Coconut Oil/decay

 

How Coconut Oil Might Combat Tooth Decay

December 08, 2012

By Dr. Mercola

* Coconut oil is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, largely due to its naturally high lauric acid content

* Researchers in Ireland found that coconut oil treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion, strongly inhibits Streptococcus bacteria, which are common inhabitants in your mouth that can lead to plaque buildup, cavities, and gum disease

* Although a healthful diet (low in sugar, grains, and processed foods, and high in fermented vegetables, whole foods, and grass-fed meats) can improve your dental health, you may still experience problems with plaque

* Pathogenic oral bacteria and their toxins can harm more than just your mouth when they circulate through your bloodstream—they can potentially cause secondary infections and chronic inflammation throughout your body

* Two additional strategies may help reduce plaque buildup: consuming naturally fermented vegetables daily, and the use of a technique called oil pulling; over the last year, these two strategies have radially improved my own long-standing plaque problem


Coconuts are among the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet and have been a dietary staple for millennia. Western science is now "playing catch-up" to what natives of tropical regions have known for thousands of years. One of the reasons coconut is so special is that it's a natural antimicrobial food.

Coconut, especially its oil, is a powerful destroyer of all kinds of microbes, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, many of which harm human health.

Researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology's Bioscience Research Institute in Ireland set out to test coconut oil's biocidal properties against the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.

Dental caries is a commonly overlooked problem affecting 60 to 90 percent of children and the majority of adults in industrialized countries, according to chief researcher Dr. Damien Brady. His research team tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion.

The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, which are common inhabitants of your mouth.

They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibits the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay1. It is thought that the breaking down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids, which are toxic to certain bacteria.2 Enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush.

Dr. Brady said:

"Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection."

The work also contributes to our understanding of antibacterial activity in the human gut, which helps maintain the balanced flora necessary for a strong immune system.

"Our data suggests that products of human digestion show antimicrobial activity. This could have implications for how bacteria colonize the cells lining the digestive tract and for overall gut health," explained Dr. Brady.

The Many Health Benefits of Coconut Oil Coconut oil offers an impressive array of health benefits. In addition to its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil is beneficial for:

* Promoting heart health

* Supporting proper thyroid function

* Strengthening your immune system

* Providing an excellent "fuel" for your body and supporting a strong metabolism

* Maintaining healthy and youthful looking skin

One of the primary reasons coconut oil's benefits are so broad is that 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. In fact, coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on Earth. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, a monoglyceride that can actually destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes, influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Another of coconut oil's antimicrobial components is capric acid, present in lesser amounts.

Coconut oil is also comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which are smaller than the long chain fatty acids that are much more common to vegetable and seed oils. MCFAs are easily digested and readily cross cell membranes, and are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than stored as fat. Coconut oil is easy on your digestive system and does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream.

A Traditional Diet Might Not Guarantee You Perfect Oral Health

In the 1900s, Dr. Weston A. Price did extensive research on the link between oral health and physical diseases. He discovered that the most successful primitive groups health-wise were those who paid attention to and integrated beneficial ancient knowledge and dietary wisdom into their lives. The difference, Price reasoned, between primitive cultures who were healthy and those who were

diseased came not from solely eating a traditional diet (as they all did), but in the accumulated wisdom enjoyed by certain populations, which allowed them to enjoy optimal health. One of the keys to oral health is eating a traditional diet rich in fresh, unprocessed vegetables, nuts, and grass-fed meats that are in line with your genetic ancestry. However, as beneficial as that diet is to your dental and overall health, it might not be enough to guarantee perfect oral health. We know, of course, that eating junk food and sugar certainly causes and worsens dental decay in humans, but there must be more to the story. There is evidence of tooth decay in ancient populations, long before there was exposure to refined sugar and white flour, as well as among wild animals today. Even some dolphins, which generally eat no carbohydrates whatsoever — only fish, squid, and crustaceans — have problems with tooth decay. Clearly, simply following a traditional diet is not enough to explain this phenomenon, or else there would be no dental decay in ancient peoples or wildlife.

Plaque-Busting Strategy No. 1: Fermented Vegetables

In the past, I was also challenged with plaque accumulation which resulted in my having to make monthly visits to the dental hygienist. It seemed no amount of brushing, flossing, and even using a dental irrigator diminished this problem. However, in November of 2011, I was introduced to the first of two natural strategies that have significantly improved my plaque problem. The trick? Simply adding healthy amounts of high quality fermented vegetables to my diet.

Fermented vegetables are loaded with friendly flora that not only improve digestion but alter the flora in your mouth as well. Since the addition of these foods into my diet, my plaque has decreased by 50 percent and is much softer. I later further refined my approach by doing oil pulling with coconut oil and learning how to specifically target the primary source of plague, which is the junction of the tooth and gum surface by carefully directing my toothbrush at the appropriate angle.

