Coconut Oil:
Tooth Brushing, Cooking, & 3 Personal Uses

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
August 15, 2016



coconut oil and toothbrushIt’s a general fact that organic, cold-pressed, unprocessed coconut oil is great for cooking. Also, I recommend coconut oil along with baking soda as an excellent way to brush your teeth. (I have written about my mouth cleaning technique in the past.) To my surprise, I have found some unusual ways coconut oil helped me that might surprise you:


    1. A deodorantI stopped using antiperspirants in my deodorant several years ago because of the chemicals that could leach from the deodorant into my body. So, I searched for various commercial preparations that had natural ingredients without antiperspirants. Eventually, I learned the potential of organic, cold-pressed, unprocessed coconut oil as a deodorant.


      Over a year ago, I tried coconut oil. The rest is history. Today, coconut oil is the only deodorant I use.


    1. A treatment for a specific skin lesionBeing almost 70 years old, I have developed a few seborrheic keratosis lesions on my forehead and temple areas. These are benign scaly patches on the skin that are more unsightly than dangerous. Generally, a dermatologist could use liquid nitrogen to remove them without a problem. But, I wanted to investigate other natural options.


      I learned that coconut oil often could be a solution. I tried it.


      I rubbed some coconut oil on both lesions on my face every night before bed, and then in the morning after I showered. Within 3 weeks, the lesion on my forehead completely disappeared, and the lesion on my temple, which is still getting smaller, was reduced to almost one-third the original size.


      Basically, coconut oil softened the seborrheic keratosis and allowed it to break up and disappear. This technique does not work for everyone, but it worked for me.


  1. A healing remedy for mosquito bitesAfter mosquitoes had bitten me on my legs a couple of weeks ago, I experimented with coconut oil. I applied some of my organic, cold-pressed, unprocessed coconut oil on the itchy bites. To my surprise, the itch went away within 15 minutes. I continued applying the oil several times a day for the next couple days. The bites healed quickly with no more itching.


My Results

These are my personal experiences. Although I can’t recommend coconut oil as a cure for your problems, you might want to try it for yourself to see what it might do for you.


The benefits of coconut oil are controversial, but many peer-reviewed research articles show coconut oil is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal (HERE). About 65% of coconut oil is made up of medium chain triglycerides, which provide benefits to the interior of the body (HERE, HERE) and to the surface of the skin (HERE, HERE).


The more I research natural products, the more I am impressed with their potential benefits. My research of coconut oil uncovered many diversified merits of this natural substance. Here is an article that discusses 23 benefits of coconut oil.


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Healthier Mouth … Healthier Lifestyle … Healthier You
Part 1 of 5

evolution rI want to share my ideas that are relevant for a healthier mouth, a healthier lifestyle, and a healthier you! These pearls will just scratch the surface of action steps you might take for yourself and your family. The more members of your immediate group are onboard, the easier it will be to make permanent changes.
Oral Cleaning Techniques:
• Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal especially because of its lauric acid content. It is effective as a mouth rinse (called “coconut oil pulling”). Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish. After 10 minutes, spit out and rinse with water. You can use this as often as you want.
• Two electric toothbrushes that I like are the Sonicare rechargeable toothbrushes and the OralB Electric toothbrushes. I only like the ones that sit in a cradle and plug into the electric outlet. The replaceable battery types don’t provide adequate torque for the bristles to function effectively. Dip the bristles of the brush first into coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature) and then into baking soda. In my bathroom, I have a small jar of coconut oil and a small jar of baking soda. Then place the bristles of the electric brush into the space between the teeth and gum on the cheek side and then the tongue side of the teeth. The idea is to let the soft bristles clean into the gum space between the gum and the tooth just like you might visualize how you would clean the angle where the wall meets the floor with a scrub brush.
• To clean between the teeth, you could use floss. In addition, you could clean between the teeth with a tiny-bristle brush that would clean like a bottlebrush would clean the inside of a bottle. A popular brand is called a Proxabrush®.
Tomorrow I will go over the foods that I believe you should eliminate from your diet and why.

My Gums are Bleeding and Sore

evolution rAbout a year ago I was asked to evaluate a patient who had bleeding gums, which was not responding to daily, good oral hygiene and had not responded to a deep cleaning by the hygienist in his dentist’s office.
This was a 71-year old gentleman who had ongoing gum issues for over 3 years. When I spoke to him, he did not complain of pain all the time, but he explained that his gums would bleed when he brushed his teeth and were a little sore. He wanted a quick fix like an antibiotic.
I told him we first needed to rule out infections and any blood diseases including serious diseases like cancers. As I questioned him, he told me that he had bouts of diarrhea and bloating. He also complained of acid reflux disease for which his medical doctor put him on an acid-reducing prescription. When I questioned him about his eating habits, he told me he had a healthy bowl of oatmeal every morning and usually some pasta dish with dinner. I suggested that some of his problem could come from the grains that he was eating.
He immediately dismissed my idea because he had been eating this way his entire life, and that obviously could not be at the cause of his gum sores. He left my office to seek other opinions.
Then several months later, I saw him again. He had seen an oral surgeon and then his own medical doctor who put him on anti-inflammatory prescription drugs. These meds did not resolve his bleeding gums. He finally allowed me to make my suggestions.
I had him fill out a 3-day food journal listing everything he ate. He also had to write down the frequency of his bowel movements and any exercise he participated in during these three days. When I reviewed his journal with him, we discovered he was eating some type of grain product with every meal as well as every snack. He also realized that he was eating very few green vegetables. Most of his drinks were laden with sugar.
I had him promise to do an experiment for 30 days. Since he had been suffering with bleeding, sore gums for several years, to experiment on himself for 30 days would not be too much to ask of him. He agreed, and here is what I recommended:
• Eliminate all grains – I described the foods that had grains and grain products, which had to be eliminated. I also gave him a list of foods that could be substituted for these grains and snacks. I even included some of my favorite recipes.
• Eliminate all sugary drinks – I recommended various drinks including regular water that he should be drinking.
• I suggested that he begin to take a nutrient-dense supplement of fermented cod liver oil capsules as well as organic kelp powder capsules every day. I gave him resources online where he could purchase them.
• I explained the benefits of coconut oil as an excellent mouthwash. He would place about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in is mouth and swish. At the end of 10 minutes, he would spit it out and rinse with water. He could do that several times a day if he wanted.
• Then, at the end of 30 days, he and I would get back together to see what happened.
To his astonishment, his bleeding gums were significantly better after 30 days – not healed yet, but much better. My further discussions with him were to include improving the bacteria in his gut and continuing to modify his diet to remove all offending items and replace what needed to be there. If necessary at a later date, I would suggest some functional testing to delve into specific cellular problems.

