Liquorice root extracts as potent cariostatic agents in pediatric practice
Materials and Methods: Minimum bactericidal concentrations of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of liquorice against mutans streptococci were evaluated and their toxicity profiles were tested using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. The clinical trial was conducted as a double-blind pilot study where pediatric patients (N = 60), aged 7-14 years, were equally divided by randomization into three groups, namely, Group 1 using aqueous liquorice mouthwash (15%), Group 2 using ethanolic liquorice mouthwash (3.75%), and Group 3 using chlorhexidine gluconate (0.156%) as positive control. A baseline pre-rinse and three post-rinse saliva samples were evaluated for the changes in pH and mutans streptococci colony counts. Palatability of liquorice extracts was assessed through a self-designed questionnaire having structured categorical responses.
Statistical Analysis: Parametric evaluations were done using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Dunnett's "t" test.
Results: The mean mutans streptococci colony counts in all three groups decreased significantly (P < 0.001) immediately after the oral rinsing. The reduction in colony counts was significant in ethanolic liquorice group as compared to the control (P < 0.01). Liquorice extracts also led to an immediate rise in salivary pH. The results showed an immediate antimicrobial action of liquorice extracts, with limited retentivity.
Conclusion: The study affirms that both aqueous and ethanolic liquorice extracts are potent cariostatic agents and are found to be palatable by child patients.