Plaque-Busting Strategy No. 2: Oil Pulling

The second technique I've been using for the past year is called "oil pulling" with coconut oil, which has reduced my plaque by another 50 percent, allowing me to go two months between visits to the hygienist, instead of one. Oil pulling is a practice dating back thousands of years, having originated with Ayurvedic medicine. When oil pulling is combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, you have one very powerful health tool.

Sesame oil is traditionally recommended, but it has relatively high concentration of omega-6 oils. Therefore, I believe coconut oil is far superior, and, in my mind, it tastes better. But from a mechanical and biophysical perspective, it is likely that both work.

Oil pulling is simple. Basically, it involves rinsing your mouth with coconut oil, much like you would with a mouthwash. The oil is "worked" around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for a period of 15 minutes. If you are obsessive like me and want even better results you

can go for 30-45 minutes. This process allows the oil to "pull out" bacteria, viruses, fungi and other debris. The best time is in the morning before eating breakfast, but it can be done at any time, the important point is to just do it. I seek to do it twice a day if my schedule allows. The used oil is discarded and your mouth rinsed with water. You should not swallow the oil because it's loaded with bacteria, toxins, pus, and mucous.

When done correctly, oil pulling has a significant cleansing, detoxifying and healing affect, not only for your mouth and sinuses but for the rest of your body as well.

Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in your mouth, and it's these germs and their toxic waste products that cause plaque accumulation and tooth decay, in addition to secondary infections and chronic inflammation throughout your body. Oil pulling can help lessen the overall toxic burden on your immune system by preventing the spread of these organisms from your mouth to the rest of your body, by way of your bloodstream.

The potential benefits of oil pulling extend well beyond your mouth. Oil pullers have reported rapid relief from systemic health problems, such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. According to Bruce Fife, naturopathic physician and expert in the healing effects of coconut3, the cleansing effect of oil pulling can be understood with the following analogy:

"It acts much like the oil you put in your car engine. The oil picks up dirt and grime. When you drain the oil, it pulls out the dirt and grime with it, leaving the engine relatively clean. Consequently, the engine runs smoother and lasts longer. Likewise, when we expel harmful substances from our bodies our health is improved and we run smoother and last longer."

Additional Tips for Improving Your Oral Health Proper dental hygiene is important for optimal health in your mouth and in the rest of your body. When it comes to preventing cavities, drinking fluoridated water and brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste is not the answer, because fluoride is more toxic than lead. The key is your diet and proper dental care: good old brushing and flossing. By avoiding sugars and processed foods, you prevent the proliferation of the bacteria that cause decay in the first place. Practicing twice daily brushing and flossing, along with regular cleanings by your biological dentist and hygienist, will ensure that your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. You may want to try oil pulling to enhance your current dental hygiene routine.

In addition to consuming foods that are part of the "traditional diet" and avoiding processed foods and refined sugar, make sure you are getting plenty omega-3 fats. The latest research suggests even moderate amounts of omega-3 fats may help ward off gum disease. My favorite source of high quality omega-3 fat is krill oil. And speaking of sugar, a particular type of honey from New Zealand called Manuka honey has also been shown to be effective in reducing plaque. Researchers found Manuka honey worked as well as chemical mouthwash — and better than the cavity fighting sugar alcohol, xylitol — in reducing levels

of plaque. This is most likely due to the honey's antibacterial properties. Clinical trials have shown that Manuka honey can effectively eradicate more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant varieties.

I still believe that oil pulling with coconut oil gives you more bang for your buck for your oral health, but just realize you have natural options to harsh and often toxic chemicals.

Some of the top benefits of using coconut oil include:

Balance Hormones

Kill Candida

Improve Digestion

Moisturize Skin

Reduce Cellulite

Decrease Wrinkles and Age Spots

Balance Blood Sugar and Improve Energy

Improve Alzheimer’s

Increase HDL and Lower LDL Cholesterol

Burn Fat

Are you ready to see some incredible results? Here are my top 40 coconut oil uses in 3 categories: Food Uses, Body Care and Natural Medicine.

Food Uses


1. Cooking at High Heat - Best oil for cooking because it has a high smoking point and is superior to olive oil.

2. On Toast Instead of Butter – Spread coconut oil on your sprouted grains bread instead of butter.

3. Energizer - Mix 1 tbsp coconut oil with 1/2 tbsp chia seeds as energy fuel. The MCT’s in coconut oil plus nutrients in chia will send your energy soaring.

4. Coconut Oil Coffee – Adding a spoonful of coconut oil to your coffee can give you an extra boost of energy and replace dairy creamer.

5. Chocolate Fondue – Mix 4 tbsp coconut oil with 1 dark chocolate bar then melt on medium heat. Then take fruits like strawberries and banana’s and dip then in the chocolate sauce.

6. Smoothies - Add 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil to fruit smoothie to improve texture and increase healthy fat intake.

7. Popcorn topping – Use in making homemade stovetop popcorn. Pour over organic popcorn and then sprinkle on some sea salt for non-GMO popcorn.

8. Non-stick oil – Best oil to use when cooking eggs for non-stick. Let skillet with coconut oil get warm then add eggs in to cook.

9. Homemade Mayo – Use as oil in homemade mayonnaise recipe mixed with egg yolks.

10. Sweet Potato Topping – Put on baked sweet potato and then sprinkle on cinnamon. Also, use for sweet potato fries recipe.

11. Baking Oil - Use in baking recipes like brownies to replace other oils. Also perfect for greasing pans so foods don’t stick.

Body Care

12. Skin moisturizer - Apply 1 tsp of coconut oil to hands and rub into needed areas for hydration.

13. Mineralizing toothpaste - Mix equal parts of coconut oil with baking soda then add a few drops of peppermint essential oil for homemade toothpaste.

14. Lip Balm – Can soothe chapped lips. Can also mix with beeswax and lavender essential oil for homemade chap stick.

15. Coconut Shampoo – Coconut can cleanse hair and great if used with apple cider vinegar.

16. Oil Pulling – Swish between teeth for 5-20 minutes can kill bad bacteria and freshen your breath.

17. Natural Deodorant Excellent as natural deodorant and can be used for deodorant recipe by mixing with baking soda and essential oils.

18. Face Wash – Coconut oil can be used in natural face wash recipe to cleanse an moisturize. Lavender and tea tree essential oils are also excellent.

19. Wound Salve – Perfect to use as wound ointment because of anti-microbial properties. Put on just like you would neosporin.

20. Hair Conditioner - Add to hair as conditioner to repair split ends. Rub in hair and leave in for 30 minutes, then rinse.

21. Body Lotion – Use coconut oil by itself as natural body lotion or mix as part of body butter recipe with shea butter.

22. Cellulite Solution – Use as cellulite-reduction cream with grapefruit essential oil. Mix 1 tbsp coconut oil with 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil then massage into area after getting out of shower.

23. Eye Makeup Remover – Use with cotton swab as eye makeup remover instead of chemicals.

24. Shaving cream – Excellent replacement for shaving lotion that provides a gentle glide for a razor and soothes skin.

25. Bath Soak – Mix 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil, with 1/4 cup epsom salts for an incredible healing bath.

26. Sunscreen / Sunburn remedy – Coconut oil is an SPF 4 and can soothe and moisturize skin from sunburn.

27. Personal Lubricant – Often used as personal bedroom lubricant and won’t disturb vaginal flora like other lubricants.

28. Anti-Aging Skincare – Put coconut oil on skin before bed to reduce age spots and wrinkles.

29. Massage Oil – Coconut oil works as the perfect massage oil and when mixed with lavender and peppermint essential oils can relax and heal sore muscles.

30. Insect repellent – Mixing coconut oil with essential oils of peppermint, rosemary, tea tree and citronella are more effective and safer than DEET at keeping bugs away.

Natural Medicine

31. Alzheimer’s Treatment - Take 1 tbsp daily to support brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s as part of ketogenic diet.

32. Aromatherapy – Used as perfect carrier oil when making home remedies with essential oils.

33. Candida Killer – Coconut oil contains caprylic acid which has anti-microbial properties that can kill yeast and candida.

34. Fat Burning Supplement - The MCT’s found in coconut oil have been proven to support weight loss and help your body burn fat for energy.

35. Hormone Balancer – The healthy fats in coconut oil support the thyroid and adrenal glands which can lower cortisol to naturally balance hormones.

36. Digestive Support – Coconut oil is easy to digest and contains compounds that destroy bad bacteria, promote growth of probiotics and heal leaky gut.

37. Anti-Fungal Cream – Can be used topically to treat athletes foot and skin fungus.

38. Blood Sugar Stabilizer – Coconut oil can help balance blood sugar levels and has been medically proven to improve diabetes.

39. Healing Ointment - Can be used as cream to heal dry and flaking skin for those with Eczema and Psoriasis.

40. Cholesterol Supplement – The healthy fats in coconut oil have been proven to increase HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol supporting heart health.

10 Coconut Oil Remedies:

Alzheimer’s Treatment take 1 tbsp daily to support brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s as part of a ketogenic diet

Aromatherapy – used as a perfect carrier oil when making home remedies with essential oils

Candida Killer – coconut oil contains caprylic acid which has anti-microbial properties that can kill yeast and candida

Fat Burning Supplement – the MCT’s found in coconut oil have been proven to support weight loss and help your body burn fat for energy

Hormone Balancer – the healthy fats in coconut oil support the thyroid and adrenal glands which can lower cortisol to naturally balance hormones

Digestive Support – coconut oil is easy to digest and contains compounds that destroy bad bacteria, promote growth of probiotics, and kills parasites

Anti-fungal Cream – can be used topically to treat athletes foot and skin fungus

Blood Sugar Stabilizer – coconut oil can help balance blood sugar levels and has been medically proven to improve diabetes

Healing Ointment – can be used as a cream to heal dry and flaking skin for those with Eczema and Psoriasis

Cholesterol Supplement – the healthy fats in coconut oil have been proven to increase HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol which supports heart health