According to medical experts from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, an unlikely source of nutrition may be a key ingredient in the fight against endemic tooth decay: coconut oil.
Coconuts milks and oils are widely recognized as natural antibiotics, though up until now their dental applications haven't been explored as much. They act to inhibit the growth mechanisms of bacteria. During clinical tests of this theory, researchers found that one particular organism – Streptococcus mutans, a germ that is a significant source of caries and cavities, was especially susceptible to the prepared coconut solution. Additionally, they discovered a reduction in the organism's ability to attach itself to tooth enamel, which contributed to another level of oral protection.
Dr. Damien Brady, one of the lead authors of the study and a researcher for the University of Warwick, spoke about the need for a new approach to dental hygiene that does not involve a cocktail of artificial 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," he said, according to industry news source Phys.org.
While the work is not complete, the discovery offers the potential for a wide array of products that use coconut oil, including a mixture that could help protect intestinal walls from the natural wearing-down caused by bacteria. Though this product is probably several years away from commercial production, it demonstrates the industry's efforts to explore new ways of approaching tooth decay.
For information about protecting mouths from cavities and other oral ailments, contact your family dentist today to learn more.