Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lollipops fight cavities

A UCLA scientist says he has developed an anti-germ lollipop that can help fight cavities. Americans spent an estimated $85 billion on oral health care last year. Still, 79 percent of children will have a cavity by age 17.

Dr. Wenyuan Shi, a medical microbiologist at UCLA, believes Americans are taking the wrong approach to fighting tooth decay. In response, he has combined ancient Eastern medicine and modern technology, and created a candy solution.

"This is really an anti-germ lollipop. … It can prevent and protect you from tooth decay," Shi said. "We really recognize the power of those Asian wisdoms."

Shi took 2,000 herbs, such as those available in a Chinese remedy store, and conducted more than 50,000 experiments, looking for a natural enemy to cavity-causing bacteria.

"To our great surprise, we're left with licorice," Shi said.

Licorice root actually does contain an anti-cavity compound. First, it must be soaked to draw out its potency. Then when the liquid evaporates, what's left is a cavity-blasting powder component, he said.

There's a video HERE

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