Licorice Root to Prevent Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

A new study, published in the Journal of Natural  Products indicates that natural licorice is effective in killing the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease.

The researchers found that two specific compounds found in licorice, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, are highly effective antibacterial substances. These substances killed two of the major bacteria responsible for dental cavities and two of the bacteria that promote gum disease. One of the compounds — licoricidin — also killed a third gum disease bacterium. The researchers say that these substances could treat or even prevent oral infections.

And if that means less trips to the dentist….I’m all for it.

However…before you rush out and buy a jumbo bag of Twizzlers, you should be aware that almost all of the licorice candy sold in North America and Europe contains absolutely no licorice root. Commercial producers have replaced it with anise oil.

To find real licorice, you’re going to have to do some leg work and check out health food stores, holistic nutritionists, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners…and of course the internet.

But be aware that licorice root can have undesirable effects, including negative interactions with prescription drugs.


Douglas Robb

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, and a student of nutrition and exercise science. He's also the co-founder of the Hive Health Media. Since 2008, Doug has expanded his impact by bringing his real-world experience online via the health & fitness blog – Health Habits.

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