How to Use Coconut Oil for Healthy Gums and Teeth

By Kayla McDonell, RD (Registered Dietician) | Courtesy of Authority Nutrition

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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II *************************************

Coconut oil has been getting a lot of attention lately, and for good reason.

It’s linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss.

There have also been claims that it can clean and whiten your teeth, while helping to prevent tooth decay.

This article examines the latest research on coconut oil, your dental health and teeth.

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from coconut meat, and is one of the world’s richest sources of saturated fat.

However, coconut fat is unique because it is made almost entirely of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

MCTs are metabolized differently than the long-chain fatty acids found in most other foods, and have many potential health benefits.

Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid that makes up almost 50% of coconut oil. In fact, this oil is the richest source of lauric acid known to man.

Your body breaks lauric acid down into a compound called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses in the body.

According to research, lauric acid is more effective at killing these pathogens than any other saturated fatty acid (1).

What’s more, studies suggest that many of the health benefits associated with coconut oil are directly caused by lauric acid (2).

The most popular ways to use coconut oil for your teeth are using it in a process called “oil pulling,” or making toothpaste with it. Both are explained later in the article.

Bottom Line: Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the meat of coconuts. It is high in lauric acid, which has been known to kill harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses in the body.

Lauric Acid Can Kill Harmful Mouth Bacteria

 

One study tested 30 different fatty acids and compared their ability to fight bacteria.

Of all the fatty acids, lauric acid was the most effective (3).

Lauric acid attacks harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease (4).

It is particularly effective at killing an oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, which is a leading cause of tooth decay.

Bottom Line: The lauric acid in coconut oil attacks harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.

It Can Reduce Plaque and Fight Gum Disease

 

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, involves inflammation of the gums.

The main cause of gum disease is the buildup of dental plaque due to harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Current research shows that coconut oil can decrease plaque buildup on your teeth and fight gum disease.

In one study, oil pulling with coconut oil significantly decreased plaque buildup and signs of gingivitis in 60 participants with plaque-induced gum disease (5).

What’s more, a significant decrease in plaque was noticed after just 7 days of oil-pulling, and plaque continued to decrease over the 30-day study period.

After 30 days, the average plaque score decreased by 68% and the average gingivitis score decreased by 56%. This is a major decrease in both plaque and gum inflammation.

Bottom Line: Oil pulling with coconut oil helps decrease plaque buildup by attacking harmful mouth bacteria. It can also help fight gum disease.

It Can Prevent Tooth Decay and Loss

Coconut oil attacks Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus, which are the two groups of bacteria primarily responsible for tooth decay (6).

Several studies suggest that coconut oil can reduce these bacteria as effectively as chlorhexidine, which is the active ingredient used in many mouth rinses.

For these reasons, coconut oil can help prevent tooth decay and loss.

Bottom Line: Coconut oil attacks the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. Studies have shown that it can be as effective as some mouth rinses.

How to Oil Pull With Coconut Oil

 

Oil pulling is a growing trend, but it’s not a new concept.

In fact, the practice of oil pulling started in India thousands of years ago.

Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes and then spitting it out. In other words, it’s like using oil as a mouthwash.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth.
  • Swish the oil around for 15–20 minutes, pushing and pulling it between teeth.
  • Spit out the oil (into the trash or toilet, since it can clog sink pipes).
  • Brush your teeth.

The fatty acids in the oil attract and trap bacteria so each time you oil pull, you are removing harmful bacteria and plaque from your mouth.

It’s best to do this right away in the morning, before you eat or drink anything.

Bottom Line: Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes and then spitting it out. It removes harmful bacteria and plaque.

Homemade Toothpaste with Coconut Oil

 

Coconut oil has many uses, and you can also make your own toothpaste with it.

Here is a simple recipe:

Ingredients

  • 0.5 cup coconut oil.
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda.
  • 10–20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil.

Directions

  1. Heat the coconut oil until it becomes soft or liquid.
  2. Stir in the baking soda and mix until it forms a paste-like consistency.
  3. Add the essential oil.
  4. Store toothpaste in a sealed container.

