This question was sent in to us by someone very skeptical of the process many are calling, “re-mineralization of teeth’ using coconut oil. It is obvious from her carefully selected words and phrasing she was attempting to discredit the process of oil pulling, but she failed to understand the very real and valid science behind this misunderstood concept.

'Please tell me on a molecular level how the oil remineralizes the decalcification of the tooth. What mineral specifically binds with the calcium matrix?' - Sharon B.

As with anything we post, the intent is to provoke consideration of alternative methods to better health. We recognize that the subject of “re-mineralization” is certainly controversial, but much of the controversy stems from a simple misunderstanding of the concept and the context of the word ‘re-mineralize’.

Unfortunately, we cannot directly respond to your questions as they both assume a false premise. It is not the oil itself that is the re-mineralization agent, but rather the oil provides some of the necessary components that promote the naturally occurring process of mineralization within the oral microbiome. A delicate balance exists between the metalloproteinases (MMP) found in both the saliva and dentin of the teeth and their natural inhibitors. If one’s diets consist primarily of acidic foods, the pH balance of the oral microbiome shifts, the dentin is damaged and cavity progression increases. As long as the acidic foods are consumed, simply brushing and flossing alone will not maintain the proper pH of the mouth. Even introducing an alcohol based fluoride rinse into the hygiene regimen will not restore the balance. While that might prove effective against a few bacterial strains, others such as Streptococcus mutans will thrive under such conditions.

As long as this imbalance remains, the decay and demineralization process continues unchecked. There are a few MMP Inhibitors used in modern dentistry, Periostat or doxycycline and chlorhexidine or Peridex, but for those of us who prefer to address these issues with natural alternatives, the Vitamin E found in coconut oil also acts as an effective MMP inhibitor. The oil also acts as an alkalizing agent effectively neutralizing acidity within the mouth. Our enamel and dentin are composed of hydroxyapatite (calcium phosphate and hydroxyl). Acidic saliva produces an over-abundance of Hydrogen ions. Hydrogen and hydroxyl possess a very strong binding affinity. When this occurs, the Hydrogen and the hydroxyl would rather form water than remain as the hydroxyapatite compound in our teeth thereby causing a breakdown of the enamel and contributing to the overall decay of the tooth. Calcium too is important to the mineralization process, but only addressing a calcium deficiency is like treating a bleeding wound with a blood transfusion. It remains effective for only as long as blood is being pumped into your veins. The better solution is to bind and heal the wound and stop the bleeding.

While remaining a key component to oral health, brushing and flossing alone cannot restore balance to the mouth. No matter how often you brush your teeth, floss, and attempt to sterilize the planktonic and bio-film bacteria with oral disinfectants, the effect you have on the microbial population is minor. Many of these organisms will survive the treatment and quickly multiply and repopulate this ideal habitat. This battle becomes a constant state of war unless we make some critical changes to our habits from both a hygiene as well as dietary perspective in order to restore proper pH balance.

To sum up our position on dental hygiene/oil pulling in general:

  1. Daily oil pulling will remove some tooth staining, reduce plaque and bacteria, but alone is not enough to prevent gum disease. A strict regimen of proper brushing, flossing, tongue scraping and rinsing should be observed. Some plaque might to be mechanically removed by scraping it from tooth surfaces so the regular professional cleaning is appropriate when needed.

  2. Swishing for 20 minutes with oil greatly reduces the viscosity of plaque and its ability to stick on teeth.

  3. The 20 minute swishing event greatly increases saliva, neutralize the pH of the mouth and helps to create an environment conducive to mineralization.

  4. Oil pulling is a great replacement for mouthwash. The mouthwash in your cabinet that proudly claims to kill 99% of germs also wipes out the good bacteria in your mouth, which isn’t good for dental health nor the health of the rest of your body. Overall health depends on a healthy microbiome, which is our body’s natural bacterial ecology that we have evolved with and which in turn prevents disease. Coconut oil, in particular, contains antioxidant Vitamin E, as well as lauric acid, which possesses both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Needless to say, we never received a response from the original poster.

If you are looking to freely exchange ideas on alternative methods that might improve health then we welcome your input and appreciate your questions.

  • w-facebook
All of our products are laboratory
tested and certified free of biological
contaminants and heavy metals.