The best defense against acidic substances that cause tooth decay in your mouth is of course your saliva, but a recent study suggests that coconut oil may also help against potentially harmful bacteria that can take up residence inside your mouth.
Scientists from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland tested the antibacterial qualities of coconut oil in and found that an enzyme-modified version was able to strongly inhibit most strains of Streptococcus bacteria including Streptococcus mutans; the latter is an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay. It was also found to be effective against the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush (bacteria overgrowth) in the mouth.
Tooth decay, in particular, is a major problem because of poor dental habits. According to recent research from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 50-percent of children ages 12 to 15 and 67 percent of teens ages 16 to 19 have tooth decay.
The Irish Researchers recommended that the oil be added to dental hygiene products, considering that it can work at relatively low concentrations in fighting the widespread tooth decay problem. Some people have also utilized the technique of oil pulling in a bid to reduce exposure to harmful bacteria in the mouth, which consists of swishing around coconut oil or other oils with water in an effort to kill the bacteria before spitting it out. The American Dental Association currently has not made a recommendation on the technique or coconut oil’s benefits for fighting tooth decay, however.
For now, the best way to prevent tooth decay is to make sure to thoroughly brush all of your teeth twice a day, floss every day and make regular visits to your dentist for a check-up as well as a full service teeth cleaning.