Can Dried Licorice Root Fight Tooth Decay and Gum Disease?

In Chinese traditional medicine, dried licorice root is a common treatment, especially as an enhancer for other herbal ingredients or as flavoring. Traditional medical practitioners also use the dried root to treat certain ailments, including respiratory and digestive issues. Scientists are now testing whether the reported medicinal properties of the sweet root are valid and have discovered two substances that may aid in the fight against dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. Syosset dentist Dr. Richard Kobak discusses these findings.

Antibacterial Licorice?

A study published in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Journal of Natural Sciences indicates that researchers have discovered two substances in the dried root of licorice that can aid you in the fight against oral infection. They believe these substances, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, can combat oral infections because of their antimicrobial properties. Both substances proved to be highly effective antibacterial agents. They killed two major cavity-causing bacteria and two other bacteria that promote periodontal (gum) disease. The compound licoricidin eliminated a third bacterium also known to cause gum disease. The researchers hope to utilize these substances to treat or prevent oral infections.

Magnesium and Licorice

The discovery of these substances is not the first mention of licorice root being beneficial to your health. Licorice also contains magnesium, which is critical to over 300 biochemical reactions within the human body. Aside from maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, magnesium also regulates blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and helps keep bones strong. Only one percent of magnesium is found in the blood; the rest is divided between your bones and cells of your body tissues and organs.

Ask Your Doctor About Licorice

Although licorice contains substances beneficial to your oral and overall health, you should ask your doctor before taking licorice root. It can have undesirable side effects when mixed with certain prescription medications. To learn more about supplementing your oral health, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kobak, call our Syosset dental office at (516) 433-2211. We welcome patients from Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk, and the surrounding New York City neighborhoods.