In a study to test coconut oil’s biocidal properties against the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, the oil proved to be quite effective.
The action of coconut oil was tested in its natural state and after being treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion. The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, which are common inhabitants of your mouth.
They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibits the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay. It is thought that the breaking down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids, which are toxic to certain bacteria. Chief researcher Dr. Damien Brady said:
“Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection.”
5 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil as Toothpaste
A case could be made that coconut oil has a near-perfect makeup to act as an effective toothpaste. Six top reasons, as reported by MindBodyGreen, include:
No Harmful Chemicals
Conventional toothpaste such as Colgate Total contains an antibacterial chemical called triclosan, which has been linked to concerns over antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are a serious concern, as they can promote a wide variety of health problems, including: breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, precocious puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys.
Some animal studies showed that triclosan caused fetal bone malformations in mice and rats, which may hint at hormonal effects.
Fluoride is another common chemical in conventional toothpaste. Fluoride is a toxic industrial waste product that is a poison to your body even in trace amounts…
Effective Against Cavity-Causing Bacteria
Research even shows that massaging coconut oil into your gums for about 10 minutes daily (continued for three weeks) significantly reduces decay-causing Streptococcus mutans as well as plaque.
No Foaming Agents
Many toothpastes also contain surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). Surfactants are chemicals responsible for the foaming action of the toothpaste, but they also interfere with the functioning of your taste buds by breaking up the phospholipids on your tongue.
This enhances bitter tastes and is thought to be the reason why everything tastes so bad right after you’ve brushed your teeth. This may also be part of why coconut oil works so well for oral hygiene, as it helps maintain a more natural balance of lipids on your tongue, while still having potent antibacterial properties.
Not to mention, SLS has even been linked to painful canker sores, with research suggesting an SLS-free toothpaste should be used for people with recurring sores.
It takes only a small amount of coconut oil to keep your teeth clean, and one jar can easily last you months, making it a very inexpensive toothpaste.
You Can Use It on Your Dog’s Teeth Too
While you wouldn’t want to brush your pets’ teeth with ordinary “human” toothpaste, coconut oil is effective and safe for dogs and humans alike. Applying it with a toothbrush would be best, but your pet may even get some oral health benefits just from licking a small amount of oil. The recipe below is not recommended for dogs. As noted, some ingredients that are fine for human consumption can be toxic for pets.