The aim of this study was to find out whether liquorice-containing starch gel could affect plaque accumulation and its microbial composition. Sixteen healthy volunteers (mean age: 30.4±6.9 years) used 6 g of either control [8% acid-hydrolyzed corn starch, 25% maltitol syrup, water (w/w)] or liquorice gel (control + 2.5% liquorice extract), three times a day for 2 weeks. The gels were used in a random order with a 2-week washout period in between. At the end of each fortnight, plaque was allowed to accumulate for 2 days and all available plaque from the right side of the mouth was collected, weighed, and transferred to transport medium. The plaque on the left side was dyed and photographed in a standardized manner. Mutans streptococci, total streptococci, and facultative bacteria were assessed from the plaque using plate culturing. Plaque index (0−5) of incisors and canines on the left side was evaluated from the photographs. The clinical study was preceded by an in vivo acid production test. The acid production from gels containing 2.5–10% liquorice extract was monitored with a microelectrode. The in vivo acid production potential of the maltitol-containing starch gel was about 50% compared to the sucrose control. Liquorice inhibited acid production from the gel. In the clinical study, the weight of plaque after consumption of the liquorice gel did not differ from that of the control gel. No differences were found in the microbial counts nor in the plaque index between the two gels. In addition, the liquorice gel had no effect on the stability of the predominant bacterial populations of the plaque samples of 16 individuals as detected by PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. In conclusion, an addition of liquorice extract to starch-containing gel with a low acid production potential had no effect on the plaque formed during a 2-week gel consumption period.
- mutans streptococci
- acid production