nor natural alternatives to it are replacements for the regular use of toothpaste, flossing, and mouthwash.
Coconut oil can also be a cheaper alternative to other teeth whitening practices. So, if you can’t afford professional whitening, you might consider it alongside other resources. Because it isn’t generally harmful, there’s no harm in trying the technique to see your results.
For more details, check out some related questions about coconut oil for teeth whitening below.
Can Coconut Oil Help With Dry Mouth?
Holding coconut oil in your mouth can potentially encourage the production of saliva. Holding it in your mouth for 20 minutes can help some people get over dry mouth. Other ways to help with dry mouth include regular sips of water, a humidifier, or gum. Combining multiple treatments to help with dry mouth can help your recovery.
Is Coconut Oil Better Than Toothpaste?
No scientific studies show coconut oil as a good alternative to toothpaste. Some studies show that coconut oil can potentially improve oral health. However, toothpaste has far more scientific evidence demonstrating its effectiveness. Until more data is available, it’s best to stick with standard fluoride toothpaste.
Can You Use Coconut Oil To Brush Your Teeth?
By putting coconut oil on your teeth, you can choose to brush your teeth with it.
However, it isn't a good alternative to standard teeth cleaning products. Coconut oil doesn’t have the same deep-cleaning properties as standard fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to pick your toothpaste based on what the ADA recommends.
How Fast Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth?
Based on our earlier data, coconut oil isn't an effective method to whiten teeth in any given time frame. This is why some people use baking soda with coconut oil to get faster results. Baking soda acts as an abrasive element, while coconut oil is an antimicrobial agent, meaning both have the potential to improve your oral health and appearance.
Can I Brush My Teeth With Coconut Oil Every Day?
You can brush your teeth with coconut oil every day if you choose. By doing it before you brush your teeth with toothpaste, it can become a regular habit. Just be sure to continue other steps of your oral care routine, like toothpaste, flossing, and mouthwash. As we’ve said earlier, coconut oil isn’t an effective alternative to brushing teeth with ADA-approved products.
How Does Coconut Oil Get Rid Of Yellow Teeth?
Coconut oil can potentially result in a whiter smile because of its concentration of lauric acid. The acid has antimicrobial properties, which can remove some bacteria causing yellow teeth. However, yellow teeth can be caused by other habits. If you are drinking soda or smoking cigarettes, reducing these habits will be more effective than using oils.
How Long Can You Leave Coconut Oil On Your Teeth?
When you start with coconut oil, leave it on your teeth for no more than five minutes. This helps you get used to the sensation, allowing you to build up to the recommended 15-20 minutes of coconut oil on your teeth. Don't leave it on for more than 20 minutes, as the potential benefits are no longer helpful.
How Many Times A Day Should I Use Coconut Oil On My Teeth?
Many advocates of coconut oil don't put it in their teeth every day. Instead, you might use it a few times per week, taking advantage of the benefits without overdoing it. At most, you can use it up to three times per day, but that's excessive for most people. At the bare minimum, you should use coconut oil to aid your teeth thrice weekly.