Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Whiten Teeth

Jun 30, 2017 06:26PM

the Natural Way

by Amanda Persuitte

Many people are unaware that most commercial whitening and oral hygiene products and costly professional whitening treatments do not yield lasting results and are generally damaging to teeth, gums and nerves. Chemical-based, unnatural bleaching agents affect the outer layer of teeth, but don’t actually remove stains or improve the condition of the teeth.

The enamel is a protective layer of minerals, and Clifton Carey, Ph.D., a dental professor, writes in the Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice, “Aggressive bleaching with high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide office-based products causes enamel softening, surface roughness and an increase in the susceptibility of the tooth to demineralization.”

With repeated heavy exposure to abrasives and harsh antibacterial and bleaching agents, we may experience erosion of the enamel and decay of the outer tooth layer. However, this situation is not necessarily a dead end for those seeking optimum oral health and a pearly grin; it can be a doorway to a realm of fulfilling natural solutions.

A healthy mouth is the result of a vigorous oral care regimen comprising regular flossing, brushing and swishing. There are also natural ways to enhance this daily ritual. Oil swishing is a holistic and medicinal mouthwash alternative that dates back thousands of years. We take a loaded tablespoon of coconut, sesame or sunflower oil in the mouth and swish it around like mouthwash for 15 to 20 minutes per day.

Also called oil “pulling”, swishing with oil is a gentle and effective solution to the harmful and often expensive commercial whitening and cleansing products. In the Indian Journal of Dental Research, Sharath Asokan writes, “It is five to six times more cost-effective than the commercially available mouthwashes.”

While there is not an over-abundance of research on this method, the existing body of studies heavily supports it as a supplement. Dentist Jessica Emery, DMD, states in Dentistry IQ, “There isn’t a more natural preventative rinse than oil pulling with refined coconut oil. When you consider the harsh chemicals in most mouthwashes, it makes the practice particularly appealing to me.”

After swishing for several minutes, the oil draws microbes and toxins out of gums and teeth like a magnet. It breaks down plaque to be easily brushed away and prevents tartar, helping defend against gum disease and tooth decay. Consistent swishing lifts stains and prevents further staining by keeping the tartar and bacteria that yellow the teeth away. When using this method, remember to avoid spitting the oil into a sink or toilet because it could clog the drain; never swallow the oil because it becomes contaminated with bacteria once in the mouth; and always brush immediately after swishing to remove leftover plaque.

It’s important to cleanse and whiten gently because the less harshness we expose the teeth to, the less time we have to spend later on gum and nerve sensitivity and eroding teeth. While white teeth are a goal for most, so too should be the prevention of decaying enamel and long-term dental damage. The benefits to oil swishing are manifold and can only improve the condition of our oral well-being.


Amanda Persuitte is a local blogger who researches and writes on natural health, ethical, social and global issues. Visit her blog at 


Upcoming Events Near You
Current Issue


Global Brief
Health Brief
Join Our Email List

Receive Digital Magazine and Special Offers

* indicates required
Email Format

Receive Digital Magazine, Special Offers and Advertising Information

* indicates required
Email Format