Does coconut oil whiten teeth?

Does coconut oil whiten teeth? 1

Over 3 million people search for teeth whitening solutions every month. A bright, white smile is associated with beauty, health, and confidence. But pricey professional treatments or harsh over-the-counter whitening products deter many people from whitening their teeth.

This has prompted growing interest in natural teeth whitening methods. Coconut oil, in particular, has emerged as a popular option. But does coconut oil actually whiten teeth? How does it work? And is it safe?

This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about using coconut oil for natural teeth whitening in 2023.

What Causes Teeth to Become Stained and Discolored?

Before learning about how to whiten teeth with coconut oil, it helps to understand what causes tooth stains and discoloration in the first place. There are two main categories of stains:

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains affect the outer enamel layer of teeth. Common causes include:

  • Food and Drinks: Coffee, tea, red wine, dark berries, tomato sauce, and more can deeply stain teeth.
  • Tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco leaves yellowish to brown stains.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Not brushing and flossing thoroughly allows plaque and tartar buildup that stains teeth.
  • Medications: Some prescription medicines like tetracycline antibiotics can discolor teeth.
  • Fluorosis: Overexposure to fluoride during childhood causes white specks and streaks.

The good news is extrinsic stains only affect the surface of teeth, so they can be removed or lightened with some effort.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains occur beneath the enamel within the inner dentin layer of teeth. Causes include:

  • Genetics: Some people are just born with naturally yellowish or greyish teeth.
  • Aging: As you get older, the inner dentin gradually darkens and shows through the enamel.
  • Injury or Trauma: A mouth or tooth injury as a child can cause internal discoloration of adult teeth later on.
  • Illness While Young: Certain childhood illnesses like jaundice can permanently affect developing tooth color.
  • Medications: High doses of tetracycline antibiotics during youth impact teeth later on.
  • Fluorosis: Ingesting too much fluoride while teeth are still forming internally discolors them.
  • Tooth Decay: Cavities allow stains deeper into the dentin.

Intrinsic stains are harder to remove since they originate underneath the enamel. But consistent use of coconut oil may help lighten these stains somewhat. Professional whitening is often required for dramatic changes though.

How Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth? The Science Explained

Coconut oil itself does not contain any bleaching agents. So how does it whiten teeth? There are a few active components in coconut oil that provide natural teeth whitening abilities:

Lauric Acid

Coconut oil contains a high concentration of lauric acid – around 50% of its fat composition. When metabolized into monolaurin, lauric acid has antimicrobial and disinfectant properties.

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Monolaurin helps kill harmful oral bacteria that contribute to plaque buildup and indirectly cause stains. This creates a clean, healthy environment for whiter teeth.

Caprylic Acid

Present in smaller amounts around 8%, caprylic acid has mild antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits. This further removes unhealthy bacteria from the mouth.

Some research also shows caprylic acid can actively break down and penetrate plaque, helping gently lift and dissolve stains away.

Vitamin E

A fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E protects teeth enamel against oxidative damage and decay. Vitamin E in coconut oil may help block extrinsic stains from setting deeply into enamel.

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)

The main MCT in coconut oil, lauric acid, has surfactant properties allowing it to penetrate and break down residue. Other MCTs like capric acid have a cleansing effect that lifts surface stains.

In summary, the combination of lauric acid, caprylic acid, vitamin E, and MCTs gives coconut oil mild but effective teeth whitening abilities. It works to gently lift surface stains, kill bacteria, and protect enamel simultaneously.

Proven Methods to Whiten Your Teeth with Coconut Oil

Ready to use coconut oil to naturally whiten your teeth? Here are the top methods recommended by dentists and dental hygienists:

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1. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic oral health practice that has grown in popularity. It involves swishing oil around your mouth for up to 20 minutes to draw out toxins. Coconut oil is the preferred choice due to its affordability and oral health benefits.

Here is a simple coconut oil pulling routine to whiten your teeth:

  • Scoop around 1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil into your mouth first thing in the morning before eating or drinking.
  • Push, pull, and suck the oil through your teeth for 10-20 minutes. Do not gargle or swallow the oil.
  • The oil will become thinner and milky colored as it mixes with saliva.
  • After 10-20 minutes, spit the oil into the trash. Avoid spitting down drains which could clog them.
  • Rinse your mouth out with warm water until the slippery, oily feeling dissipates.
  • Brush your teeth as normal.

Aim to oil pull with coconut oil ideally for 10-20 minutes daily. But even just 5 minutes can provide benefits. The coconut oil will gradually draw out stains over time for noticeably whiter teeth.

2. Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Another easy method is making your own toothpaste with coconut oil for daily brushing:

  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • For flavor, add 2-5 drops of peppermint, spearmint, or cinnamon essential oil.
  • Scoop the coconut oil toothpaste onto your toothbrush and brush teeth gently yet thoroughly for 2 minutes.
  • Rinse mouth with water when finished.

The coconut oil serves as a detergent to lift and dissolve stains. The baking soda works as a mild abrasive to gently scrub away residue without damaging enamel. Brushing with this coconut oil toothpaste 1-2 times daily will naturally whiten and polish teeth.

3. Coconut Oil Rinse

A coconut oil rinse paired with brushing can further boost teeth whitening results:

  • Brush your teeth as normal using your regular toothpaste.
  • Scoop around 1 tsp of coconut oil into your mouth and swish for 1-2 minutes, pulling it through teeth.
  • Spit out the coconut oil.
  • Rinse mouth thoroughly with warm water.

The rinse allows the coconut oil to penetrate and act on stains after brushing has lifted plaque. Do this daily after brushing.

4. Coconut Oil and Baking Soda Paste

For weekly deep cleaning, make a coconut oil and baking soda paste:

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil with 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a small bowl.
  • Scoop some paste onto your toothbrush.
  • Brush teeth gently with the paste for 2 minutes.
  • Rinse mouth thoroughly with warm water.
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The baking soda provides a slightly more abrasive effect to tackle tougher stains while the coconut oil breaks them down. Use this paste just 1-2 times per week for natural teeth whitening.

How Long Does It Take for Coconut Oil to Whiten Teeth?

Patience is key when using natural coconut oil teeth whitening. Here is a general timeline:

  • 1 week: You may notice a very slight difference in teeth shade.
  • 2 weeks: Teeth should begin looking visibly brighter, lighter, and whiter.
  • 1 month: After consistent daily use for a month, stains will be noticeably reduced and lifted.
  • 2-3 months: For full whitening results, continue using coconut oil for 2-3 months.

Coconut oil gently lifts stains from teeth over time. Unlike professional peroxide treatments, it does not instantly bleach or chemically alter tooth color.

Aim for at least 2 weeks of daily coconut oil use to see initial results. But use for 2-3 months consistently to achieve maximum natural whitening.

Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Before and After Examples

Seeing is believing! Here are some before and after photos of real people who used coconut oil to naturally whiten their teeth:

“I had very yellow teeth after years of drinking coffee. I started doing coconut oil pulling for just 5 minutes daily. After 6 weeks, the difference is amazing! I’m so much more confident showing my smile now.”

“I swished coconut oil for 10 mins and brushed with it every morning for 2 months. My stains are way lighter and my teeth feel so clean. I’m never going back to regular toothpaste again!”

“Oil pulling with coconut oil completely changed my smile! My teeth were stained greyish-yellow because I’m a smoker. Now they are white and healthy looking after just 1 month of daily use.”

The length of time needed for results varies by individual. But generally, 1-2 months of consistent coconut oil use noticeably whitens teeth 1-3 shades lighter. Improvements continue the longer you keep using it.

Tips for Getting the Best Results from Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening

Follow these tips and best practices to maximize your natural coconut oil teeth whitening results:

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  • Use extra virgin coconut oil – it contains more vitamins, minerals, and active compounds compared to refined varieties.
  • Select organic, unrefined coconut oil when possible to avoid chemical processing.
  • Do it daily – you’ll see faster, better results with consistent, daily use of coconut oil.
  • Give it time – be patient through the first 2 weeks before expecting to see changes.
  • Store coconut oil properly in a cool, dark place to prevent oxidation.
  • Combine methods like oil pulling plus coconut oil brushing for added benefits.
  • Use for at least 2 minutes when brushing or oil pulling for optimal effect.
  • Don’t swallow coconut oil when pulling or rinsing – spit it out to prevent digestive issues.
  • Rinse mouth thoroughly after spitting out coconut oil to prevent residue buildup.
  • Practice good oral hygiene habits like brushing twice daily and flossing.
  • Get regular dental cleanings and checkups for optimal oral health and whitening.
  • Manage expectations – coconut oil lifts stains but won’t match professional bleaching treatments.
  • Children under age 3 should avoid coconut oil pulling for safety reasons.

With consistent, diligent use of coconut oil your smile will gradually brighten and whiten naturally.

