Licorice in Toothpaste

medium_52661498It’s dark! It’s tasty! It’s a little yummy! Licorice has become one of the biggest choices of toothpaste flavors and components for as long as dental care has been around. The extract of this humble root not only makes for a popular sweet, but also has its own special cavity-fighting properties.

We have the ancient Chinese to thank for in this regard. In the anecdotes of traditional Chinese medicine, records have shown that licorice not only helps combat oral and dental diseases, but also helps the healing attributes of other herbs become more efficacious.

Modern medicine now reveals there is a deep-set truth to these ancient observations. The chemical components in licorice, namely licoricidin and licorisoflavadan A, fight oral bacteria that causes caries and gum disease. At present, some licorice toothpastes are simply flavored with anise oil, so it would be best to check the labels carefully to make sure you get the right stuff.

photo credit: Luca Zappa via photopin cc