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Does modified coconut oil help prevent cavities?

May 06, 2013

Harmful saturated fat or new health food?
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Don't look now, but after being savaged in the mid-1990’s as a harmful saturated fat that was bad for you in numerous ways, coconut oil is suddenly back as a health food.  Advocates today cite that coconut oil helps regulates the blood sugar of diabetics, assists with weight loss, is good for skin and hair and even slows the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease as just a few of its health benefits.

One study has found yet another benefit to coconut oil: when treated with certain enzymes coconut oil was able to stop tooth decay.

Scientists from Ireland’s Athlone Institute of Technology reported in a general microbiology conference that the enzyme-modified coconut oil inhibited the growth of Streptococcus mutans – the acid-producing bacteria long known to be a major cause of tooth decay. The enzyme was modified in testing to mimic what happens to coconut oil after it’s digested.

The research was inspired by earlier studies on enzyme-modified milk that reduced the clinginess of tooth decay bacteria to tooth enamel.

Researchers believe that enzyme modified coconut oil shows potential as a practical anti-microbial that could benefit the oral health industry. “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, study researcher.

Last year Dental Wire reported on Theodent, the maker of cocoa-based toothpaste whose proprietary ingredient, Rennou™, was reportedly better at strengthening tooth enamel than fluoride. If further studies on the oral benefits of enzyme-modified coconut oil prove fruitful, could coconut-based toothpaste be far behind?

Sources: Huffington Post, Dr. Oz, Eureka Alert

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