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Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth? True or False
Jun 26, 2023
Have you seen something like this online？
Swishing coconut oil around your mouth for about 20 minutes will kill all your dental ills. No more bacteria. No more gingivitis. No more cavities.
Hooray! It is not just a natural remedy but magic! So some people who want to whiten their teeth have seen a miracle: Coconut Oil.
However, is there scientific evidence that coconut oil whitens teeth? Does It really work? To answer these questions, we have to know about oil pulling.
What’s the origin of oil pulling?
Oil pulling is an alternative medical practice and stems from traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Oil pulling involves swishing oil in the mouth and spitting it out, which can benefit oral and overall health. But there is no substantial evidence to prove it.
Oil pulling works with pretty much any oil, especially coconut oil.
How does coconut oil pull whiten teeth?
Coconut oil-pulling fans say that the fats in coconut oil help remove plaque and bacteria from teeth and gums. When you spit out the mixture, it picks up all the gunk and unwanted critters. Coconut oil helps reduce tooth decay and gum inflammation. It also has the effect of reducing bad breath.
What makes coconut oil becoming one of the most popular choices for teeth whitening? Let’s take a closer look at coconut oil.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
According to research， coconut oil is a plant extract with many health benefits, from dental to dermatological aspects. Additionally, it has specific medicinal properties as a part of Ayurvedic medicine.
But it has other benefits for the oral cavity, which are:
- Natural and harmless: It does not contain any harmful chemicals
- Help relieve dry throat
- Easy to use, no foaming in the mouth
- Help dry and chapped lips heal
- Inexpensive, especially compared to other teeth whitening medications
In daily life, how do people whiten their teeth with coconut oil?
How do people use coconut oil to whiten their teeth?
People use it like a mouthwash, and the usual steps are：
- Take a teaspoon of coconut oil（15ML）
- Swish the oil around the mouth for about 15–20 minutes
- Spit out the oil into the trash, then brush the teeth
Looking at the above steps carefully, we can see that people use coconut oil as a mouthwash. This process may wash away some food that slightly covers your teeth. But do you think this is true whitening?
Can Coconut Oil Pulling Successfully Whiten Teeth?
There is good news and bad news. The good is that using coconut oil around your mouth is unlikely to cause any damage. It can't make your teeth whiter because it can't remove stains on the outside and inside of your teeth.
Extrinsic stain cleaning mechanism
Removing stains from glass is like scrubbing with a rag and rubbing the surface to get rid of stains. Most whitening toothpastes use the same mechanical friction mechanism to whiten teeth.
However, pulling with coconut oil doesn’t create enough physical strength to remove external stains.
Internal stain-cleaning mechanism
The intrinsic stain removal process involves the chemical oxidation of deeply embedded stains. The process is similar to washing oily white shorts with bleach or Oxyclean.
There are only two ingredients in the world that can oxidize inherent stains: hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. Coconut oil's nutrition label doesn't mention them, as they aren't naturally present in coconut oil.
So, coconut oil cannot remove stains inherent to tooth enamel because it cannot oxidize stains.
Better ways to whiten teeth
Hopefully, we’ve got strong enough evidence that coconut oil doesn’t whiten teeth. You don’t have to worry about disappointment because we have other ways to help you whiten your teeth. You’re reading this because you wish you could, right?
- Whitening toothpaste: Make sure the toothpaste you buy contains fluoride. Use it twice a day when brushing your teeth.
- Whitening strips: These are flexible plastic strips containing hydrogen peroxide. They can be purchased at any pharmacy counter.
- Gel trays: Available where dental products are sold, these trays are best used at home according to package instructions.
- Professional whitening kits: One of the professional options provides the most efficient results. But the out-of-pocket costs may be outside your budget.
Either way, discuss it with your dentist.
While coconut oil won’t whiten your teeth, using it for oil pulling may benefit your oral health. It’s, of course, harmless, so it doesn’t hurt to use it as a mouthwash.
Nonetheless, if you strongly want to whiten your teeth, you should explore other options. Other methods are significantly more efficient and perform better. They don’t need to be expensive, as some DIY methods work. However, if you want a guaranteed result, you should consider having professional teeth whitening with your dentist.