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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Digested coconut oil a natural antibiotic for tooth decay

Digested coconut oil is a natural antibiotic that may help to fight tooth decay, say scientists from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland.
The scientists presented their data at the Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference taking place this week at the University of Warwick.
Streptococcus bacteria are common inhabitants of the mouth, and so the team tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil against strains of this bacteria.
Two versions of coconut oil were used in the study: coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion.
Previous studies have shown that partially digested foodstuffs are active against micro-organisms, and the researchers’ earlier work on enzyme-modified milk showed that it was able to reduce the binding of S. mutans to tooth enamel, which prompted the group to investigate the effect of other enzyme-modified foods on bacteria.
As hypothesized, only the enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibited the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria including Streptococcus mutans – an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay.
Enzyme-modified coconut oil could be incorporated into commercial dental care products as a natural antimicrobial, said Dr. Damien Brady who is leading the research.

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