Can Licorice and Coconut Oil Prevent Cavities?

I love that so much dental research in recent years has concentrated on less invasive, more preventative dental care. Since the early years of pulling teeth, to our modern fears of the dentist’s drill, going to the dentist isn’t on the top of most of our to-do lists. In fact, a friend recently commented that she’d rather give birth than take her family to the dentist! (Did I mention that she gives birth without any type of pain medication?) I think that we can all cheer for any improvement in more gentle forms of prevention and treatment.

With that in mind, two great examples for natural preventative care are these studies showing that dried licorice root and coconut oil could have the power to kill cavity-causing bacteria.

Licorice root, cavities and gum disease

In a 2012 study done by the American Chemical Society, Stefan Gafner and his colleagues found that licorice had traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to prevent cavities. To test this historical use, they examined different active parts of the root, and found that several properties did have the power to kill cavity-causing bacteria. The most effective, licoricidin and licorisoflaven A, were shown to kill two bacteria that are to blame for many dental cavities, and also two of the bacteria linked to gum disease!

One should note before you start gulping down licorice root, that there are contraindictions and certain possible side effects, so check with your doctor before taking or using.

Coconut oil and cavities

In another exciting 2012 study, this time from the Society for General Microbiology, coconut oil treated with enzymes was found to be effective in fighting the majority of strains of Streptococcus bacteria — a big cause of tooth decay. The researchers say this gives great promise for future over-the-counter dental products. Meanwhile, I have heard of dentists recommending rubbing plain coconut oil on teeth after they are brushed, as coconut oil — even without the enzyme treatment — has antibacterial oomph.

For drill-hating people everywhere, studies like this give hope for more tools in our cavity-fighting arsenal.

Read more: Oil Pulling Heals Gums & Whitens Teeth, Naturally

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By Kimi Harris, MNN

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102 comments

JL A.
JL A.1 years ago

good to know

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson1 years ago

Love both!

Licorice also helps heal acid reflux.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola1 years ago

thanks for sharing

Diane Wayne
Diane Wayne1 years ago

PLEASE, I GOT SOME MAJOR CAVITIES FROM LICORICE, I NO LONGER EAT. AND WITH THE NATURAL SUGARS IN COCONUTS, ONLY THE OIL MAY BE PROTECTORING.

Val M.
Val M.1 years ago

Noted

Carol S.
Carol S.1 years ago

If you have heart disease or high blood pressure be very careful with licorice!!!

Briony Coote
Briony C.1 years ago

I did know that liquorice was good for sore throats - in the form of tea, anyway. But for teeth? That's a surprise.

Anne K.
Anne K.1 years ago

Thank you!

Theresa D.
Theresa D.1 years ago

interesting

paula eaton
paula eaton1 years ago

Thanks. Every time I go to the dentist there are cavities and the ocassional root canal.