With the abundance of coconuts here in the Philippines, it's considered to be "the tree of life". Each part of the tree can be used, you can drink the water, eat the meat, and use the rest of the tree for constructing a bahay kubo (nipa hut). Another popular use for the coconut tree is to make coconut oil. Coconut oil has become a household staple in recent years for its numerous benefits: as a "healthy fat" for cooking, as a personal care product, and for its oral health potential. Coconut toothpaste and other oral care products are on the market, and there's been renewed interest in the ancient practice of oil pulling, often using coconut oil. But should you jump on the buko bandwagon? Read on—we've got the research right here for you.
Should You Try Coconut Toothpaste?
Followers of natural health remedies are quick to praise coconut oil as a superfood. While it's not as miraculous as some may say, the good news is, studies show that coconut oil may have benefits for your whole mouth's health.
According to a research study published, coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCF) such as lauric acid, caproic acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid, and stearic acid in the Journal of Health Research and Reviews in Developing Countries. Lauric acid, the primary fatty acid found in coconut oil, has antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. As of this writing, there aren't many recent studies on using coconut oil for oral health—but what studies we have seen so far show promising results.
Coconut oil is effective in reducing oral microbial load, decreasing plaque and gingival indices, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Another good thing about oil pulling using coconut oil is that it's an affordable, safe, and readily available oral hygiene maintenance method.
Keep in mind that coconut oil pulling should be used in addition to your regular oral care routine—it doesn't replace brushing your teeth, flossing, or any of those essential everyday steps to keep your smile healthy.
While do-it-yourself recipes for making your toothpaste abound on the internet, you'll be missing out on essential ingredients like fluoride, a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the risk of dental decay. So it is possible to make your toothpaste at home, using ingredients such as baking soda, bentonite clay, and peppermint or citrus essential oils. But we don't recommend it.
You can get the benefits of coconut oil toothpaste without doing it yourself—or without missing the benefits of fluoride. You can easily find kinds of toothpaste containing coconut oil in stores or online. Talk to your dentist for recommendations of the best type of coconut toothpaste, mouthwash, and other oral care products to help you reach your oral care goals. With the right products and routine, you'll be on your way to whiter teeth, fresher breath, and healthier teeth and gums.