Will Licorice in your Diet Help your Teeth?

LicoriceAlternative medicine and modern Western medicine can both claim hits and misses over history. Recent studies seem to validate what ancient Chinese medical professionals have been saying for a long time. Dried licorice root is healthy for your teeth. How is it possible that something as seemingly mild as licorice might benefit oral health? Pella dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Allen will explain what antibacterial properties make licorice root a powerhouse in the fight against periodontal disease and tooth decay.

How Do Cavities Develop?

Understanding the way which cavities form will make it easier to comprehend how certain natural substances might have a positive effect on your oral health. Sucrose (AKA sugar) is found in many of the substances you consume throughout the average day. While obvious sources such as soda, candy, and sweets are jam packed with sugar, there are plenty of hidden sources as well. Breads, pastas, fruits, flour tortillas – anything with starch is easily metabolized into sugar in your mouth. Once inside your mouth, sucrose feeds bacteria which create lactic acid. When this acid mixes with food debris and germs, you have plaque, a filmy white substance that clings to the surfaces of your teeth, demineralizing protective enamel. With weakened tooth enamel, your teeth are more vulnerable to the bacteria which cause cavities.

Licorice Root and Teeth

Licorice is a substance which can benefit your teeth by killing Streptococcus mutans (the bacteria responsible for tooth decay). Licorice root is antibacterial in nature, so not only does it kill tooth decay germs, but it also knocks out the germs which result in periodontal (gum) disease.) Licoricidin and licorisoflavan A are the compounds which make dried licorice powerful in combatting germs in your mouth. Be aware that you will not harness this same power by eating red licorice or black licorice candies which are full of sucrose. Eventually, scientists may find ways to inject the extracts from pure licorice root into dental health care products.

Visit your Pella Family Dentist

If you are due for a checkup and cleaning, you can contact Dr. Jeffrey Allen at (641)628-1121.  Our Pella dental office is happy to provide comprehensive dentistry services to the whole family.