February 27, 2016
Brushing Teeth with Coconut Oil
The Athlone Institute of Technology recently conducted a study comparing the effects of traditional toothpaste with coconut oil. The findings of this study are significant since it found that coconut oil effectively inhibited some of the most common strains of bacteria found in the mouth as well as reducing harmful candida albicans. This is a type of yeast that can cause damage to the teeth, mouth and gums. This indicates it might be time to switch out conventional toothpastes and start using coconut oil to improve your oral health. There can be some very real advantages to using this natural alternative for brushing your teeth.
What’s wrong with my toothpaste?
Most people, especially in the US, have used toothpaste as part of their oral hygiene regimen for as long as they can remember. Many don’t even think about there possibly being something wrong with toothpaste, it’s an “essential” they pick up at the store on a monthly basis. But more recently there have been some indications that what we thought was so good for us, actually isn’t. There are several ingredients in conventional toothpaste that may be deemed harmful including:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – This ingredient is a cleansing agent, or a detergent. It can stay in the body for several days and accumulate in major organs.
- Triclosan – Used for its anti-bacterial properties, it can post risks to both humans and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a pesticide.
- DEA – DEA is in foaming products like toothpaste. It is thought to disrupt hormone balance and form nitrates which can lead to some form of cancers.
- Propylene Glycol – This is an active component in anti-freeze.
These are the leading ingredients found in the typical toothpaste sold on shelves everywhere. All of them may not be present in every brand of toothpaste, but as a general rule, most of them are. Perhaps, brushing your teeth with coconut oil has some benefits?
Reasons to Start Using Coconut Oil to Brush Your Teeth
First, let me say that we do NOT recommend that most people abandon their fluoride toothpaste in favor of coconut oil. The reality is that while there are questionable ingredients making their way into toothpastes, fluoride has been shown overwhelmingly in numerous studies to be a critical component in oral health. It strengthens teeth and also has anti-microbial effects. However, proper dental care includes brushing your teeth 2 to 3 times per day, which means that swapping out your toothpaste for one of those times each day, could yield some of the additional benefits:
- No Chemicals or Additives – Conventional toothpastes contain extra chemicals and ingredients that may cause canker sores, or allergic reactions.
- Fights Bacteria – Research indicates coconut oil can reduce instances of gingivitis as well as prevent plaque buildup.
- Reduces Halitosis - Most cases of bad breath are caused by bacteria, by reducing bacteria in the mouth, coconut oil based toothpaste helps prevent it.
- Inexpensive – It takes a small amount of coconut oil toothpaste to be effective making a small container last a long time.
- Lipid Balance – Brushing with coconut oil helps restore and retain the natural balance of lipids.
- Whiter Teeth – Coconut oil makes your teeth whiter, especially when used regularly over time.
- Reduce Yeast – By reducing the amount of yeast in the mouth, it helps the mouth fend off many dental problems.
Make Your Own Coconut Oil Toothpaste
It’s very easy to make your own toothpaste using coconut oil. Simply mix these ingredients together and then use just like store bought toothpaste. It’s all natural and chemical free!
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 2-3 TBL baking soda
- 25-30 drops of essential oil (peppermint, lemon, thieves)
Some recipes recommend melting the oil first so the ingredients blend together more easily. But this step is not necessary as long as you are pleased with the texture of the toothpaste. Either way, you are making your own all natural, chemical free toothpaste.
The essential oils are mostly for flavor, but they also carry many health benefits. You can choose your preference when it comes to flavor, but make sure it is high quality, consumable essential oil. The amount of drops you actually add can be adjusted to your flavor and strength preferences. It is suggested to use as many as 30 drops of essential oil in the toothpaste; but this actual amount will depend on your individual taste preferences.
Making your own coconut oil toothpaste only takes a few minutes and may provide some additional health benefits that your current toothpaste does not. It’s less expensive than toothpaste and just as easy to use. Just incorporate it into your normal daily oral health routine and see what a difference it can make.