If you’ve only been using coconut oil on your hair, skin and in your cooking, you may be pleasantly surprised. The technique of using coconut oil for teeth (or oil pulling as it is commonly known) is practised by many cultures across continents. The question is, does coconut oil whiten teeth? Although it has recently become the go-to product for natural beauty lovers all over the world, rather than just a fad, using coconut oil as a mouthwash and teeth whitener has years of history behind it.

Oil pulling was started in Asia thousands of years ago and the benefits have been passed down through generations and shared across seas. The many plus points of oil pulling include it being popular as an all-natural tooth whitener, plaque, and toxin remover.

Coconut oil has even been said to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth. How? Well, the bacteria get ‘stuck’ in the coconut oil when you swish it around. They then dissolve in the liquid oil and are eventually spat out with the coconut oil once done. It takes only 15-20 minutes every day and despite there being no chemicals, the results have been said to be significant …if done right. It’s true, you could use an over the counter mouthwash or tooth stain remover – after all there are lots of very effective brands on the market. But for those who are looking for stain removal without the use of chemicals, coconut oil will cause zero damage to the gums and will not strip the protective enamel on your teeth either. This makes coconut oil a great option for longer term use and is why it’s become one of the most popular home remedies for white teeth

All of this said, like many ancient traditions there is much more anecdotal evidence than scientific evidence on the effectiveness of oil pulling for teeth whitening. For those who are keen to give it a go, there would be very little risk from trying out the technique yourself. Remember coconut oil pulling is not safe for those who suffer from coconut allergies.

Beautiful SPA concept-composition with coconut

How to Whiten Teeth With Coconut Oil Pulling:

  1. Use a tablespoon of coconut oil and put it in your mouth.
  2. Swirl the oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Timing is essential! Not long enough and the oil will not break down the plaque, too long and the body will reabsorb the toxins.
  3. Spit out the oil.
  4. Use warm water to thoroughly rinse your mouth out.
  5. Brush your teeth well to clear out any remaining debris and toxins.

What At-Home Teeth-Whitening Solutions Work?

If oil pulling is just not for you, then there are many other options for whitening teeth and removing stubborn stains. Remember, the best way to whiten teeth is without causing harm to the gums or damaging the protective enamel on your teeth. In some cases, extensive damage to the teeth and gums can be irreversible. All teeth whitening methods should be done by following the advice from the manufacturers. If you are unsure whether you can use any of the below methods, speak to your dentist first. Below are the most popular at-home teeth-whitening methods on the market:

Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

The standard toothpaste will remove some stains from your teeth if you are brushing twice a day. However, whitening toothpastes are designed to remove tougher stains from the surface of the teeth. If you have stains or discolouration caused by coffee and/or cigarettes, teeth whitening toothpaste can be a good option for sorting out that problem. That said, whitening toothpastes will not change the colour of your teeth as they do not go any deeper than the tooth’s surface, in this way, most tooth whitening toothpastes are no harder on the tooth’s enamel than standard toothpaste.

Teeth Whitening Gel

Teeth whitening gel often contains an active whitening ingredient to tackle deeper and tougher stains which are usually harder to remove. For this reason, if your whitening toothpaste is proving to be ineffective you might want to try a gel. Many whitening gels will contain hydrogen peroxide which gently and slowly bleach your teeth. The gel is applied to a tray which you will then need to hold onto your teeth for a set time. The teeth will become whiter with continued use. We would recommend checking with your dentist before using this technique.

Cheerful young african woman smiling

Teeth Whitening Strips

Teeth whitening can be an effective way of whitening teeth. That said, like other more effective home methods they can also cause increased tooth sensitivity and gum irritation as they go deeper into the surface of the tooth. Again, teeth whitening strips usually contain a bleaching agent so there may be some risk of developing side effects depending on the concentration of the bleaching agent and the amount of time you leave it on. The process is pretty simple when using teeth whitening strips – just remove the whitening strip from its holder and place the side with the agent directly to your teeth in line with your gums. You will then fold the remainder of the strip behind your teeth to hold the strip in place. Again, we would recommend checking with your dentist before using this technique.

When it comes to whitening your teeth, there are many things to consider. If you are after a quick fix – you may want to opt for gel or strips. If you are happy to wait for a more gradual improvement, toothpaste may be your best bet. If you are keen to go for an all-natural, safer approach to whitening your teeth then coconut oil pulling could be for you. Just remember, healthy teeth are always best.