Aims: Streptococcus mutans is the most common organism causing dental caries. Various chemotherapeutic agents are available that help in treating the bacteria, with each having their own merits and demerits. Recent research has shown that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action. Therefore, the present was conducted to determine the antibacterial efficacy of coconut oil and to compare it with chlorhexidine.
Materials and methods: A total of fifty female children aged 8-12 years were included in the study. Twenty five children were randomly distributed to each group, i.e., the study group (coconut oil) and the control group (chlorhexidine). The participants were asked to routinely perform oil swishing with coconut oil and chlorhexidine and rinse every day in the morning after brushing for 2-3 minutes. S. mutans in saliva and plaque were determined using a chairside method, i.e., the Dentocult SM Strip Mutans test. Patients were instructed to continue oil swishing for 30 days. S. mutans. counts in plaque and saliva on day 1, day 15, and day 30 were recorded and the results were compared using Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks test.
Results: The results showed that there is a statistically significant decrease in S. mutans. count from coconut oil as well as chlorhexidine group from baseline to 30 days. The study also showed that in comparison of coconut oil and chlorhexidine there is no statistically significant change regarding the antibacterial efficacy.
Conclusion: Coconut oil is as effective as chlorhexidine in the reduction of S. mutans.
Keywords: Coconut oil; Streptococcus mutans; dental caries.