You may remember eating licorice candy as a kid. Licorice is used to flavor and sweeten candy, tobacco, and beverages. While you have probably heard that these sweet treats are bad for you, studies have found that compounds isolated from licorice root can actually be beneficial.
Protecting your mouth
Licorice candy is made from the dried root of the licorice plant. Extracts from this root have two compounds that can help inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for causing tooth decay. Chewing licorice root stimulates saliva and helps keep bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
In addition, licorice root extract can help cure canker sores. The herb’s main therapeutic compound, glycyrrhizin, has anti-inflammatory properties. Coating injured mouth tissues can help reduce pain and regenerate tissue cells to promote quicker healing.
Healing your body
Licorice has been used in Chinese medicines for many years, but is often overlooked as an herbal remedy. Licorice root compounds can help fight inflammation, viruses, and health complications. The herb can soothe inflamed membranes and provide discomfort relief. Glycyrrhizin helps stop the growth of many bacteria and viruses. Licorice root acts as an expectorant, used in many cough medicines. Here are some common conditions that licorice root can help fight:
- Common colds
- Sore throat
- Liver disease
- Skin irritation
- Viral infections
Although licorice root is effective in curing ailments, licorice candy is not very effective as a therapeutic agent because the licorice content is very low, and the sugar content is high. But if you’re planning to celebrate Hard Candy Day on December 19, celebrate with a lollipop that contains licorice root.
Be careful—licorice won’t solve all your dental problems. Ask Dr. Stewart if licorice root can help you. Contact our dental office in Livonia, MI at (734) 425-4400 to schedule an appointment. We welcome families from the surrounding areas of Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Novi, Dearborn, Redford, and other nearby communities.