Dee Woods: The unappreciated powers of coconut oil


By Dee Woods

About 15 years ago, a friend of mine explained a process used by the ancients that is still being used today in Ayurvedic medicine. It is known as "oil pulling."

Oil pulling involves taking about a tablespoon or so of sesame oil and swishing it through the mouth, pushing and pulling it through the teeth and gums for about 10 to 20 minutes and then expelling it out without swallowing any of the oil. It is said to pull toxins out of the system. Once the pulling is completed the toxins remain in the oil and are expelled as you spit them out. Then the person rinses the mouth with baking soda and water using non-aluminum baking soda from the health food store.

Due to lack of knowledge about the procedure, I practiced it only minimally and rarely. I didn't know how useful it really was, but once I learned of the many benefits of coconut oil and its ability to kill bacteria I decided to attempt the procedure a few more times, except with coconut oil instead of sesame oil. Amazingly, my mouth felt fresh and I continued to practice it a little more.

Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees, so even though it is semisolid when placed in the mouth it quickly becomes a liquid. I wondered why someone hadn't thought of using coconut oil for pulling since it is so healthy and contains lauric acid.

Dr. Joseph Mercola points out: "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."

Well, someone has thought of testing the oil for dental hygiene. Researchers in Ireland actually added enzymes to coconut oil in a process similar to digestion to make the oil even more effective for the teeth and gums. Researchers at Ireland's Athlone Institute of Technology's Bioscience Research Institute tested coconut oil against the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.

In discussing the findings of the research, Mercola writes, "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 decay. 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. Enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush."

The enzyme-containing oil is not yet on the market that I know of, but coconut oil alone has anti-microbial qualities that may be useful in dental hygiene. It doesn't cost much and you can do it easily. Just take a few minutes. If you decide to swish with coconut oil and follow up with a baking soda wash, please let me know how it works.

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .