Can a licorice lollipop decrease cariogenic bacteria in nursing home residents?

Res Gerontol Nurs. 2012 Oct;5(4):233-7. doi: 10.3928/19404921-20120906-07. Epub 2012 Sep 17.


The purpose of this pilot study was to examine whether an herbal lollipop containing licorice root decreases Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) bacteria that cause dental caries in nursing home residents. A total of 8 residents (5 women, 3 men; mean age = 85) consented to participate in this study. Participants were offered two lollipops per day for 21 days. Saliva samples were collected at baseline and Days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21, then analyzed for numbers of S. mutans. Using linear mixed-models analysis with difference in numbers of S. mutans from baseline to any time point as the dependent variable, and number of lollipops consumed with effect of time controlled as the predictor variable, participants who consumed more lollipops during the 21-day time period were more likely to have fewer numbers of S. mutans (β = -8.703, p = 0.067). There was a trend toward reduction of S. mutans with consumption of more lollipops during the 21-day period. Recruiting a larger sample for future research may demonstrate a significant reduction.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Dental Caries / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Glycyrrhiza*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes*