Coconut oil may help fight tooth decay

Coconut oil may help fight tooth decay

Coconut oil is the oil of choice when it comes to mouth health and a process called oil pulling.

It also makes a great ingredient for homemade toothpaste.

Digested coconut oil has the ability to kill bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay. Because of its natural antibiotic properties, coconut oil could be incorporated into dental products, scientists from Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference at the University of Warwick believe. 

The research team from Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland analyzed the antibacterial properties of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil treated with enyzmes to simulate digestion.

Both of the oils were tested on Streptococcus bacteria, which are often found in the mouth. The team found that the oil treated with enzymes stopped the growth of more bacteria strains.

Further studies are to be conducted to understand the details of how the coconut oil kills Streptococcus, and what other strains of bacteria it may be potent against. With additional research, the Athlone team also found that coconut oil was effective against Candida albicans, which can cause thrush, an infection in the mouth.

The research team belives that this modified coconut oil prove very useful in the oral healthcare industry. “Dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60-90% of children and the majority of adults in industrialized countries. Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection,” explained Dr. Damien Brady, the lead researcher of the study.

The findings also shed light on the body’s own anti-bacterial mechanisms. “Our data suggests that products of human digestion show antimicrobial activity. This could have implications for how bacteria colonize the cells lining the digestive tract and for overall gut health,” said Dr. Brady. “Our research has shown that digested milk protein not only reduced the adherence of harmful bacteria to human intestinal cells but also prevented some of them from gaining entrance into the cell. We are currently researching coconut oil and other enzyme-modified foodstuffs to identify how they interfere with the way bacteria cause illness and disease,” he added.

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How to make your own coconut oil.
For the medicinal properties of coconut oil.
For a homemade coconut oil toothpaste.

1. “Coconut Oil Could Combat Tooth Decay.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.|
2. “Coconut Oil Could Combat Tooth Decay.” Alpha Galileo. Society for General Microbiology, 30 Aug. 2012. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.

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