Bacteriologists have discovered that modified coconut oil can halt the growth of the bacterium Streptococcus, which is one of the major causes of tooth decay. The research, reported by News.com
, was undertaken by the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland.
In carrying out the work, the research team looked at coconut oil, vegetable oil and olive oil and treated each with enzymes. The idea was to use the enzymes to produce chemicals which could work against bacteria.
The study, according to the BBC
, indicated that coconut oil was the most effective at fighting bacteria, especially the species Streptococcus mutans
, which is the major cause of tooth decay due to its ability to produce acid.
The announcement was made by the lead researcher, Dr Damien Brady, at the Society for General Microbiology's
annual conference. The scientist speculated that coconut oil could one day become a component of toothpaste and mouthwash.
Dr Brady was quoted by the Daily Mail
as saying: “Dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60 to 90 per cent 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.”
Further research indicates that the modified coconut oil can also be used to combat the yeast which causes thrush.