The use of coconut oil has long been synonymous with thick shiny hair and a healthy heart. But a recent study by researchers at the Athlon Institute of Technology’s Bio-science Research Institute in Ireland has shed light on an overlooked use of coconut oil in the field of dental care.
Coconuts are one of the most nutritionally rich foods on the planet and have been a dietary staple for people living in tropical regions for centuries. Coconut is a natural weapon against many harmful types of bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Due to their antimicrobial properties, coconuts, especially their oil, have had a very positive effect on human health. Adding to the list of benefits is the effect of coconut oil on our teeth.
Dr. Damien Brady Views on Coconut Oil for Dental Health
In the opinion of Dr. Damien Brady, the lead researcher, dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting around 60-90% of children and a majority of adults in industrialized countries. Dr. Brady and his team set out to test coconut oil’s bacteria obliterating properties against the bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay, specifically against Streptococcus bacteria which are among the most common oral bacteria in humans. Tests were conducted for the coconut oil in both the natural and also the semi-digested state. The digested state was achieved by adding enzymes to the oil in a process resembling the digestive process.
During the 1930′s it was discovered that people who drank water with naturally occurring fluoride had significantly less cavities and tooth decay than individuals without access to fluoridated water. The fluoridation of our water supply began during the 1940′s in Michigan. Fluoridation involves optimizing the natural fluoride in water to levels that will help protect teeth. One part per million fluoride is now added to drinking water. Currently, almost two-thirds of U.S. cities have fluoridated water. Studies have shown that the fluoride contained in drinking water reduces the potential for cavities and other forms of tooth decay by as much as 35% in adults and 60% in babies.
These days however, many people prefer drinking bottled and purified water. These products have insufficient amounts of fluoride to stop tooth decay. Children in particular require sufficient amounts of fluoride to protect their teeth. Fluoride is also important for individuals who eat large amounts of carbohydrates and sugars, have a history of tooth decay, wear braces, or have bridges and crowns.
After brushing, fluoride is considered the most effective method of maintaining healthy teeth. It is generally considered safe, but toxic reactions can occur if too much fluoride is consumed over a long period of time. This can include tooth enamel discoloration (dental fluorosis), as well as joint pain.
If you need to increase the amount of fluoride you consume, ask your dentist about taking fluoride tablets or drops. Bottled water with fluoride can also be purchased, and there are purification systems available that will not eliminate fluoride when purifying the water. Your oral health care should also include brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist to remove plaque and prevent the need for further cosmetic dentistry.