To use, scoop it with a small utensil or toothbrush. Brush for 2 minutes, then rinse.

Bottom Line: In addition to oil pulling, you can make your own toothpaste using coconut oil, baking soda and essential oil.

Take Home Message

Coconut oil attacks the harmful bacteria in your mouth.

It can reduce plaque buildup, prevent tooth decay and fight gum disease.

For these reasons, oil pulling or brushing your teeth with coconut oil can significantly improve oral and dental health.

This nutrition article is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, providing joint relief, better hair and nails, and more energy.

Article source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-teeth

 

Ten Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Woman Holding a Cracked CoconutCoconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”

Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health.

This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits.

Here are 10 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil.

1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated (1).

However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth (2).

Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak.

No, they contain so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.

Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.

They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies (substances produced during the metabolism of fats), which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

Bottom Line: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.

2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy

Girl Eating Coconut

Coconut is kind of an “exotic” food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.

However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.

The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.

They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.

These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease (3).

Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans (an island near Australia)..

Bottom Line: Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.

3. Coconut Oil Can Help You Burn More Fat

Coconuts

Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world.

While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are critical too.

It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is NOT a calorie.

The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats (5).

One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day.

Bottom Line: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.

4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms

Running Away From Pathogens

Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is Lauric Acid.

When coconut oil is digested by enzymes, it also forms a type of fat called monolaurin.

Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi (8).

For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans (10).

Bottom Line: The fatty acids and breakdown products in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.

5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less

Man Drinking From Coconut

One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger.

This may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, because ketone bodies (substances produced during the metabolism of fats) can have an appetite reducing effect.

In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.

The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average.

Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch (13).

These studies were small and only done for a short period of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight over a period of several years.

Bottom Line: The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.

6. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Are Turned into Ketones, Which Can Reduce Seizures

Open Coconut

A so-called ketogenic (very low carb, very high fat) diet is currrently being studied to treat various disorders.

The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children.

This diet involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood.

For some reason, this diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.

Because the MCTs in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet (16).

Bottom Line: The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.

7. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels

Cracked Coconut

Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought.

Saturated fats raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and change the LDL (bad) cholesterol to a benign form.

In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil.

There are also rat studies showing that coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol, increases HDL and improves blood coagulation factors and antioxidant status.

This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.

Bottom Line: Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.

8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen

Cracked Coconut With Peels

Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it.

Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.

Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin (22).

Coconut oil can also be very protective against hair damage and one study shows effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Another application is using it like mouthwash in a process called oil pulling, which can kill some of the harmful bacteria in the mouth, improve dental health and reduce bad breath (26).

Bottom Line: Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as mouthwash.

9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

Doctor With Thumbs Up

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.

In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.

Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s.

Other studies support these findings and medium chain triglycerides are being intensively studied as potential therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease (31).

Bottom Line: Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.

10. Coconut Oil Can Help You Lose Fat, Especially The Harmful Abdominal Fat

A man who needs to lose weight

Given that coconut oil can reduce appetite and increase fat burning, it makes sense that it can also help you lose weight.

Coconut oil appears to be especially effective in reducing abdominal fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs.

This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many Western diseases.

Waist circumference is easily measured and is a great marker for the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.

In a study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, supplementing with 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day led to a significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in a period of 12 weeks (19).

Another study in 20 obese males noted a reduction in waist circumference of 2.86 cm (1.1 inches) after 4 weeks of 30 mL (1 ounce) of coconut oil per day.

This number may not seem too impressive on the surface, but be aware that these people aren’t adding exercise or restricting calories. They’re losing significant amounts of abdominal fat simply by adding coconut oil to their diet.

11. Anything Else?

In order to enjoy the health benefits outlined in the article, then you must get organic, virgin coconut oil… NOT the refined stuff.

I personally cook almost everything I eat in coconut oil and my health has never been better.

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This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.

Article Source: https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/