How should you clean your teeth?
Let me count the ways!

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     Nutritional Periodontist
June 15, 2014 (updated January 17, 2020)  

evolution r

When I was a kid going to the dentist, my dentist always told me I had to brush harder. What did that mean? When my family moved to another city, my new dentist told me totally different things about brushing my teeth. Wasn’t there a right way, and wasn’t there a wrong way? Then, when I went to dental school, each faculty member had his special technique that contradicted his peers. How confusing!


The Purpose of Cleaning Your Teeth & How To Do It Right

Everybody knows that bacteria accumulate at the gum line, and unhealthy levels of bacteria can create chemicals that can cause tooth demineralization, tooth decay, and gum inflammation. There have been numerous commercial toothpastes and cleaning devices developed along with many cleaning techniques to help us remove this junk from around our teeth. Each claims superiority; what is an intelligent person to do?


Removing the amounts of unhealthy bacteria from around the tooth is the goal of flossing and brushing. The goal is not to kill all the bacteria in the mouth since much of the bacteria in the mouth are good bacteria. An effective method is to use (1) something to clean between the teeth and (2) a good toothbrush to clean the other surfaces of the teeth. Also, (3) don’t forget your tongue! Do these methods first thing in the morning and last thing at night.


1. Cleaning Between Your Teeth:

I floss between my teeth using dental floss. Think about sliding up and down a pole. That is how the floss wraps around the tooth and slides up and down to scrape away food particles that could get caught between the contacts of the teeth. Also, I always use a small brush that is designed to clean between teeth like a pipe cleaner (one brand is called TePe EasyPick®, another is GUM Soft Pick®). Imagine the small bristles of this tiny brush scrubbing the overgrown bacterial film away as it is pushed in and out between the teeth at the gum line. These small brushes are the best way to remove unhealthy plaque buildup at the base of the tooth and gum margin.


2. Brushing Your Teeth:

I like to use an electric toothbrush like the Sonicare® or the Oral B/Braun® because electric brushes are more efficient, and I am lazy. You do not need to use any toothpaste to brush your teeth effectively. Just brush with filtered water. However, if you want toothpaste, dip the bristles in a little coconut oil (I keep some which stays solid at room temperature in a small jar in my bathroom), and then dip these bristles into a little baking soda (I also keep some in a small jar in the bathroom). Then brush your teeth GENTLY, angling the bristles into the space where the gums meet the teeth on both the cheek side and the tongue side of all teeth. Brush horizontally but GENTLY.


I rarely use a mouthwash, because daily use of an antimicrobial mouthwash will kill bad bacteria as well as good bacteria. Killing good bacteria daily will compromise the health in your mouth and the rest of your body. If you want to use a mouthwash occasionally, use some coconut oil and swish it around for a minute or so. Then, spit it out (called Oil Pulling). If you use coconut oil as a mouthwash, be sure to spit it out into a napkin or paper towel and throw it in the trash. If you spit coconut oil into your sink, it could clog up the pipes!


3. Brushing Your Tongue:

Most of the odor-forming bacteria is located on the top and back areas of your tongue, closest to your throat. An effective way to remove this overgrown bacteria and food remnants causing odor is to use a teaspoon. Place the inverted teaspoon as far back as is comfortable on the upper side of your tongue. Then, gently glide the teaspoon forward, removing the bacterial film and microscopic food particles. Repeat this 2-3 times, and then wash off the teaspoon. Perform this tongue-cleaning method in the morning and then in the evening before bed.


Some “No-Nos”

  • Don’t floss aggressively under the gum tissue. You easily could cut the gum and create a wound. That wound might stay sore and heal like a cleft. Aggressive flossing under the gum also could cause gum recession.
  • A water-pick device can be dangerous. It could force food debris and bacteria deeper under the gum tissues if used on a moderate-to-high pressure setting. Also, the force of the water jet could tear gum tissue cells that are trying to heal inside the gum space.
  • If you drink very acid drinks, the minerals of the tooth could become “softened” until the acid in the mouth returns to normal. I suggest that you don’t brush your teeth right after drinking any acid drink. Research suggests that you wait at least an hour before brushing after drinking an acid drink. It would be a good idea to rinse your mouth with water to help remove the excess acid while your mouth regains its normal acid level.


That’s it – great way to remove unhealthy plaque and other harmful microbes from your mouth.


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