Licorice is a main ingredient in a classic candy, but is it good for your teeth? The dried root of the licorice plant may help prevent and treat gum disease. Please note, what is sold on the shelves in our grocery stores in the U.S. is no longer flavored with the licorice root, but rather with anise oil. However, there are two predominant compounds in licorice, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A. These two compounds have been found to be effective in inhibiting the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Since tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in the U.S. today, it is good news that may lower the incidence of tooth decay. The Chinese use these compounds in many herbal prescriptions to not only improve flavor, reduce toxicity, and enhance the activity of other ingredients. These and other compounds found in the licorice root are shown to prevent the growth of bacteria associated with periodontitis, which is an inflammatory disease that destroys the bones, gums, and tissues that maintain your teeth. There is still not enough research and data completed to fully determine its effectiveness. Although, licorice root extract may prove beneficial, it does have risks. Individuals with high blood pressure, heart disease or pregnant women should be cautious when using licorice as a supplement or eating large amounts of licorice in food.