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Oral health

Olive oil for dental caries

Sir, we have read the impressive article by Dr Sanchez and colleagues about the improvement in oral health in 17,777 Spanish athletes in which they observed improvements in Spanish athletes'physical activity being favourably associated with some self-reported oral health correlates.1

Spanish people consume a Mediterranean diet which contains complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seafood, olive oil and dairy.2 Fridell and colleagues have observed that an increase in fruit consumption is associated with an improvement in periodontal health.3 Lipids like vegetable oils can add hydrophobic characteristics to the tooth surface hampering bacterial colonisation and eventually decreasing caries susceptibility.4Olive oil is rich in oleic acid and other phenolic compounds, is useful for enhancing fluoride inhibition of extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) formation by Streptococcus mutans and has a role in preventing biofilm formation.5,6 Therefore olive oil, which is rich in oleic acid, may be useful in the prophylaxis of dental caries and periodontitis to promote oral health.


  1. 1.

    Sanchez G F L, Smith L, Koyanagi A et al. Associations between self-reported physical activity and oral health: a cross-sectional analysis in 17,777 Spanish adults. Br Dent J 2020; 228: 361-365.

  2. 2.

    Moynihan P, Petersen P E. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of dental diseases. Public Health Nutr 2004; 7: 201-226.

  3. 3.

    Fridell S, Ström E, Agebratt C, Leanderson P, Guldbrand H, Nystrom F H. A randomised study in young subjects of the effects of eating extra fruit or nuts on periodontal inflammation. BDJ Open 2018; 4: 17022.

  4. 4.

    Kensche A, Reich M, Kümmerer K et al. Lipids in preventive dentistry. Clin Oral Investig 2013; 17: 669-685.

  5. 5.

    Cai J N, Kim M A, Jung J E, Pandit S, Song K Y, Jeon J G. Effects of combined oleic acid and fluoride at sub-MIC levels on EPS formation and viability of Streptococcus mutans UA159 biofilms. Biofouling 2015; 31: 555-563.

  6. 6.

    Pan S W, Li YG, Su H, Li X, Zhang Y B. Oleic acid impedes adhesion of Porphyromonas gingivalis during the early stages of biofilm formation. Int J Clin Exp Med 2019; 12: 9881-9889.

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Correspondence to M. V. Math or Y. R. Kattimani or S. R. Gawali.

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Math, M., Kattimani, Y. & Gawali, S. Olive oil for dental caries. Br Dent J 229, 73–74 (2020).

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