Sweet treats GOOD for teeth

LANSING, MICH.; September 18, 2008

In Lansing, Michigan, lollipops are a regular part ot story-time at one pre-school

But these sweet treats are special.

Even the kids know - "It helps your teeth, " says one boy.

"It tastes like bubble gum," according to a little girl.

Jackie Tallman says there's a big need, "By age 5 and 6 half of children will have tooth decay, so we need to figure out how we stop that before it starts."

Twice a day for 3 weeks, the kids get the lollipops, as part of a clinical study by Delta Dental to see if the lollipops could help *prevent tooth decay.

The sweet treats are sugarless, and contain a licorice extract.

Tallman, the study leader, says, "Licorice root has been found to target the specific bacteria that causes tooth decay."

The kids have their saliva tested twice a day, so researchers can determine just how many licks it takes to target tooth decay.

Teachers say the program is already getting an A-plus from parents.

A Michigan nursing home is also taking part in the trial, to see how well the lollipops work for adults.

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