How Can Coconut Help Your Oral Health?
In natural health circles, people are quick to praise the effects of coconut oil as well as lauric acid, the natural acid it contains. While coconut might not be the miracle food people often make it out to be, there are studies that show that it may have some benefits when it comes to whole mouth health.
One study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal involved 60 students from the ages of 16 to 18, all of whom had plaque-induced gingivitis. Over the study period, the students added oil pulling to their current oral care routine (brushing twice a day and flossing once daily). Participants were evaluated over the course of the study and demonstrated a decrease in plaque and gingivitis starting from the seventh day. The study highlighted lauric acid's antimicrobial effects and concluded that coconut oil was "an easily usable, safe and cost-effective agent with minimal side effects which can be used as an adjuvant in oral hygiene maintenance."
Another review from the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine examined multiple studies that featured the use of coconut oil and oil pulling. (A few of the studies used a different type of oil like sesame or olive.) The review concluded that the use of coconut oil may improve oral hygiene, as long as the coconut oil is used as an additional therapy and not as a replacement for dental care.
If you're interested in the health benefits of coconut, the thing to keep in mind is that it can be helpful to use it in addition to, not instead of, your current oral care routine.