- An Irish research team has treated coconut oil with enzymes to create a product that halts the growth of Streptococcus bacteria which causes tooth decay. It also attacks thrush-causing yeast.
- More research is planned to understand how the modified coconut oil interacts with bacteria at the molecular level, although it is thought that enzymes breaking down the fatty coconut oil result in acids that are effective against Streptococcus.
- In industrialised countries, tooth decay is seen in up to 90% of children. If a commercialised product could be developed with ‘natural’ ingredients such as coconut oil and achieve a reduction this rate of tooth decay, the product may prove popular with parents.
As antibiotic resistance increases, alternative approaches such as this may become even more exciting as a tool to combat harmful microbes. Consumers may also begin to seek additives such as coconut oil, as opposed to traditional chemical additives.