Researchers think that coconut oil may be of great interest to the oral health industry in the future because a new study has found that its natural antibiotic properties strongly inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause oral infections. The researchers suggest that the oil could be integrated into commercial dental consumer products to combat tooth decay.
In particular, the researchers discovered that coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes similar to those found in the digestive tract was most effective in blocking the development of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, which is a major cause of tooth decay.
Additional tests revealed that the same enzyme-modified variant of coconut oil was also harmful to Candida albicans, the yeast that causes oral thrush, among others.
“Dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60 to 90 per cent of children and the majority of adults in industrialised countries,” said Dr Damien Brady, 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.
The research was carried out at the Athlone Institute of Technology’s Bioscience Research Institute.
The findings were presented on 3 September at the Society for General Microbiology’s autumn conference at the University of Warwick.
Original Source: The Dental Tribune