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Published March 7, 2008 12:51 AM

New Lollipops Can Fight Cavities

Your parents always told you candy would give you cavities. But what if you could satisfy your sweet tooth with something that's actually good for your teeth?

Now you can, thanks to UCLA microbiologist Wenyuan Shi, who's just invented a sugar-free lollipop that contains a licorice root extract (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) which naturally targets and kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

"This was particularly charming because in both Chinese and in Western cultures, people have been chewing it maybe for the taste, but it also has a lot of good health reasons. It stimulates saliva flows, has anti-bacterial properties and keeps bacteria from adhering to your teeth," Professor Shi told The Future of Things.

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And these lollipops don't just help your teeth stay super-white: Professor Shi claims the licorice extract can also help prevent strep throat and stomach ulcers, which means they're really not just for kids.

For optimal cavity-fighting power, Professor Shi recommends eating two lollipops a day for a ten-day period, and two to four a year from then on (though if you love the flavor, have as many as you like — no harm done).

We've got a hunch that parents and other cavity-prone people will be raiding the stores for these super-powered sweets — and that dentists the world over will soon be cursing the name of Professor Shi.

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