Coconut oil is making a name for itself in the world of dental hygiene. Research has shown that coconut oil has antibacterial properties that can fight against the bacteria that cause cavities and bad breath, so more and more people are leaving their conventional toothpastes behind in favor of this substitute.

What Causes Cavities?

Streptococcus bacteria is thought to be the cause of cavities and certain types of gingivitis. Streptococcus mutans is the particular version of the bacteria that is thought to cause cavities. Streptococcus bacteria is also the cause of strep throat.

How Can You Avoid Cavities?

Avoiding sugar helps slow the growth of Streptococcus and reduce cavities because sugar serves as fuel for Streptococcus bacteria. This is where coconut oil comes in. Brushing your teeth with enzyme-activated coconut oil may be effective at reducing Streptococcus bacteria, treating bad breath and improving overall dental health.

toothpaste and tooth brushes on white counter top background

How Does Coconut Oil Benefit Dental Health?

The Streptococcus mutan is thought to be a major contributor to tooth decay. Studies show that even rinsing your mouth for several minutes with coconut oil can reduce levels of the harmful bacteria. Swishing coconut oil around the gums and through the teeth can be especially effective at preventing cavities in children.

Coconut oil also benefits your taste buds by protecting the phospholipids of the cells that live on your tongue. Phospholipids are molecules that form the membranes of cells. A natural phospholipid profile is responsible for how the brain interprets bitter tastes. Many conventional kinds of toothpaste use a chemical called sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) as a foaming agent. However, studies show that SLS might break down the phospholipids on the tongue, which impacts how you experience taste. You know when you eat something after your brush your teeth and it tastes bitter? That's because of the SLS.

woman's mouth smiling on white background

Tuzemka/Shutterstock

Can You Make Coconut Oil Toothpaste?

You can make your own toothpaste with coconut oil, baking soda and bentonite clay. Baking soda is mildly abrasive and helps to remove plaque from the surface of the teeth. Bentonite clay serves as a thickening agent to give it the characteristic toothpaste-like consistency. You can also add peppermint oil extract, a little salt and a little alternative sweetener like Xylitol for taste. Make some today and protect your mouth against harmful bacteria.

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