Coconut Oil Pulling Superior to Chemicals for Oral Health

coconut oil pullingBy Sayer Ji

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Swishing your mouth out with coconut oil may be a more effective and safer alternative to chemical mouthwashes, according to new research.

A study has proven for the first time that the oral use of coconut oil is effective in reducing plaque related to gingivitis, a common form of inflammation in the gum tissue of the mouth that occurs in response to bacterial biofilms (known as plaque) adhering to the surfaces of the teeth and which can lead to more serious oral condition known as periodontal disease.

Titled, “Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – a preliminary report“, and published in the Nigerian Medical Journal, researchers decided to test the hypothesis that the increasingly common practice of “oil pulling or oil swishing therapy” today, is as effective for maintaining oral health as has been believed for centuries. Oil pulling, in fact, is a traditional therapy that stretches at least as far back as 1500 years ago, where it was mentioned in the early Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, and which we covered in our article “Oil Pulling: Ancient Secret for Optimal Health.” Yet, traditional oil pulling was believed performed mainly with sesame oil, with available published studies also using sesame seed oil and not coconut.

The new study aimed to fill the data gap on coconut oil:

“No studies have been done on the benefits of oil pulling using coconut oil to date. So a pilot study was planned to assess the effect of coconut oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis.”

The study enrolled 60 subjects between 16-18 years of age with plaque induced gingivitis. No control was used, rather, “the study was designed to compare the baseline values and the post intervention values in a single group performing coconut oil pulling in addition to their oral hygiene routine.” The subjects were measured for plaque and gingival indices at baseline (day 0), and then on days 1, 7, 15, 30 after the oil pulling was started.

The results were reported as follows:

“The mean gingival index was 0.91 and the plaque index was 1.19 at baseline. In comparison to the baseline values both the gingival and the plaque indices substantially reduced during the period of assessment. There was a steady decline in both the plaque index and the gingival index values from day 7. The average gingival index score on day 30 was down to 0.401 (from .91) and the plaque index score was 0.385 (from 1.19)

The results were found to be statistically significant, indicating that coconut oil is an effective treatment for reducing gingivitis symptoms and plaque build-up on the teeth.

Screen Shot 2015-04-05

How does it work?

First, coconut oil is a well-known anti-microbial agent, and may have direct anti-bacterial properties due, in part, to its lauric acid content. Second, oil pulling results in the emulsification of coconut oil which greatly increases its surface area and once formed on the surface of the teeth reduces plaque adhesion and bacterial aggregation, according to the study. Third, coconut oil produces a soap like substance when the saliva mixes with the oil (a process known as saponification). The is also why coconut is used in soap-making. According to the study, “The soaps produced with coconut oil can lather well and have an increased cleansing action. The lauric acid in the coconut oil can easily react with sodium hydroxide in saliva during oil pulling to form sodium laureate, the main constituent of soap which might be responsible for the cleansing action and decreased plaque accumulation.”

Why coconut is better than chemical mouthwashes

The most commonly used active ingredient in mouthwashes are chlorhexidine, phenol (Listerine) and amine/stannous fluoride (Meridol), with chlorhexidine being the most effective at controlling plaque induced gingivitis and inhibiting bacteria. The problem, however, with chemical mouthwashes is that they have significant, even irreversible adverse side effects:

“Chlorhexidine on long term use alters taste sensation and produces brown staining on the teeth which is very difficult to remove. The mucous membranes and the tongue can also be affected and may be related to the precipitation of chromogenic dietary factors on to the teeth and mucous membranes. Staining is also associated with the of long term use of Phenol compound and stannous fluoride containing mouth washes.”

In contradistinction,the researchers noted coconut oil does not appear to carry these side effects:

“In the present study there were no reported alterations in the taste or noticeable staining from coconut oil at the end of 4 weeks.”

The study concluded that “Oil pulling has been proven to be an effective method in reducing plaque formation and plaque induced gingivitis. This preliminary study shows that coconut oil is an easily usable, safe and cost effective agent with minimal side effects which can be used as an adjuvant in oral hygiene maintenance.”

For further research on alternative mouthwashes consult the following research:

The reduction of gingivitis and plaque scores within 30 days.

Further articles by Sayer Ji:

About the author:

Sayer Ji1 Lime Juice Could Save 100s of Thousands of Lives Each Year

Sayer Ji is an author, educator, Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO-Free Coalition (GGFC), advisory board member of the National Health Federation, and the founder of GreenMedInfo.com – an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. His writings have been published and referenced widely in print and online, including Truthout, Mercola.com, The Journal of Gluten Sensitivity, New York Times and The Well Being Journal.

In 1995 Sayer received a BA degree in Philosophy from Rutgers University, where he studied under the American philosopher Dr. Bruce W. Wilshire, with a focus on the philosophy of science. In 1996, following residency at the Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York, he embarked on a 5 year journey of service as a counsellor-teacher and wilderness therapy specialist for various organizations that serve underprivileged and/or adjudicated populations. Since 2003, Sayer has served as a patient advocate and an educator and consultant for the natural health and wellness field.

Visit GreenMedInfo online and on Facebook, or sign up for GreenMedInfo’s e-Newsletter.

 


Wake Up World's latest videos

 

Join Wake Up World's Ever Evolving Social Communities

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google Plus

 

  • Peter

    coconut oil is a wonder food and the carrier oil for the cannabis oil that cures cancer…dead

  • Spencer

    I’ve been oil pulling with coconut oil for the past 16 months every morning before I eat anything. My dentist who I haven’t seen for the past 6 years said that my teeth were in the best shape and that what ever I’ve been doing to keep doing it because its working. Previously I’ve had a lot of problems with my teeth especially plaque build up.