Monday, 4 May 2015

The Science Behind Cocowhite (and Product Review)

Bottom Left is from the first day of using Cocowhite. Bottom Right is after using Cocowhite for 5 days.

Teeth Whitening has become a bit of a craze in the last few years. More and more celebrities are using home whitening kits and showing off their pearly whites, causing the market for these kits to become huge. One of the popular choices is Cocowhite (http://www.cocowhite.com). So do these kits work? And if they do, are there any scientific claims behind them?





Well, we get yellow teeth, as well as bad breath and other problems, from dental plaque which forms on the surface of our teeth. Dental plaque is quite simply lots of different bacteria that live in the mouth quite naturally, and are called healthy flora. However, in a build-up of dental plaque, this healthy normal bacteria may turn into diseased bacteria and cause all sorts of problems, like staining.

The reason why it is so hard to get rid of this staining is because the bacteria on the surface of your teeth form something called a biofilm (this is the dental plaque). This is when the bacteria come together and act as a community, with a gel layer called slime surrounding them. Biofilms cannot be removed by antibiotics or detergents, like toothpaste or antimicrobial mouthwashes, meaning that no matter how much you brush your teeth they will still look yellowish.

Cocowhite uses a technique called oil-pulling to naturally whiten your teeth.  Scientists (Thaweboon et al, 2011) researched the effectiveness of oil-pulling against bacteria in biofilms. They found that coconut oil has antimicrobial activity, with the oil becoming a kind of soap that removes the plaque materials[1]. The exact mechanism of how coconut oil stops the bacteria is unclear, but it is thought to cause changes in the bacteria that leads to the death of the bacteria[1]. The conclusion of this study was that oil-pulling could probably be used as a home therapy to maintain oral hygiene[1].

So following on from this, I put my money where my mouth is (literally) and tried Cocowhite out for myself. The picture on the bottom right was taken after 5 days of using Cocowhite, and even though there isn't a massive difference I can tell my teeth are whiter. I still have over a week to go so finger's crossed I get even better results then. Actual using Cocowhite does take some getting used to, and it is really hard to swirl it around for 15 minutes, but after a few days, I got the hang of it. I'm glad I tried it out, but I don't think I would buy a subscription.

If you would like to read the research paper behind oil-pulling yourself you can click this link
http://www.asiaph.org/admin/img_topic/6096Sroisiri.pdf.



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References:
1. Sroisiri Thaweboon, Jurai Nakaparksin, Boonyanit Thaweboon, Effect of Oil-Pulling on Oral Microorganisms in Biofilm Models (2011), Asia Journal of Public Health, Vol.2, No. 2.



Disclaimer: All opinions in this article are my own and I have not received anything from the researchers or Cocowhite. I give full credit to Sroisiri Thaweboon, Jurai Nakaparksin, Boonyanit Thaweboon for their research paper and do not take any of this as my own research.