Coconut oil: Benefits, uses
Coconut oil has been all the rage recently—and for good reason. It’s nutrient-rich,
full of healthy fats, and has countless uses in all facets of personal health! This news
has recently spread like wildfire around the world, and there are millions of people
now using it daily for everything from controlling weight to keeping skin and hair
beautiful and healthy. Even the realm of dental hygiene couldn’t escape coconut oil’s
healing powers!This chapter will cover all of these varied uses and the exact methods
and dosages you need to make them work best.
But first, what exactly is coconut oil? For thousands of years, inhabitants of South Asia
and South America have long used parts of the coconut fruit as a refreshing,
nutritious beverage and a healthy cooking staple. They have been well-aware of the
wealth of benefits coconut and its oil can provide. Even the coconut’s husk has been
used as a versatile raw material for making brushes, ropes, and fishnets! The flesh, or
coconut meat, however, is where the nutritious coconut oil comes from. So, what kind of things can coconut oil be used for?
Although predominantly a saturated fat, scientists have discovered that coconut oil’s
unique composition makes it quite different from other fats: it consists of over 62%
medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs). In contrast to long-chain fatty acids, medium-chain
fatty acids do not get stored as fat, and are utilized quickly for energy. This is what
makes MCTs fantastic for weight loss and the perfect oil for those with difficulty
digesting fats, whether due to a digestive disorder or gall bladder removal. The two
main MCTs found in coconut oil are lauric acid and caprylic acid, which provide
coconut oil its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
For Dental Health
Alongside bathing, dental hygiene is one of the few healthcare concerns absolutely
everyone will have during their life. And for many, the question of optimal routine or
best practice starts and ends at childhood with a parent’s toothbrushing prescription.
Are there even any alternatives?
You probably suspect there are. Would you be surprised to learn coconut oil is one?
In fact, coconut oil has been proven to be as—if not more effective than—regular
mouthwash 11 . Hundreds of thousands of people use it daily as part of their dental
hygiene routine for everything from whitening to promoting cleanliness and gum
health. In fact, the practice of oil pulling (one of the most popular methods of using
coconut oil for improving and maintaining dental health) dates back thousands of
So, what exactly can coconut oil do for your dental health, and how should you use it?
Uses, Doses, and Methods
Though regular consumption of coconut oil alone can probably have a positive
impact on oral health, the primary method of dental cleaning using coconut oil comes
in the form of oil pulling. An ancient Ayurvedic technique, oil pulling consists of
swishing an oil—in this case coconut oil, for its added antimicrobial benefits—for 20
minutes and spitting it out. The process is like using a mouthwash, except the
swishing lasts quite a bit longer and is more natural (if you like coconut, it’s also a lot
Using a coconut oil pull or toothpaste can also reduce the exposure to fluoride, which
many store-bought toothpastes contain. Fluoride is a hormone disrupting substance,
and is also capable of causing an erosion and staining of the teeth called dental
For Whitening Teeth
Who doesn’t love a set of pearly whites? When used in the form of oil pulling, coconut
oil can be an effective substitute to store-bought whitening toothpastes and strips.
Although most results to date are anecdotal, you can at least be sure that you are not
unknowingly doing irreparable damage to your teeth. The added antimicrobial
benefit of coconut oil will also help fight off plaque and prevent other possible future
problems from arising.
Killing Oral Bacteria and Improving Breath
The research is in, and coconut oil has shown to be just as effective as mouthwash
for improving bad breath (and much safer) thanks to its antibacterial properties
For Preventing and Relieving Gingivitis
The antimicrobial effects of coconut oil extend to all kinds of unwanted bacteria,
including those that lead to plaque-induced gingivitis . Research has shown that its
anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties even help relieve inflamed gums, stop
their bleeding, strengthen them, and reverse their degeneration