Coconut Oil for Teeth & the Oil Pulling Process

Toothbrushes in a mason jar along with a message about coconut oil for teeth


Coconut oil has a long history of being a multipurpose, go-to resource for overall wellness. It’s great for hair, skin, and nails; it may even be a useful way to benefit brain health and manage weight. With so many applications, it stands to reason it would be good for your teeth too.

Coconut oil has been a popular oral hygiene home remedy for centuries. Stemming from practices originating in South Asia, ancient cultures discovered some of the practical applications of the oil and put it to good use. Fast forward to 2022 and this revolutionary oil is still all the rage. Specifically, using coconut oil for your teeth. 

Oral Hygiene Benefits of Using Coconut Oil for Teeth

A clean mouth is a happy mouth. Outside of regular trips to the dentist, daily brushing and flossing — what can you do to improve your dental health? Introducing coconut oil into your normal dental care routine could be the missing piece. The possible benefits are pretty compelling:

woman in pink camisole brushing her teeth
  • Regular use of coconut oil whitens teeth
  • Coconut oil's chemical makeup contains fatty acids with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which aid in the elimination of harmful bacteria
  • Swishing coconut oil around the mouth has a cleansing effect that helps to prevent bacteria and plaque from sticking to the teeth
  • It’s potentially effective at killing a particular strain of bacteria, the number one cause of tooth decay, Streptococcus Mutans
  • Can soothe a sore throat
  • May help reduce plaque
  • Help prevent bad breath

The main culprit behind all oral health issues, everything from bad breath to the gum disease gingivitis, is plaque build up from poor oral hygiene. Recent studies show that using coconut oil for teeth cleaning may actually work to decrease plaque buildup. Less plaque is beneficial for oral health and hygiene.

Bad breath is a common, albeit slightly embarrassing oral health problem. Up to 85% of bad breath cases come from individuals with poor oral hygiene (yikes!). Lots of things can cause bad breath like eating an especially fragrant food, tooth decay, gum disease, or a bacteria buildup. Coconut oil can help to reduce food debris stuck between teeth, in turn decreasing inflammation which helps to prevent gum disease.

Why Coconut Oil?

So what exactly is it about coconut oil that whitens teeth and makes it so good for oral health? The oil’s chemical compound is a rich source of fatty acids. Roughly half the fats in coconut oil are medium-chain triglycerides or MCT’s. MCT’s are commonly associated with having both antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which can boost oral health. Plus, it tastes good!

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an age-old process aimed at getting rid of harmful mouth bacteria that leads to bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Oil pulling is the practice of swishing coconut oil around your mouth, similarly to how you would use a mouthwash. To get the best results start with a clean mouth. Brush your teeth then put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, swish it around for about 15 to 20 minutes, and spit it out. Don’t gargle the oil, just gently swish. When you’re done you can rinse your mouth out with water. 

Oil pulling works because the bad bacteria in your mouth dissolves as it gets swept away from the swishing. People tend to choose coconut oil as their oil of choice because of its agreeable taste. Of course, if swishing isn’t your thing — you can always put oil on your toothbrush and brush your teeth.

Toothbrushes in a mason jar

Using Coconut Oil to Whiten Teeth

Now that you know the incredible health benefits of using coconut oil for your teeth, let’s explore how to use it for whiter teeth and a brighter smile. Oil pulling works its wonders two-fold. While the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties are working to clear the mouth of harmful bacteria, they’re simultaneously dissolving plaque buildup in hard to reach places on teeth and gums. A little plaque is totally normal, but a buildup of plaque is the catalyst for most oral health and hygiene issues.

The Bottom Line

Using coconut oil for your teeth can help with oral hygiene, improve dental health, and even whiten your teeth! It’s a simple method that may have major benefits. If you decide to use coconut oil to whiten your teeth or to improve your oral health, make sure you use it alongside a normal hygiene routine. Coconut oil is not meant to replace trusted solutions like brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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