Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth? How to Get a Brighter Smile Naturally

Does coconut oil whiten teeth? Many people who practice oil pulling claim to see an improvement in their tooth color, and it could be due to the antibacterial properties of coconut oil.

Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth? How to Get a Brighter Smile Naturally

Coconut oil is good for your teeth. It fights the bacteria and inflammation that cause gum disease. It also helps prevent plaque buildup and bad breath. But can it make your teeth look whiter?

Although there’s not enough scientific evidence yet to prove that coconut oil will whiten your teeth, it certainly won’t hurt them. In fact, it’s a lot safer than most “natural” ingredients that are alleged to brighten your smile. 

Is Whitening One of the Benefits of Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that for centuries has been reputed to promote good dental health. It’s a lot like using mouthwash, it just takes a little longer. You place one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth, swish it around for at least ten minutes, and then spit, spit, spit.

Many people claim to see improvement in their tooth color after practicing oil pulling on a consistent basis, and it could be due to the antibacterial properties of coconut oil. A 2016 study showed that daily oil pulling reduced the number of Streptococcus mutans (the bacteria strain that causes plaque) within as little as two weeks. 

Even though whitening isn’t a proven effect, there are many other benefits that make oil pulling worthwhile. If you practice oil pulling every day, you’ll have fewer cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. And since it’s anti-inflammatory as well as anti-bacterial, coconut oil can also help prevent gum disease. 

Natural Ingredients for Whiter Teeth

There have been claims that everything from pineapple to apple cider vinegar to turmeric can whiten your teeth. But as with coconut oil, the evidence is mainly anecdotal, and some of these substances can even be dangerous. We compare the most common teeth whiteners below.

Baking Soda 

Because it can remove surface stains and whiten your teeth naturally, baking soda has been a toothpaste ingredient for over 100 years. You can even make your own toothpaste from baking soda, but using it does have its drawbacks. Brushing with baking soda is messy and it doesn’t taste very nice. And since it’s mildly abrasive, if you use it too often or brush too aggressively, you could end up damaging your tooth enamel and irritating your gums. It also doesn’t contain any other beneficial ingredients, so it’s best to limit brushing with baking soda to once a day at most.

Activated Charcoal

This ingredient has been a popular additive to tooth care products in recent years. However, we don’t recommend using activated charcoal, because it is extremely abrasive and can cause permanent damage to your tooth enamel. If you want to try using a charcoal toothpaste, talk to your dentist about it first.

Hydrogen Peroxide

As the active ingredient in most whitening treatments, hydrogen peroxide can definitely give you a brighter smile when used professionally. However, using it at home is extremely risky. You could end up eroding your tooth enamel or irritating your gums. Not only can misuse cause tooth sensitivity, it can also lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

How to Keep Your Teeth White Naturally

Your teeth will probably get darker over time, but how quickly they change color depends a lot on your diet and your habits. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental cleanings, and other good habits like oil pulling will help keep your smile bright. Eating healthy foods full of vitamins and fiber can also help keep your teeth white. 

At the same time, you’ll also need to avoid the foods, drinks, and bad habits that cause stains. Red wine and spaghetti sauce, coffee and black tea, and smoking and vaping will all stain your teeth. So will forgetting to brush and floss, because you’re allowing plaque to build up and turn into yellowish tartar.

Holistic Teeth Whitening Treatments

If you want to get a brighter smile, the best thing you can do is talk to a dentist. They can advise you on the best method for whitening your teeth without damaging your gums or tooth enamel. At Prescott Dentistry, we take a holistic approach to dental health, so we always recommend the most natural treatments available. To make an appointment, call us at 928-445-1660 or send us a message online. 


Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 3/12/2024.