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Prevent Tooth Decay With Coconut Oil

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Prevent Tooth Decay With Coconut Oil

3 min read


Coconut oil holds oral benefits too. This article discusses its profits against dental caries and halitosis.

Written by

Dr. Nayansi Jha

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Preetha. J

Published At June 23, 2015
Reviewed AtDecember 28, 2022


Dental caries or tooth decay is a very common problem for adults and children these days. Our food habits are such that they include a wide variety of junk food and super-rich carbohydrates.

Coconut oil has been in use since ancient times for a wide variety of reasons, primarily for good hair growth. However, this oil has its use in dental care also. Traditionally referred to as "oil pulling," the technique requires you to swish the oil inside your mouth for a few minutes and spit it out when it turns milky white. The longer you push and pull the oil in the mouth, the more microbes are released freely.

Coconut oil has an effect on bacteria when used as a mouth rinse or as a natural toothpaste. Streptococcus mutans, a common inhabitant of the human mouth, are responsible for most of the damage and decay of the teeth. Researchers have conducted a series of tests that support the antibacterial qualities of coconut oil against strains of Streptococci.

What Are the Oral Benefits of Coconut Oil?

The Benefits of Coconut Oil include combating the following dental problems:

  • Halitosis (bad breath).

  • Reduces gingivitis (swelling of gums).

  • Makes it easier to use floss between the teeth for the removal of food particles.

How Does Coconut Oil Prevent Oral Issues?

Most microorganisms inhabiting the mouth consist of a single cell. These cells are covered with a lipid (fat) layer which, when comes into contact with oil in the mouth; adheres to it. So, microorganisms get washed away easily.

What Is Oil Pulling Technique?

Swish a teaspoonful of oil for 10 to 20 minutes and spit it when it turns milky white. Do not swallow. You can start with small amounts for a few minutes (around 5 minutes) initially and then increase the time gradually. There are no side effects. Coconut oil pulling is recommended three to four times per week for best results.

How to Do Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling should be done in the following steps:

  • Oil pulling is the first thing to be done in the morning, immediately getting out of bed and before brushing the teeth or consuming anything.

  • Gently swish one tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth so that it also goes between the teeth for 10 to 15 minutes. Assure that you do not swallow even its minimum quantity. Care should also be taken to do it gently so that your jaw and cheeks are not damaged.

  • Spit out the oil in the trash can and not in the sink so that clogging of the sink hole does not occur, and quickly rinse your mouth with warm water. Saline water can also be used for its antimicrobial effects.

  • Lastly, brush your teeth as you normally do.

Can Coconut Oil Treat Dental Cavities?

Oil pulling with coconut oil is neither a treatment for dental cavities nor can be a substitute for brushing, flossing, or professional teeth cleanings. However, oil pulling carries several other potential benefits. It can help in decreasing the number of microorganisms in the mouth. It can prevent the deposition of plaque and can even avoid bad breath in the mouth.

Coconut oil contains a substantial amount of lauric acid, which is known to be highly effective in killing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Studies claimed that lauric acid is particularly effective against microorganisms that are primarily responsible for decaying teeth. So, swishing with coconut oil can help in making the teeth less vulnerable to dental cavities, and it can protect the person from tooth loss.

How Can Coconut Oil Reduce Plaque?

When bacterial concentration in the mouth increases, they form a biofilm known as plaque. It gets hardened with time and gets converted into ‘tartar,’ which is more difficult to get removed from teeth surfaces through regular brushing. Swishing with coconut oil makes it harder for the plaque to deposit on the teeth and prevents tartar growth. As plaque and tartar are the main causes of gum diseases, oil pulling with coconut oil can aid in keeping the mouth healthy. For those who are prone to gingivitis, swishing with coconut oil may assist in reducing gum inflammation and tartar accumulation in them.

How Does Coconut Oil Prevent Bad Breath?

Though bad breath has many potential causes, it occurs primarily due to plaque and tartar buildup. Swishing with coconut oil regularly prevents the deposition of these substances and keeps the breath fresh. Good oral hygiene prevents bad breath. Besides improving the overall oral health, oil pulling also aids in decreasing certain adverse effects of bacterial accumulation on the teeth.

What Are the Other Benefits of Coconut Oil?

Apart from the oral advantages, coconut oil also possesses certain other benefits. They are as follows:

  • It balances hormones.

  • It fights against candida.

  • It improves digestion.

