A spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth?  · Health and science

A spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth? · Health and science

Where does this news come from?

Oil pulling is another healthy trend on TikTok. The goal is Spoon a tablespoon of coconut oil or lard in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes Then spit it out (not into the sink, but into the bag, because the substance freezes). Finally, yes, rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth (1).

to Advantages Will be:

  • Fewer harmful bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath;
  • lower plate
  • healthier gums;
  • Whiter teeth.
  • Remove toxins from the body.

The purported effects are largely based on “extraction” of harmful bacteria in the mouth.


There are some similar studies on oil pulling. A 2016 study examined oil pulling in 60 subjects (2):

  • 20 people pulled oil;
  • 20 people rinsed their mouths with chlorhexidine (a common mouthwash);
  • 20 people served as a control group and brushed their teeth daily.

Next, saliva samples from all participants were examined for its presence Streptococcus mutansIt is a bacteria that causes cavities. In both the chlorhexidine group and the coconut oil group, the bacteria concentration was slightly lower than in the control group. The researchers decided so Oil pulling works just like chlorhexidine There is a “natural” alternative.

So oil pulling will be beneficial Less harmful bacteria In your mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and possibly bad breath (at least if the bad breath is caused by it). But oil pulling makes you Teeth are not whiter. And that’s you Detoxifying the body is nonsense.

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(1) Doornwaard F. This is how oil pulling works and these are the health benefits. Runnersworld.com. October 3, 2023.

How should you interpret this news?


Mouthwashes They are only useful if you are temporarily unable to brush your teeth properly after oral surgery, for example after an implant has been placed. They contain a bactericidal substance Chlorhexidine. You can keep the classic mouthwash in your mouth for half a minute and then spit it out.

It is best not to use a mouthwash containing chlorhexidine for longer than three weeks, as longer use can discolour your teeth (3). Chlorhexidine is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding: Because you spit it out, almost no part of it reaches your body.

Coconut Oil

There are about a dozen studies on oil pulling, all of which are methodologically weak and analyze bacteria in saliva. They have recently been compiled in a general study (4).

The bottom line is that there may be fewer harmful bacteria in your saliva after rinsing with coconut oil for a long time, but that It offers no benefit compared to brushing and flossing your teeth. You are no less affected by gingivitis and plaque (4). Your teeth don’t get whiter either.


Spending 10 to 20 minutes with coconut oil in your mouth every day does not make your teeth healthier or more resistant to tooth decay than brushing your teeth properly. Limiting your intake of sweets, eating healthy, flossing and brushing your teeth and having regular dental check-ups are the best way to keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy. If you can have fluoride toothpaste and dental floss, why spend half an hour with coconut oil in your mouth every day?

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  • (2) Kaushik M, Reddy P, Sharma R, Udameshi P, Mehra N, Marwaha A. Effect of coconut oil withdrawal on the number of Streptococcus mutans in saliva in comparison with chlorhexidine mouthwash. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2016;17(1):38-41.
  • (3) Pharmacotherapy compass. Chlorhexidine.
  • (4) Peng Ter, Cheng Hai, Wu Tu, Ng Pek. The effectiveness of oil pulling for improving oral health: a meta-analysis. Health Care (Basel). 2022;10(10):1991.

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