Can You Brush Your Teeth with Coconut Oil? What Experts Say

Introduction Exploring natural alternatives for oral hygiene has led to a resurgence of interest in the use of coconut oil for dental care. With its high lauric acid content, coconut oil is celebrated for its …

can you brush your teeth with coconut oil


Exploring natural alternatives for oral hygiene has led to a resurgence of interest in the use of coconut oil for dental care. With its high lauric acid content, coconut oil is celebrated for its potential antimicrobial properties that could enhance oral health.

The practice of oil pulling, a traditional Indian folk remedy, has gained traction as a method to potentially combat harmful bacteria in the mouth, such as Streptococcus mutans, which is known to cause tooth decay.

As consumers become more conscious of the chemicals present in everyday products, the appeal of coconut oil as a natural, chemical-free option for oral care is on the rise.


While the dental community continues to discuss the efficacy of coconut oil in oral hygiene routines, it’s important to consider both the potential benefits and limitations of this approach.

This includes understanding how coconut oil might help in reducing plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath, as well as recognizing the need for more comprehensive clinical trials to substantiate these claims.

In this post, we will delve into the various aspects of using coconut oil for dental health, providing insights into its application, benefits, and possible drawbacks.

Potential benefits of brushing teeth with coconut oil

Antibacterial properties

One of the most compelling reasons to consider coconut oil for dental care is its antibacterial properties. The lauric acid found in coconut oil is known to be effective against a variety of harmful microorganisms. This includes the notorious Streptococcus mutans, a primary culprit in tooth decay and plaque formation.

Studies have shown that coconut oil can significantly reduce the presence of this bacteria in the mouth, offering a natural way to bolster oral health and prevent dental issues before they arise. The mechanism behind this is the ability of lauric acid to disrupt the bacterial cell membrane, leading to bacterial death.

Moreover, the regular use of coconut oil in oral hygiene can contribute to a healthier oral microbiome. By targeting harmful bacteria while maintaining a balanced environment in the mouth, coconut oil can help in maintaining fresh breath and reducing the likelihood of dental infections.

It’s a gentle yet potent approach to oral care that aligns with the growing preference for natural health products. For those interested in the scientific backing of these benefits, further details can be found in a study highlighting the reduction of Streptococcus mutans with the use of coconut oil here.

Reduction of plaque and gingivitis

 Potential benefits of brushing teeth with coconut oil

Brushing with coconut oil not only targets harmful bacteria but also plays a significant role in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Plaque, a sticky biofilm on teeth, can lead to cavities and gum disease if not managed properly.

Coconut oil’s unique fatty acids, particularly lauric acid, have been shown to effectively combat plaque buildup. In a study where participants practiced oil pulling with coconut oil, a marked decrease in plaque formation was observed, with an impressive 68% reduction in plaque scores reported.

This suggests that incorporating coconut oil into your oral hygiene routine could be beneficial in maintaining a cleaner and healthier mouth.

Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil contribute to its effectiveness against gingivitis, a common form of gum disease. By reducing inflammation and combating the bacteria that contribute to gum irritation, coconut oil can help soothe and protect the gums.

Clinical trials have demonstrated significant reductions in gingivitis markers following consistent oil pulling with coconut oil, reinforcing its potential as a supportive measure for gum health.

For a deeper understanding of these findings, additional information on the impact of coconut oil on gingivitis can be found in a related study here.

Possible drawbacks of using coconut oil for brushing teeth

 Possible drawbacks of using coconut oil for brushing teeth

Potential for oil buildup

While the antibacterial and plaque-reducing benefits of coconut oil are clear, it’s important to address the potential for oil buildup when using it for dental care. Overuse of coconut oil can lead to an excessive accumulation of oil in the mouth, which may not be easily rinsed away by saliva.

This can create a film on the teeth and gums that traps bacteria, potentially leading to increased plaque formation and even tooth decay. The high fat content in coconut oil could inadvertently feed oral bacteria, especially when combined with sugar intake, heightening the risk of dental caries as noted in a report here.

Additionally, the practice of oil pulling or brushing with coconut oil should be done with caution to avoid the rare but serious risk of lipoid pneumonia, which can occur if the oil is accidentally inhaled into the lungs. It’s crucial to spit out the oil thoroughly after use and to be mindful of any allergic reactions, as coconut allergies, though uncommon, can have severe consequences.

To minimize these risks and prevent oil buildup, it’s recommended to limit the use of coconut oil in oral hygiene to a moderate frequency, ensuring it complements rather than replaces traditional brushing and flossing routines.

Effectiveness compared to traditional toothpaste

When considering the effectiveness of coconut oil as an alternative to traditional toothpaste, it’s essential to weigh both its merits and limitations. While coconut oil offers natural antibacterial properties and may help in reducing plaque and gingivitis, it does not contain fluoride, a key ingredient in many toothpastes that helps to prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. The American Dental

Association endorses fluoride toothpaste as an effective defense against cavities, and without it, those who exclusively use coconut oil might miss out on this protective benefit. For a comprehensive view on fluoride’s role in dental health, further insights can be found here.

Moreover, the texture and cleaning action of traditional toothpaste are specifically designed to remove food particles and stains, which may not be as efficiently achieved with coconut oil alone. While coconut oil can be a beneficial supplement to oral hygiene, experts generally recommend it as part of a broader dental care regimen rather than a complete substitute for conventional toothpaste.

