Coconut Oil Cracks Down on Cavities


Along the shorelines, among the most tropical regions, coconuts are being swept up to use for eating, drinking, skin care, and now for cavity prevention.  The Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland discovered that coconut oil prevents the growth of decay on our pearly whites and could be used as an alternative to chemical additives in dental hygiene products.  Periodontal Associates does not want to see everyone in Denver, CO throwing out their toothpaste quite yet; however, this research does offer some great insight on future oral home care.

The researchers in this study tested this theory on multiple strains of bacteria called streptococcus, which is located in our mouth.  Both the raw coconut and coconut oils were used to determine which forms were more effective at bacteria growth prevention.  The oil, however, was treated with extra enzymes in order to simulate the coconut in the digested state.

The conclusion? The digested coconut, or the oil, was the more powerful of the two forms. The coconut oil inhibited the majority of the strains of the bacteria like streptococcus and candida albicans.  The first, Streptococcus, is a very common tooth decay causing bacteria while candida albicans is yeast that also results in an infection within the mouth called thrush.


“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,” Brady, associate director of the Bioscience Research Institute at the Athlone Institute, said. “Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection.”

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman understand how important it is to find effective weapons in fighting bacteria and preventing decay as the number of individuals with decay are increasing daily, both children and adults.  Dental caries affect anywhere between 60% and 90% of children in industrialized countries, which means this is happening in the Denver metro area too.

Brady said he and his colleagues hope to further investigate which other bacteria and yeast the coconut oil might be effective against, as well as, exactly how the oil and other enzyme-modified foods interfere with the processes by which bacteria cause disease.

For now, Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman suggest routine cleanings, regular brushing and flossing at home, as well as avoiding sugary foods are the best bet to keep tooth decay at bay.  If you have any questions regarding the oral hygiene products you use, please call us at (303) 755-4500, click here for an appointment, or visit our website at  for more information.  Periodontal Associates serves patients all over the Denver, CO area, and would be happy to get you started or keep you on the right path for excellent dental health.