Researchers have found two compounds, licoricidin and licorisoflayan A, in licorice root that can kill major bacteria responsible for dental cavities and gum disease.

The findings to a related study were published in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal of Natural Products.

Researcher Stefan Gafner and colleagues pointed out that traditional Chinese medicine has used dried licorice root to treat various ailments from respiratory to digestive problems. Licorice root substance could treat or even prevent oral infections, he said.

According to National Institutes of Health (NIH) licorice plant’s root has a long history of use in folk and traditional treatment in both Eastern and Western medicine. It has been used as a treatment for heartburn, stomach ulcers, bronchitis, sore throat, and cough.