You may have heard the recent buzz that licorice is actually a healthy candy. This is both partially true and partially untrue.
As far as your teeth are concerned, real licorice promotes a healthy ecosystem in your mouth. This is important because the condition of your mouth helps determine whether cavities will develop In your teeth.
First a Little History
Many of our ancestors used licorice root to keep their teeth clean and anesthetize sore teeth and gums. Licorice root contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which helps reduce tooth decay.
Licorice root has long been used in Chinese and alternative medicine to enhance the efficacy of other herbal remedies. More recently, studies have discovered that two other compounds, licoricidin and licorisoflavan-A, found in dried licorice root, act as an effective antibacterial agent that can prevent or reduce the growth of bacteria connected with tooth decay and gum disease.
Licorice root has been used in recent years to combat a myriad of conditions including:
• Cardiovascular Disease and High Cholesterol
• Menstrual Cramps
• Skin Problems
• Gastric and Abdomen Troubles
Lollipops and Licorice
After a 2009 presentation by University of California, Los Angeles, researcher Wenyuan Shi, Ph.D., revealed that licorice plant extract, when added to lollipops, killed cavity-causing bacteria in children there was bound to be an answer to the call for a cavity killing treat.
Enter Loloz with Cavibloc™, a new lollipop that appealed to kids could help prevent cavities when enjoyed in mornings and at night.There are many different products to choose from for adults who don’t want to eat lollipops, including pure licorice extract. Licorice root can also be used to freshen breath and is a common ingredient in natural toothpastes.
If you try to get the benefits of licorice by eating the candied versions (Twizzlers, etc) you may be disappointed that they don’t even contain licorice root. These candies contain similarly flavored anise oil and lots of sugar that are unhealthy for your teeth.
Glycyrrhizin can be dangerous in excess amounts. Too much of it can cause heart arrhythmias, increase blood pressure, and reduce potassium levels, so be sure to follow directions.
For more information on enhancing you or your child’s home oral health care, call the dental office of Lahair and Gallagher – the gentle and compassionate children’s dentist.