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Can Licorice Prevent Gum Disease

Licorice and Gum Disease

Sounds like a candy lover’s dream, doesn’t it? A sweet treat that fights tooth decay and gum disease! Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that. While reallicorice candy can and at times does contain licorice root, and therefore the two active ingredients that researchers are studying, sadly, the chewy, gooey candy will not keep teeth in great shape — especially as sticky as licorice candy can be! However, it’s still great to see natural extracts being used to treat medical conditions.

The two substances identified in licorice root which have been found to be effective are licoricidin and licorisoflavan A. Both are antibacterial compounds. 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, the leading cause of tooth loss in both children and adults.

Licorice root is commonly used in Chinese medicine to treat everything from respiratory to digestive problems.


Don’t Forget — Infants Need Dental Care, Too!

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recently revised their guidelines on infant oral health. They now recommend infants 6 to 12 months old should to be seen by a dentist. Previously, they recommended professional dental care begin at age one.

Studies have shown that if children experience tooth decay in their baby teeth, they are more likely to develop tooth decay in their permanent teeth. By bringing their child to a dentist at an early age, parents learn about the structure of the child’s mouth, preventative information on infant oral health, and are able to introduce their toddlers to the act of brushing their teeth.

“Infant oral health is the foundation for preventing future tooth decay,” said Paul Casamassimo, DDS, MS, chief of Dentistry at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “If a child experiences tooth decay at an early age, it is a very difficult process to stop. The purpose of this initial visit is not only to introduce these toddlers to visiting the dentist, but also to provide preventative information to prevent tooth decay.”

During a toddler’s first dental visit, parents can expect to meet with a dental hygienist and a dentist. Normally seated in a parent-assisted position (knee-to-knee), the hygienist or dentist will do a brief examination of the toddler’s mouth; they are examining the oral structure of the mouth while also introducing the toddler to the feeling of a toothbrush. After the examination, parents will learn about dental and oral development, fluoride adequacy, teething, non-nutritive habits, injury prevention, dietary information and oral hygiene instructions. The hygienist or dentist will also explain future age-specific needs and dental milestones including scheduling the next appointment.

If your child is under the age of one and has not yet been seen for their first dental exam, give our Ann Arbor dental office a call today at 734-677-2156. We are happy to schedule an appointment, and answer any questions you may have about children’s oral health.


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