Tags: licorice | root | cavities | teeth | bacteria

Licorice Chemical Protects Teeth: Study

By    |   Wednesday, 20 May 2015 12:47 PM

A chemical compound found in licorice root has been shown to stop oral bacteria that cause tooth decay.

The findings, published in the journal Chemical Communications, suggest the compound — known as trans-chalcone — may offer a natural alternative to chemical toothpaste to improve oral health, combat the buildup of plaque, and block the growth of bacteria that thrive in cavities.

"We were delighted to observe that trans-chalcone inhibited [oral bacterial growth,” said lead researcher Dominic Campopiano, M.D., of the University of Edinburgh's School of Chemistry.

“We are expanding our study to include similar natural products and investigate if they can be incorporated into consumer products. This exciting discovery highlights the potential of this class of natural products in food and healthcare technologies."

The new study, supported by Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and the University of Edinburgh, found that trans-chalcone blocks the action of a key enzyme that allows the bacteria to cause cavities.

The bacteria —- Streptococcus mutans — metabolize sugars from food and drinks, producing a mild acid that leads to the formation of plaque. Without good dental hygiene, the combination of plaque and mouth acid can lead to tooth decay.

Researchers found that blocking the activity of the enzyme prevents bacteria forming a protective biological layer — known as a biofilm — around themselves, allowing them to thrive.

Developing oral care products that contain trans-chalcone or similar natural compounds could help people improve their dental hygiene, researchers say.

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A natural compound found in licorice root has been shown to stop oral bacteria that cause tooth decay.
licorice, root, cavities, teeth, bacteria
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 12:47 PM
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