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Study: Lollipops May Prevent Tooth Decay

a girl with a lollipop

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How’s that for a headline:  “Lollipops may prevent tooth decay.”  If you are like me the reaction is no way; however, it is not just any lollipop that will do the trick.

According to the European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, sugar-free lollipops that contain licorice root ” significantly reduced the bacteria that causes tooth decay, specifically in pre-school children with high-risk of tooth decay”.

Medical News Today reports:

The study, funded by the Research and Data Institute of the affiliated companies of Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Mexico and North Carolina, analyzed 66 preschool students ages 2 to 5 enrolled in the Greater Lansing Area Head Start Program. Each student received a lollipop for 10 minutes twice daily for three weeks…

Results showed a significant reduction in Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), the primary bacteria responsible for tooth decay, during the three-week period when the lollipops were being used and lasting for an additional 22 days before beginning to rebound.

Using a saliva test, the amount of S. mutans in the patient’s mouth was measured before and during the three-week period where lollipops were used, as well as for several weeks thereafter.

“The use of the licorice root lollipops is an ideal approach as it will stop the transfer and implantation of the bacteria that cause dental decay from mothers to their infants and toddlers,” said Martin Curzon, editor-in-chief, European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. “It also has the merit of being a low cost-high impact public dental health measure.”

I have never seen lollipops that contain licorice root, but I wish I would have known about this when my son was really little. He had early childhood caries, to which the dentist attributed to nighttime breastfeeding. I, of course, refuted this cause.

I used to chew on licorice root when I was in my early twenties. Little did I know this was beneficial for my teeth.  Licorice root is great for sore throats and canker sores.  It has many often “overlooked” benefits.  Herb Wisdom reports:

Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds and is an excellent alternative to St. John’s Wort. As a herbal medicine it has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal wonders. Licorice is useful for many ailments including asthma, athlete’s foot, baldness, body odor, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, colds and flu, coughs, dandruff, emphysema, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, viral infections, fungal infections, ulcers, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendinitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, prostate enlargement and arthritis.

Let  me know if you find any licorice root, sugar-free lollipops. I think I will pick up some licorice root for my kids to chew on in the mean time.

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  1. Anyone know if licorice tea would have the same effect? My dd is too little for hard candies or chewing straight licorice root, but she does love tea.

  2. Hi!

    I just wanted to tell you that there is one broken link in one of the links in this post.

    I think that it may be this one but anyway it was a good read so I thought to add in in the comments


  3. I would be reluctant to give my child a sugar-free lollipop if it contains artificial sweetener.

  4. Please fill us in!!! Who sells licorice root sweetened lollipops? We are anxious to purchase these!!!


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