Coconut oil seems to be popping up everywhere these days, and not just as a cooking ingredient. It also is commonly found in cosmetic products, particularly where moisturizing properties are desired and beneficial. More and more, it is being suggested as a potential home remedy for a range of illnesses and as a beneficial agent for maintaining overall health and well-being.
It’s little surprise, then, that coconut oil is also being suggested as a home remedy for certain dental and oral health issues. So, is there any truth to the hype about coconut oil for dry mouth? Given the significant discomfort caused by dry mouth and its potential to cause serious oral health complications, it’s reasonable to look for easy, natural remedies for dry mouth. So, could coconut oil be part of that solution?
What is Dry Mouth?
It’s tempting to dismiss dry mouth as nothing more than a minor inconvenience. That’s not the case, though. Dry mouth wreaks havoc in the mouth. It deprives your teeth of the saliva needed to preserve tooth enamel by keeping it mineralized and maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth. Dry mouth occurs more frequently as people get older and in people with certain medical conditions and autoimmune diseases. It’s also a common side effect of many medications, and the more medications you take, the more likely you are to suffer from dry mouth. Having dry mouth is a strong risk factor for developing dental caries (cavities) and should be taken seriously. Besides, having dry mouth is uncomfortable. You shouldn’t suffer needlessly from dry mouth when there are treatment options available.
Is Coconut Oil a Good Moisturizer?
The world of beauty products has considered this question at length. Coconut oil acts as an occlusant. That means that it forms a barrier on the skin that keeps moisture from evaporating. However, it’s not generally thought to act as a humectant—a substance that pulls water into the skin.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Mouth?
Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional practice originating in India, has a long history of using coconut oil for oral health. Proponents of oil pulling claim it improves a whole range of oral health factors, ranging from whiter teeth to cavity resistance. But can oil pulling help with dry mouth?
Given the interest in this traditional practice, there have been several studies looking at the action of coconut oil in the mouth. A 2015 study found that coconut oil in the mouth helped young men reduce plaque and gingivitis and recommended it be considered as a supportive step in addition to standard dental hygiene practices. A 1972 study found lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid, in coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil is the best natural source of lauric acid. More recently, a 2011 study said that coconut oil has strong antimicrobial properties and can be effective in reducing some of the bacteria associated with dental caries. So, studies have suggested the potential for coconut oil to help as part of an oral care routine.
Coconut Oil For Dry Mouth: What You Need to Know
There are plenty of anecdotal accounts of people who have used coconut oil for dry mouth relief, but there is a lack of scientific evidence on the subject. One clinical trial was started, but no results have been made available yet. If coconut oil seems to help, you might consider using it as a home remedy for dry mouth.
There are also alternative dry mouth home remedies to consider. Xylitol is an ingredient with a strong track record both for reducing harmful oral bacteria and combatting dry mouth. If you are seeking evidence-based dry mouth relief, you can try a xylitol chewing gum, knowing that plant-based xylitol is another dry mouth treatment option that can easily fit into your lifestyle.