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The ingredient once used in children’s candy is now being touted as a natural dental treatment. As strange as this may sound, studies have shown that liquorice root does contain compounds that are effective in killing bacteria that promote dental cavities and gum disease.

Liquorice (also spelled licorice) root grows in northern mainland China as well as other parts of China, Greece, and Turkey. Traditionally the root was used to alleviate stomach ulcers, digestive issues, respiratory problems, sore throats, and viral infections, like Hepatitis. In the 1930’s and 1940’s it was marketed as candy chews for children, however most of candy manufacturers use anise oil now instead of liquorice root.

Liquorice Root Studies

Liquorice root is now being recognized as a natural treatment for dental care. A study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products indicates that two compounds found in liquorice root may be effective at killing bacterium.

The study led by Dr. Stefan Gafner, from Tom’s of Maine, concluded that two of the compounds, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, killed two of the major bacteria for dental cavities as well as two of the major bacteria that advance gum disease. A third bacterium was killed by licoricidin.

Web MD reported that these and other compounds found in the root were critical for killing the bacteria that results in periodontitis. These compounds could be used to treat or even prevent oral infections.

Liquorice Root Tea

Liquorice Root Tea

It is unknown whether or not the supplement will work after the initial four to six weeks. Liquorice root can also contribute to side effects.  One of the compounds, called glycyrrhizin, is known to raise blood pressure, cause salt and water retention, and lower potassium levels. Pregnant women should avoid liquorice root.

Educate your dentist about using the powerful compounds in liquorice root to kill bacteria and prevent cavities and gum disease naturally.