Coconut Oil Shows Oral Care Benefits

September 10, 2012

Enzyme-treated coconut oil may inhibit a bacterium known to cause tooth decay.

Enzyme-treated coconut oil may help fight against tooth decay, says research presented at the Society for General Microbiology autumn meeting in Ireland.

Researchers from Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland tested the antibacterial activity of coconut oil on Streptococcus species. They found that, when compared to coconut oil in its natural state, enzyme-treated coconut oil significantly reduced Streptococcus species including Streptococcus mutans, a species known for causing tooth decay.

The researchers tested enzyme-treated coconut oil to mimic coconut oil after its normal human digestion. Previous research on foods such as milk has shown antibacterial effect when foods were partially digested or treated with enzymes.

Now, the Athlone Institute of Technology team thinks coconut oil should be considered for dental care products:

 

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.