Original Article

International Journal of Oral Science (2011) 3, 13–20; doi:10.4248/IJOS11005

Development and evaluation of a safe and effective sugarfree herbal lollipop that kills cavitycausing bacteria

Chuhong Hu1, Jian He1, Randal Eckert2, Xiaoyang Wu1, Lina Li1, Yan Tian1, Renate Lux1, Justin A Shuffer1, Faina Gelman1, Janet Mentes3, Sue Spackman1, Janet Bauer1, Maxwell H Anderson2 and Wenyuan Shi1

  1. 1School of Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
  2. 2C3 Jian Inc, Inglewood, USA
  3. 3UCLA School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Correspondence: Wenyuan Shi, Fax: 001 310 794 7109 E-mail: wenyuan@ucla.edu

Received 8 August 2010; Accepted 6 September 2010

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Abstract

Dental caries (tooth decay) is caused by a specific group of cariogenic bacteria, like Streptococcus mutans, which convert dietary sugars into acids that dissolve the mineral in tooth structure. Killing cariogenic bacteria is an effective way to control or prevent tooth decay. In a previous study, we discovered a novel compound (Glycyrrhizol A), from the extraction of licorice roots, with strong antimicrobial activity against cariogenic bacteria. In the current study, we developed a method to produce these specific herbal extracts in large quantities, and then used these extracts to develop a sugarfree lollipop that effectively kills cariogenic bacteria like Streptococcus mutans. Further studies showed that these sugarfree lollipops are safe and their antimicrobial activity is stable. Two pilot human studies indicate that a brief application of these lollipops (twice a day for ten days) led to a marked reduction of cariogenic bacteria in oral cavity among most human subjects tested. This herbal lollipop could be a novel tool to promote oral health through functional foods.

Keywords:

antimicrobial therapy; licorice; Streptococcus mutans