Coconut oil may successfully fend off tooth decay.
It can be considered an antibiotic and could be incorporated into dental care products to combat the bacteria associated with tooth decay, according to scientists at the Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference at the University of Warwick.
A team of researchers from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland tested the contents of the coconut oil in its natural form and then compared it to coconut oil that was treated with enzymes. The process was similar to digestion. The oils were then compared to strains of Streptococcus bacteria that are common in the mouth.
The results of the study indicated that the enzyme-modified coconut oil was a major inhibitor to the growth of many strains of the Streptococcus bacteria.
Previous studies have demonstrated that partially digested foodstuffs are active against some micro-organisms. Enzyme-modified milk was even shown to limit the binding of Streptococcus mutans to tooth enamel. That’s why the researchers wanted to study the impact of other enzyme-modified foods on bacteria.
More work will be done to study the way in which coconut oil interacts with Streptococcus bacteria at the molecular level. Enzyme-modified coconut oil has also been able to make an impact on the yeast Candida albicans.
If this information ends up being true across the board, coconut oil will have a major positive impact on dentistry.