However, there are cases when toothpastes and mouthwashes don’t suffice. When this occurs, one can always turn to natural medicines. Namely, according to a 2012 study by the Athlone Institute of Technology, enzyme-modified coconut oil has the power to suppress harmful bacteria. The study also showed that coconut oil was very beneficial in removing Streptococcus, Candida Albicans, and Strep mutans, known causers of oral health issues.
Dr. Damien Brady, who led the researchers, stated that including enzyme-modified coconut oil to dental hygiene products is a good alternative for chemical additives. Nonetheless, as the study hasn’t yet reached a conclusive level so that it could be included into health products, people use regular coconut oil as a mouthwash. Although unaltered oil might not be as effective as the enzyme-modified one, it’s still very beneficial, without any side effects.
The practice of using coconut oil for the oral health is called oil pulling. It means swishing a tbsp of oil in the mouth cavity for 10 to 20 minutes with the purpose to ‘pull’ as many bacteria as possible from the mouth into the oil. According to Dentistry IQ, this process originates from millennia-old ayurvedic medicine. However, the following explanation is more recent than that:
The ‘skin’ of mouth-residing bacteria cells is made of fat, and as such, these are drawn to the fat within the oil. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which is excellent at shutting down harmful bacteria.
If you want to try out the oil pulling method, you might fail several times until you adjust the amount of oil in the mouth so it can have an actual effect. And, as seen on Dentistry IQ, you need to spit the oil in the trash, not the sink. Also, rinse the mouth thoroughly after the oil pulling to prevent any leftover bacteria from moving into your system when you swallow. It’s important to note that this method is in no way a replacement for regular tooth-brushing