  • It moisturizes the skin.

  • It reduces cellulite.

  • It decreases wrinkles and age spots.

  • Balance blood sugar and improve energy

  • It increases HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels and decreases LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.

Due to its highly absorbable nature, most of its benefits can be simply experienced by oil pulling.


Using the appropriate coconut oil pulling solution should be an essential part of the home oral hygiene regimen, to ensure good oral health to you. Be careful about using unrefined coconut oil, and make sure there are no additives in it. Unrefined coconut oil means pure, natural coconut oil that does not carry any deleterious artificial substances. As learned above, oil pulling with coconut oil is a simple procedure with highly effective outcomes. If 10 to 20 minutes looks like too long, then you can simply carry out oil pulling while taking shower or when you drive to work in the morning. You can even perform it while doing work in the house and roaming around the place to help pass the time.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can Coconut Oil Be Used to Brush Teeth?

For ages, people have used coconut oil to effectively maintain their oral hygiene. Patients can dramatically enhance their general health by swishing coconut oil in their mouths for a few minutes each day, in addition to using it to brush their teeth. Oil pulling, which involves swishing with oil to remove bacteria from the teeth, can help clear the mouth from toxins and other contaminants.


Can Coconut Oil Whiten the Teeth?

In reality, coconut oil has no teeth-whitening powers, but when people apply it to their teeth, they start to pay more attention to their dental hygiene, carefully inspecting their teeth and gums, and brushing more frequently, which results in whiter teeth and healthier gums.


Can Someone Oil Pull Every Day?

Oil pulling can be performed up to three times daily or a few times per week before brushing teeth in the morning on an empty stomach.


Can Toothpaste Be Replaced With Coconut Oil?

The use of coconut oil has several health benefits for the body, including healthier skin and hair. It can also be used in place of toothpaste when combined with baking soda. To keep the teeth clean, other oils like sesame and sunflower can also be used.


Can Toothpaste and Coconut Oil Be Combined?

Coconut oil toothpaste has similar health advantages to oil pulling, but it is far more palatable and convenient. Coconut oil draws microorganisms when people brush, and the bacteria comes out as they spit out the toothpaste. Additionally, a natural moisturizer, coconut oil keeps the tongue moist.


Can Oil Pulling Reverse Cavities?

Regular trips to the dentist are indeed necessary because oil pulling cannot stop already-present tooth cavities. It has been asserted that it can treat systemic disorders and improve systemic health and mouth cleanliness.


What Time of Day Is Ideal for Coconut Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling should ideally be done on an empty stomach before brushing the teeth in the morning. Oil should never be consumed. The oil used in oil pulling should not be swallowed since it contains poisons and microorganisms.


Does Oil Pulling Require Rinsing?

The oil-pulling procedure is as follows-
- Swish one tablespoon of oil in the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes before spitting it out. 
- Before consuming anything, thoroughly rinse the mouth with water.
- Avoid spitting it into the toilet or sink as this may result in an oil accumulation and clogs.


Can Coconut Oil Dissolve Plaque?

Oil pulling is a successful treatment for lowering plaque production and gingivitis caused by plaque. Coconut oil can be used as an adjuvant in maintaining dental hygiene because it is readily available, safe, and affordable with few adverse effects.


Can Someone Over-Pull the Oil?

Although 20 minutes spent swishing oil in the mouth will not hurt anyone, it might make face muscles a little sore or tired. To avoid that, one must avoid using too much oil and avoid swishing too vigorously because doing so will make it harder to keep the lips tight together.


Do Dentists Advise Oil Swishing?

There is no solid scientific evidence that oil pulling significantly eliminates toxins and bacteria from the body or mouth or even improves general or oral health. The ADA (American Dental Association) does not advise it as a dental hygiene practice because it is not a proven way to prevent cavities or whiten teeth.


How Quickly Will Oil Pulling Produce Results?

Oil-pulling proponents assert that when done correctly and consistently, users begin to notice effects including decreased plaque, cavity prevention, and stronger gums in two months to three months. Additionally, some users assert that oil pulling helped them get their teeth's stains out.


Can Oil Pulling Help Prevent Root Canal Treatment?

A toothache or infection cannot be cured by oil pulling. All claims that it stops tooth decay so that people would not need a filling or a root canal are untrue. One must visit a dentist if they have a dental issue.
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Dr. Nayansi Jha
Dr. Nayansi Jha



dental carieshalitosis
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