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How Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening Works

Haleigh Pouliot

Written by Haleigh Pouliot

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Can coconut oil whiten teeth?

It’s a question that needs a clear answer. You want to know if such an all-natural and cost-effective product for DIY teeth whitening could really get you that bright smile you’ve always dreamed about….or if it’s a bogus claim.

In this post, we’ll discuss just how effective coconut oil is for teeth bleaching.

What is Coconut Oil For Teeth?

what is coconut oil for teeth

Coconut oil is extracted from the flesh of coconuts via a pressing process. The oil is usually white and solid at room temperature and melts into a clear liquid when warmed. Coconut oil may be virgin or refined, and some types are even hydrogenated with chemicals to help the oil maintain a solid state in warm environments. Here are a few quick facts about coconut oil:

  • Coconut oil adds a rich and unique flavor when added to foods like stir-frys or curries.
  • Coconut oil is high in lauric acid which may have some benefits for conditions like psoriasis and acne.
  • Although it’s perceived as a healthy kind of fat, coconut oil is still a saturated fat which should be consumed in moderation.
  • Coconut oil is an excellent natural moisturizer for skin and hair.
  • Coconut oil is a beloved ingredient and food staple in the Philippines, India, and Polynesia.

Beyond topical and dietary use, however, there’s a recent trend of using coconut oil in oral hygiene. Some people, for example, swear by coconut oil for oil pulling to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

You may be interested in finding out whether or not you can use coconut oil to whiten teeth.

But does science support this concept?

Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth?

There’s a simple fact we need to put out there right away: coconut oil doesn’t bleach teeth.

Coconut oil doesn’t whiten teeth in the same way that actual teeth bleaching products do. It won’t affect the natural color of your teeth.

coconut oil for whiten teeth

Bleaching is a process where color pigments are lifted from the tooth. It’s actually the result of a chemical process that releases microscopic bubbles which help dissolve stains from deep within tooth tissues. Hydrogen and carbamide peroxide are two strong types of bleach commonly used in teeth whitening.

Coconut oil doesn’t react that way with tooth stain. It will only sit on the surface of your teeth.

What about the claims that coconut oil does whiten teeth?

That’s probably due to two factors:

Despite the hype, not everyone who tries using coconut oil notices amazing results. This is because, as mentioned above, coconut oil does not actually make teeth whiter; it just temporarily helps them to look and feel cleaner because that soft layer of plaque is gone.

If you’re hoping to get dramatically whiter teeth fast, then you’re better off going with a more tried and tested teeth whitening products like, for example, the Supersmile teeth whitening system.

A few popular whitening options include:

If you’re searching for a simple teeth whitening product that doesn’t involve a trip to the dentist, then check out our list of the best online teeth whitening kits. We have the information you need to choose the best at-home teeth whitening kit for you.

Why Use Coconut Oil to Whiten Teeth?

While the jury is still out on teeth whitening, there are multiple other potential benefits of adding coconut oil into your oral care routine.

For one thing, using coconut oil on a daily basis (using one of the techniques discussed below) will encourage you to pay more attention to your oral health, in general. And the more you do that, the more time you’ll spend on taking care of your teeth and gums. This will result in a naturally whiter and healthier smile.

Additionally, using coconut oil as a whitening rinse will help lift gingivitis- and cavity-causing bacteria from between your teeth. Swishing just about any healthy liquid, in fact, can have the therapeutic benefit of soothing gums and reducing plaque from those hard-to-reach spots between teeth. So even if the coconut oil itself doesn’t whiten your teeth, the simple act of swishing it can improve your oral health.

Lastly, coconut oil is safe for your teeth. You have to be careful not to swallow too much since it is a saturated fat that can harm your overall health if you consume too much. But other than that, it’s perfectly fine for your teeth.

It doesn’t hurt to give coconut oil a try and see how it works for you! However, we recommend to also check info about other whitening methods (check HiSmile reviews, pros and cons of Snow whitening) as maybe those products suit your needs best. 

How to Whiten Teeth with Coconut Oil

Here’s how you can start practicing coconut oil teeth whitening.

Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil

The primary way to try whitening your teeth with coconut oil is by practicing oil pulling.

Oil pulling is a hygiene practice that goes back thousands of years. People have been doing oil pulling in India and Southeast Asia for a long time. The practice is said to whiten teeth in addition to freshening breath and promoting tooth and gum health. Oils such as olive oil and sesame oil can be used in oil pulling, but coconut is quite common given its mild and sweet flavor.

The steps for oil pulling are as follows:

Again, oil pulling with coconut oil is only rumored to whiten teeth. There’s not enough scientific evidence backing this practice, which is why the American Dental Association (ADA), an authority in the dental field, does not endorse it.

However, there is no harm in trying oil pulling for yourself to see if it works for you. The only downside is that it can take some time to get used to the sensation of having a pool of oil in your mouth for minutes on end.

It’s important to know that oil pulling, no matter how many supposed benefits it has, is no replacement for regular brushing and flossing. Oil pulling with coconut oil will likely reduce plaque on your teeth, but it can’t get rid of it all. You need to brush and floss to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Practicing oil pulling alongside these healthy hygiene habits will help you to get the most benefit from coconut oil.

Floss with Coconut Oil

flossing with coconut oil whitening

You can also work some coconut oil in between your teeth by rubbing a piece of dental floss in the oil and then flossing your teeth. Doing this doubles as an opportunity for you to floss more regularly.

What About Brushing Your Teeth With Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil makes a great base for a natural toothpaste. If you have sensitivities to regular toothpaste, then try making your own by mixing up a paste of coconut oil and baking soda.

When brushing your teeth with this paste, the coconut oil itself may not have much to do with whitening your teeth (if you are looking for whiten your teeth, we recommend you to check our article about the best teeth whitening for sensitive teeth). Simply scrubbing away plaque and food stains can make your smile look whiter after brushing just one time with coconut toothpaste. In this case, the mechanical action of your toothbrush and the grit from the baking soda are doing most of the work, not the coconut oil.

You should also keep in mind that a homemade natural toothpaste with coconut oil would be missing one key ingredient that’s vital for healthy teeth: fluoride. So if you use a coconut toothpaste, remember to talk with your dentist about fluoride options and alternatives that can strengthen your tooth enamel.

Brushing Your Teeth With Coconut Oil
brush you teeh with coconut oil whitening

So does coconut oil whiten your teeth?

Not really. Coconut oil is not the best cure for yellow teeth. But it could still have multiple other benefits for your oral health. And in the process of keeping your teeth and gums clean and free of stain-causing bacteria, coconut oil could help you maintain a white smile.

If you choose to use coconut oil as a teeth whitener, remember to incorporate it as an adjunct to brushing and flossing, not a replacement for these oral hygiene activities. Using coconut oil alone will not give you healthy white teeth.

As you give coconut oil a try, take some selfies to measure your progress and commemorate your journey to a healthier and more beautiful smile!


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