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Published on September 4, 2012

From popcorn to dental care products

Have you guessed what it is yet? We’re referring to the use of coconut oil. As strange as it may seem, the oil receives a lot of bad press – just last week I was at the cinema and ate a medium bag of popcorn, often viewed as a relatively healthy snack, to later find out the coconut oil used to pop the popcorn is highly calorific, a massive 1800 calories per bag!

However – recent research has found that regardless of the high calorie count, coconut oil could be used to help fight tooth decay. Researchers from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, have found that when coconut oil has been treated with enzymes it actively stops the growth of Streptococcus bacteria, a major cause of tooth decay.

Tooth decay is one of the most widespread health problems in the UK, with an estimated 31% of adults suffering from the condition, 31% of children starting school also suffering and around 1/3 of children aged 12 also have visible signs of tooth decay. With worrying stats and modern diets having a great impact on the health of the nation’s teeth – coconut oil could provide the answer we all need.

So how does it work?

After treating various oils with enzymes, to produce a similar process to digestion, the research team found that the breaking down of fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids which are active against bacteria. The oil showed an ability to prevent most strains of bacteria, including Streptococcus.

Could this be the breakthrough dentistry needs or does the calorific coconut oil pose more problems than solutions? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

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