Coconut oil attacks the bacteria that causes tooth decay and could be used in dental products, according to a new study published today (Monday).
Scientists found that when coconut oil is treated with digestive enzymes, it attacked the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which is a major cause of tooth decay.
The researchers from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland treated coconut oil, vegetable oil and olive oil with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion.
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The oils were then tested against Streptococcus bacteria and only the enzyme-modified coconut oil showed an ability to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus bacteria.
Now scientists say coconut oil could be added to dental hygiene products.
"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,” said Dr Damien Brady, who led the study.
Tooth decay affects 60 to 90 per cent of children in industrialised countries.
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Previous tests have found that coconut oil also attacks the yeast that causes thrush.
It’s not the first time coconut oil has had good press regarding its health properties. Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr revealed she’s addicted to the stuff.“I will not go a day without coconut oil. I personally take four tablespoons per day, either on my salads, in my cooking or in my cups of green tea,” said the model.