By Andrea Pyka

If you came out of your last dentist appointment with a less than stellar review, don’t feel like you have to settle for some bitter-tasting sugar-free candy or eliminate sweets altogether. Instead, you might want to consider trying the new cavity-fighting lollipop.

Microbiologists from the oral biology department at the UCLA School of Dentistry are creating a guilt-free way to enjoy juicy-flavored pops that satisfy those sweet-tooth cravings while also protecting your pearly whites.

According to a recent report by ABC News, Americans spent approximately $85 billion on oral health care in 2007.

To help fight costs and protect dental health in the United States, Dr. Wenyuan Shi, medical microbiologist at UCLA, developed a lollipop that helps prevent cavities.

“The sugarless lollipops will deliver the antimicrobial compound for oral cavity to kill the cavity-causing bacteria,” Shi wrote in an e-mail to City on a Hill Press.

Shi experimented with over 2,000 traditional Chinese remedies and also looked to modern technology before deciding to collaborate with Dr. John’s Candies and C3 Jian, a company that develops products that treat and prevent bacterial and fungal infections. Together, they came up with the cavity-fighting lollipops made from licorice root.

The licorice, which contains an anti-cavity compound, is first soaked in a liquid that evaporates, leaving a safe and natural cavity-fighting powder which becomes the active ingredient in the orange-flavored pops.

“We tried chewing gum and hard candies,” Shi said. “But the lollipop has the best appeal as well as the right timing, [because it] takes five to 10 minutes to melt a lollipop, killing the bacteria.”

According to Shi, the lollipops are intended for all ages, but especially for young children and the elderly. He recommends eating two lollipops a day for 10 days, four times a year. This regimen disables tooth decay for three to six months at a time.

Shi said that the lollipops should not replace the usual teeth cleaning and brushing routine.

An estimated 79 percent of children in the United States have a cavity by the age of 17, according to ABC News. Children are especially encouraged to continue brushing their developing teeth to avoid this trend.

The natural lollipops, which can be purchased online for 50 cents a pop, are revolutionizing dental health around the world. Future plans include adding the cavity-fighting component to some of the products of major oral health companies and pet food manufacturers, Shi said.

Shi hopes that with further testing and ongoing studies the lollipops will fight other oral diseases that could help underprivileged people in Third World countries.

_To order one a cavity-fighting lollipop, visit

_For breaking health and science-related news, read CHP’s “Did you know?” section for a look into little-known and interesting facts about the health and science world._