One too many Bounty chocolate bars could leave you in need of a trip to the dreaded dentist.
But scientists have found that coconut could help fight the main bug behind tooth decay.
Scientists tested coconut oil against Streptococcus mutans – a sugar-loving bacterium that clings to teeth and produces acid causing them to rot.
When the oil was treated with digestive enzymes it became a powerful killer of the bug.
It paves the way for toothpastes and mouthwashes containing coconut as an active ingredient.
Lead researcher Dr Damien Brady, of the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, said: ‘Dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60 to 90 per cent of children and the majority of adults in industrialised countries. Pugh cartoon
‘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.’