Preventing Tooth Decay

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 07 January 2012
  • Copyright: WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Journal of Natural Products/ACS
thumbnail image: Preventing Tooth Decay

Stefan Gafner, Tom’s of Maine, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, and colleagues identified two substances in Chinese licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch., Fabaceae) — used extensively in Chinese traditional medicine — that kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss in children and adults.

The two licorice compounds, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, were the most effective antibacterial substances. They killed two of the major bacteria responsible for dental cavities (Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus) and two of the bacteria that promote gum disease (Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia). Licoricidin also killed a third gum disease bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum. The researchers say that these substances could treat or even prevent oral infections.

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