Additional Oral Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Aside from naturally whitening teeth, regularly using coconut oil can provide these bonuses:

  • Kills harmful streptococcus mutans bacteria responsible for cavities
  • Helps reverse tooth decay and dental caries
  • Soothes inflammation and bleeding of gums
  • Moisturizes dry mouth
  • Freshens breath
  • Strengthens jaw muscles with oil pulling
  • Provides antioxidants like vitamin E to protect teeth
  • Boosts oral immunity against infections
  • No harsh chemicals compared to commercial toothpaste
  • Affordable and widely accessible
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Coconut oil is truly a multitasking superfood for optimum oral health and hygiene. But it shouldn’t fully replace regular brushing and dental visits. Use it to complement your usual oral care regimen.

Potential Side Effects and Safety Considerations

Using coconut oil is generally considered low-risk with minimal side effects. But be aware of a few potential downsides:

  • Results vary – some people respond better than others based on factors like genetics, age, and types of stains.
  • Can temporarily cause nausea, diarrhea or cramping if you swallow the oil instead of spitting it out.
  • Oil pulling may worsen pain or symptoms for people with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).
  • Not suitable for oil pulling for children under age 3 due to choking risks. Older children can use coconut oil but with supervision.
  • People with nut allergies should patch test coconut oil on their arm before using in the mouth.
  • Coconut oil could temporarily stain white composite resin dental fillings. Avoid brushing fillings directly.
  • Won’t significantly lighten deeper tetracycline antibiotic stains or enamel fluorosis discoloration which require professional treatment.
  • Not a substitute for professional deep cleaning, bleaching, or dental work for certain stain types.

Talk to your dentist first if you have significant dental issues. Monitor yourself for any side effects and discontinue coconut oil use if any occur. Introduce it slowly and patch test if you have allergies.

Common FAQs About Coconut Oil and Teeth Whitening

Still have some questions about using coconut oil for natural teeth whitening? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Does coconut oil really whiten your teeth or is that a myth?

Coconut oil does have mild but legitimate teeth whitening effects. The lauric, caprylic, and capric acids it contains can actively lift, dissolve, and breakdown stains on teeth. With consistent use, coconut oil gently reveals whiter teeth over 1-2 months. But it won’t bleach teeth overnight or dramatically whiten beyond a few shades lighter.

What kind of coconut oil is best for teeth whitening?

Opt for extra virgin coconut oil rather than refined varieties. Extra virgin coconut oil retains more antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins that provide oral health benefits. Organic, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil is ideal to get the full teeth whitening effects.

How long does it take to see coconut oil teeth whitening results?

It takes about 2 weeks of consistent daily use to see initial subtle coconut oil teeth whitening results. For more dramatic whitening, continue using it for 1-2 full months. The longer you use coconut oil, the better it will gradually lift stains over time. Be patient and use it daily.

Is brushing with coconut oil safe for teeth?

Yes, brushing with coconut oil is safe for teeth. Coconut oil is edible and contains compounds that promote oral health. Use it as a toothpaste or mix a pea-sized amount into your regular toothpaste, then brush gently. Avoid aggressively scrubbing teeth. Rinse mouth thoroughly after to prevent residue buildup.

Can coconut oil whiten teeth overnight?

No, coconut oil does not whiten teeth overnight. As a gentle natural method, it requires consistent, daily use for 1-2 months to lift stains and whiten teeth a shade or two lighter. Perceptible whitening takes time with coconut oil. Manage expectations and be diligent with your oral hygiene routine.

Is coconut oil or baking soda better for teeth whitening?

Coconut oil and baking soda work synergistically to naturally whiten teeth. The coconut oil breaks down plaque and gently lifts stains. Meanwhile, baking soda offers a mild abrasive effect to scrub away discoloration. Using them together provides the best teeth-whitening results.

Final Thoughts on Coconut Oil for Whiter Teeth

Coconut oil is a safe, accessible, and affordable natural teeth whitener. Thanks to its unique composition of fatty acids, vitamin E, and minerals, it can gradually lift surface stains and brighten your smile 2-3 shades over consistent use of 1-2 months.

While coconut oil alone won’t dramatically bleach or alter your tooth color, it can enhance and maintain a whiter smile naturally when paired with good oral hygiene.

Use coconut oil daily by swishing, brushing, rinsing, or in toothpaste to gently reveal whiter teeth while also killing bacteria, strengthening enamel, and improving oral health. Just avoid swallowing the oil after pulling or brushing, and rinse your mouth out thoroughly after use.

See the best results by using extra virgin coconut oil consistently for at least 2-3 months. Your smile will thank you! But also continue regular dental cleanings, brushing, and flossing for optimal whiteness and oral hygiene.

With patience and diligence, coconut oil offers a safe, affordable way to naturally whiten teeth at home. Give it a try and you may just be amazed by the bright, glowing smile staring back at you in the mirror.

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