Great news for coconut lovers: coconut oil may help prevent tooth decay. A new study conducted at the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland recently discovered that coconut oil treated with enzymes similar to those used in digestion may stop the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that cause cavities.
Researchers tested both regular coconut oil and enzyme-treated coconut oil against different forms of Streptococcus. During this test, they found that the enzyme-treated oil ceased the growth of the bacteria. The tests also concluded that the oil is harmful to the yeast that causes oral thrush and other infections, called Candida albicans.
The coconut oil, researchers found, contains natural antibiotic properties that strongly inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth. The enzyme-treated oil was the most effective in stopping the growth of the bacteria completely.
According to study researcher Dr. Damien Brady, these findings could lead to a new approach in dental care 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. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection,” Brady stated.
Coconut oil has also been known to help whiten teeth and maintain the health of the gums. “Oil pulling” is a method of rinsing your mouth with coconut oil for several minutes in order to eliminate gum problems, and even helps to brighten your smile. With this newly discovered added bonus, new wave of coconut dental products may be on the horizon.
Additional benefits of coconut oil include:
- Healthy growth of hair and added shine
- Relief for a dry scalp
- Effective moisturizer on all types of skin
- Delays wrinkles and skin sagging
- Helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- Increases body metabolism
- Strengthens the immune system
- Repairs damaged tissues, speeding up the healing process
- Prevents liver, kidney, and gall bladder diseases
- Controls blood sugar
- Improves the body’s ability to absorb minerals
- Relieves stress
Coconut oil isn’t the only source of benefits from the tropical food. Coconut milk is a popular dairy alternative, and has been found to have many health benefits as well. Coconut water has also become a beneficial and trendy beverage in recent years. If the coconut craze isn’t for you, check out this list of less unusual foods and drinks that are good for teeth.