Dried licorice root fights tooth decay, gum disease

Scientists have identified two substances in licorice that kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and periodontal disease, according to a study in the Journal of Natural Products (December 2011, Vol. 74:12, pp. 2514-2519).

To test whether the sweet root could combat the bacteria that cause periodontal disease and caries, a team of international researchers from both industry and academia examined the various substances in licorice.

They found that two licorice compounds, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, were the most effective antibacterial substances. These substances killed two of the major bacteria responsible for caries and two of the bacteria that promote periodontal disease. Licoricidin lso killed a third periodontal disease bacterium.

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