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Coconut oil 'fights tooth decay'

Tuesday September 4th 2012

Coconut oil battles the main bacteria behind tooth decay and could find its way into a new wave of dental products, according to new research.

Researchers discovered that when coconut oil was treated with digestive enzymes it stopped the build-up of Streptococcus bacteria, an acid-producing microbe that is a major cause of tooth decay.

The findings, which were presented at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn conference in Warwick, also claimed that the coconut oil attacks the yeast, Candida albicans, which triggers thrush.

Scientists from the Athlone Institute of Technology will now focus their efforts on searching for other microbe strains and yeasts which cause similar bacterial infections.

Dr Damien Brady, the lead researcher, said: "Dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60%-90% of children and the majority of adults in industrialised 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. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection."

Copyright Press Association 2012

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