An interesting phenomenon is taking place with coconut oil and other oils. There is a process called oil pulling, which is like using oil like a mouthwash. So when a person does oil pulling with coconut oil, they are washing out their mouths with coconut oil.
Evidently, it has been used for thousands of years in Indian as a folk remedy, and what is very interesting about it is that it works. The procedure involves putting about a tablespoon of the oil into your mouth and then for ten to twenty minutes swishing it around inside of your mouth.
Almost everyone is aware that there are thousands of different kinds of bacteria in the mouth, some of which are beneficial and some which are harmful. One of the most harmful is the Streptococcus Mutans, which is the main bad guy that causes cavities in our teeth, gingivitis and plaque. Plaque on our teeth is pretty normal, but when the buildup get to be too much, all kinds of problems can ensue. The Streptococcus Mutans is a key bacteria found in the mouth and has a great deal to do with the formation of plaque and tooth decay.
Coconut oil pulling, or pulling with other types such as sesame oil and sunflower oil, works by the bacteria sticking to the oil as you swish, and then they are dissolved in the oil. The final result is that you remove vast amounts of bacteria from the mouth each time that this is done. Coconut oil is a particularly good oil to use because a substance called Lauric Acid in the coconut oil has been found to be very antimicrobial – it will kill bacteria, viruses and fungi.
A 2008 study with 20 boys in their adolescence who used this pulling method showed a sharp reduction of the Streptococcus Mutans in their mouths in as little time as two weeks.
Gingivitis results from the inflammation of the gums when our immune systems begin to attack bacteria that have accumulated in the plaque. So it would give us a double whammy against plaque buildup and the destruction of those bacteria. Another study showed good results with this method in this regard as well.
Halitosis, or bad breath is really the result of gasses and the smell of chemicals that emanate from the bacteria in the mouth. So, it makes a lot of sense that if the bacteria are eliminated, so will be the halitosis. Another study showed that the use of oils and chlorhexidine mouthwash both reduced the bacteria. The only problem with the chlorhexidine mouthwash is that it has been found to be harmful to the teeth, gums and mouth areas with prolonged use, whereas the oils are not.
Coconut oil pulling is very simple to accomplish by simply placing a teaspoon of the oil into your mouth, and then swishing it about inside of your mouth for ten to twenty minutes. Once finished, spit out the oil and brush your teeth. The coconut oil is solid at room temperature and needs to be chewed for a bit to warm it up to a liquid. Coconut oil is fairly tasteless, and it works very well in this process.