New Cavity Fighter is…Coconut Oil?

We’ve had numerous posts that have been full of warnings and possible scare tactics to convince everyone to do the things every dentist and dental hygienist will urge you to do: brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and get your teeth cleaned twice a year. Let’s turn to something a bit more uplifting, such as a new discovery in a common item that could help prevent cavities. A research team in Ireland has found that the natural antibiotic properties of coconut oil can significantly prevent the growth of bacteria known to cause oral infections. As a result, the researchers believe that integrating coconut oil into dental products, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, etc., could fight against tooth decay and prevent cavities.

More specifically in their research, the team discovered that coconut oil itself is treated with enzymes similar to enzymes found in the digestive tract that prevents most strains of streptococcus bacteria from growing.Streptococcus bacteria, especially streptococcus mutans strain, are infamous for causing tooth decay and cavities. In addition, the study found that enzyme-treated coconut oil also combat candida albicans, the yeast that causes oral thrush and other oral infections.

“Dental caries are a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60 to 90 percent of children and the majority of adults in industrialized countries,” said Dr. Damien Brady, one of the researchers who lectures in Microbiology, Environmental Science, and Veterinary Medicine. “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,” he added.

Something as natural and as non-harmful as coconut oil would most definitely be an “attractive alternative” to chemicals that can be harsh and present unwanted side effects. Not to mention, it wouldn’t be very expensive to add coconut oil to any commercial products, for consumer use or for dentists.

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