There's a new study from the American Chemical Society (ACS) that has shown that the properties in dried licorice root can actually kill the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. This same licorice root is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine as flavoring and to help enhance the potency of other ingredients.
You are probably most familiar with licorice as a beloved candy. What is not commonly known is that although we still name this well-known candy licorice here in the U.S., it is not actually licorice. The real ingredient that gives the candy its licorice flavor is the oil of anise.
The licorice addressed in this study is an actual dried licorice root used by natural health practitioners for medical conditions and illnesses (mainly respiratory and digestive). It is important to note that modern medicine has not approved the use of licorice as a treatment for any ailment and patients should always speak with their doctors prior to taking any herbal supplement.
The properties in dried licorice root that appear to play a role in fighting tooth decay and gum disease are known as licoricidin and licorisoflavan A. ACS has shown that these substances have proven effective at killing two of the bacteria that causes cavities as well as the bacteria that causes gum disease.
This is exciting information for both the dental professional and patient. If we can safely and effectively kill the bacteria which causes 80% of dental problems, then imagine what that would mean for the many children and adults who do not have regular access to routine dental care.