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Beat tooth cavities by licking these lollipops

Jun 08, 2012

Is it possible to prevent tooth cavities by licking a lollipop? Could specially-formulated lollipops be the latest “high-tech” tool in the fight to rid children of early tooth decay?

Last fall a pilot study was performed with 66 Michigan pre-schoolers at high risk of tooth decay. The children aged two to five consumed sugar-free lollipops containing licorice root extract during the three-week trial period. The study results revealed a significant reduction in the primary bacteria responsible for tooth decay during the trial period and for several weeks after.

Just recently the European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry published the study results, making it the first confirmation of the study by a third party.  According to the study, students enrolled in the Greater Lansing, Michigan Head Start program received an orange-flavored lollipop for ten minutes twice daily during the three-week testing period.

Using a saliva test, the kids’ mouths were measured before and during the three-week period when lollipops were consumed, as well as for several weeks after. Analysis showed there was a significant reduction in Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, the bacteria that cause cavities, up to 22 days after the lollipops were consumed, study authors announced.

“Dental decay is one of the most common childhood diseases with more than half of children ages 5 to 17 having had at least one cavity or filling,” said Jed J. Jacobson, DDS and chief science offer at Delta Dental, sponsors of the study. “We are working to find simple, effective regimens that will encourage prevention and control of dental disease.”

The herbal lollipops aren’t new. They were introduced to the manufacturer, Dr. John’s Candies, in 2002 by developer and UCLA microbiologist Wenyuan Shi and C3 Jian, Inc, a research and development company.  A maker of sugar-free candies since 1995, Dr. John’s introduced the herbal lollipops later that same year. ABC’s “Good Morning America” featured the “lollies” in a segment in 2008.

Dr. John’s Candies has enjoyed consistent growth since 2008, registering its best year in 2011.

National retailers and distributors are reportedly interested in distributing the lollipops but have been waiting for third-party verification of the product.  “It certainly gives us credibility,” said Dr. John Bruinsma, founder of Dr. John’s Candies, referring to last fall’s pilot study. “We’re really, really happy with the results.”

Jacobson has said the initial results were “very encouraging,” but cautioned that further third-party studies are needed to validate the initial findings on other test groups other than high-risk children.

Sources: Blog MLive.com, Delta Dental New Mexico, ABC Good Morning America

 
Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC ©

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