It’s important to consult with a dental professional to determine the most effective and safe oral care routine tailored to individual needs. For expert opinions on the use of coconut oil in dental care, additional perspectives can be explored here.

How to brush your teeth with coconut oil

Oil pulling method

Transitioning from the potential drawbacks of coconut oil use in oral care, let’s delve into the oil pulling method, a traditional practice that has gained popularity as a natural way to enhance dental hygiene.

Oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth for 15-20 minutes, which can be done while showering or preparing for the day.

This technique is believed to “pull” bacteria and toxins from the mouth, thereby reducing plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath. It’s important to perform oil pulling on an empty stomach and to ensure the oil is spat out into the trash to prevent plumbing issues.

For those interested in the specifics of how oil pulling can improve dental health, a detailed explanation is available here.

While oil pulling with coconut oil is a simple and potentially beneficial addition to oral hygiene routines, it should not replace traditional brushing and flossing. The process is straightforward: place a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth, swish it gently to avoid jaw discomfort, and after the allotted time, dispose of the oil properly.

This method has been shown to significantly reduce the presence of harmful bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, known for contributing to plaque buildup and tooth decay.

To explore the effectiveness of coconut oil in reducing oral bacteria, further information can be found here.

Coconut oil toothpaste recipe

how to make coconut toothpaste

For those seeking a more traditional brushing experience with the benefits of coconut oil, creating a homemade coconut oil toothpaste is a practical solution.

To make your own, simply mix equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda, then add a few drops of peppermint essential oil for a fresh taste.

This concoction leverages the antibacterial properties of coconut oil, the gentle abrasive quality of baking soda for cleaning, and the refreshing scent of peppermint for fresh breath.

Remember, while this homemade toothpaste can help in maintaining oral hygiene, it’s still recommended to use it in conjunction with fluoride toothpaste to ensure comprehensive dental care.

Using this DIY coconut oil toothpaste is straightforward: apply a small amount to your toothbrush and brush as you would with any commercial toothpaste.

The coconut oil works to soften plaque and tartar, making them easier to brush away, while the baking soda helps to naturally whiten your teeth. For those interested in the benefits of natural toothpaste alternatives and how to incorporate them into your oral care routine, additional insights can be found here.

As with any homemade dental product, it’s wise to discuss its use with your dentist to ensure it’s suitable for your individual oral health needs.

Other uses for coconut oil in oral hygiene

Beyond brushing and oil pulling, coconut oil has several other applications in oral hygiene. It can be used as a soothing balm for dry or cracked lips, providing a natural alternative to commercial lip products.

Additionally, coconut oil can be gently rubbed on the gums to help soothe inflammation and may assist in the healing of minor oral irritations or sores. Its versatility and natural antibacterial properties make it a multifaceted component of any dental care regimen.

Moreover, coconut oil can be a key ingredient in homemade mouthwash recipes, offering a chemical-free rinse option that can help to freshen breath and combat bacteria.

To create your own mouthwash, simply mix coconut oil with a bit of warm water and a few drops of essential oils like tea tree or peppermint for added antimicrobial benefits.

This natural mouthwash can be a complementary practice to your regular oral hygiene routine, providing a holistic approach to maintaining a healthy mouth.


In conclusion, while the practice of using coconut oil for oral hygiene, including brushing teeth and oil pulling, is not a complete substitute for traditional dental care products, it does offer a natural and potentially beneficial alternative.

The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil may contribute to a healthier oral environment, reducing bacteria and plaque that can lead to common dental issues. However, it’s important to approach this method as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, your established oral care routine, and to consult with dental professionals regarding its suitability for your specific needs.

Embracing coconut oil as part of your oral hygiene can be a refreshing addition to your regimen. Whether you’re making your own toothpaste, engaging in oil pulling, or exploring other coconut oil applications, remember that maintaining a balance of natural and traditional dental care practices is key to achieving optimal oral health.

For those interested in integrating coconut oil into their dental routine, further information and guidance can be found through reputable sources and by speaking with your dentist.



  • Is coconut oil good to brush your teeth?

    Coconut oil naturally fights bacteria, and destroys bacteria that causes cavities. Whether you use coconut oil toothpaste, or coconut oil pulling, the ingredient itself does the work. The enzymes in coconut oil attach themselves to the bacteria on your teeth, and pull them off.

  • Can you use coconut oil as a toothpaste?

    Coconut oil toothpaste is safe to use, but it should not replace your regular toothpaste unless it also contains fluoride. Coconut oil pulling has become increasingly popular in the United States, and medical studies support it having some antimicrobial properties that can help your oral health.

  • Can you whiten teeth with coconut oil?

    Remember, coconut oil on its own doesn’t whiten teeth. It can, however, make them appear temporarily brighter. With that in mind, if you’d still like to add coconut oil to your oral care routine, Patterson says that it’s fine to do so as long as you’re not allergic to the ingredient.

  • Do you rinse teeth after coconut oil pulling?

    Oil pulling is done every morning on an empty stomach. Place a tablespoon of edible oil (typically sesame or coconut) in your mouth and swish it vigorously through your teeth for about 3 to 20 minutes while keeping your mouth closed. After you’re done, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with warm water.

Originally posted 2023-12-08 09:28:30.

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