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Does Coconut Oil Whiten Your Teeth?

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If you're interested in natural remedies and organic products, you've probably heard all about the practice of oil pulling. Oil pulling requires you to use a teaspoon or so of an edible oil (usually coconut) to swish around the mouth as a way to care for your teeth. Some claim that coconut oil offers benefits like healthier gums, plaque removal and even whiter teeth. But before you make oil pulling part of your morning routine, it's important to find out whether coconut oil is an effective teeth whitening solution. As it turns out, oil probably won't offer you significant oral benefits. Here's why.

Oil Pulling Origin

The practice of oil pulling dates back hundreds of years in South Asian and Indian medicine. Both cultures consider oil a healthy ingredient for body tissue, and the idea is that, as the oil is swished and pulled through your mouth, it removes germs that can lead to plaque and gum problems. Some claim the practice has led to whiter teeth and decreased sensitivity.

With more and more people seeking natural remedies for a healthier body, oil pulling is one of those remedies that crops up in dental hygiene topics. Natural-living enthusiasts have eagerly picked up the habit of oil pulling, with some swishing oil for up to 30 minutes a day in search of the supposed benefits.

Scientific Proof

The South African Dental Association (SADA) notes that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove oil pulling is beneficial to your oral health at all. Without reliable research and testing, SADA cannot recommend the practice. At best, swishing with oil is ineffective. 

Other Solutions

Why head to the specialty food store for a jar of coconut oil when the best whitening products are found in your pharmacy? Look out for whitening toothpastes that may show results in a few days. If you're looking for an instant solution, talk to your dentist about professional procedures that he or she can complete in-office to get the bright smile you want.

Oil pulling might be popular in some circles, but in the end, its whitening and oral health benefits are untested and unlikely to compare favourably with properly researched methods. If you really want whitening results, rely on the ingredients that have been proven to work and you won't have to add more time and effort to your oral care routine.

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