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Licorice Root Patch Helps Heal Canker Sores

Recurring aphthous ulcers — more commonly known as canker sores — are a common oral condition that can interfere with a person's quality of life and affect eating, drinking and speech.

Now there's a new treatment for this painful condition using an extract from the licorice root herb. Researchers have found that by applying a medicated patch with the extract, canker sores shrink in size.

Affecting one in five Americans, canker sores appear as shallow ulcers of different sizes on the soft tissue of the mouth and lips. Often, they are triggered by food allergies and hormonal changes.

Authors of a study published in the journal General Dentistry conducted a study by using an over-the-counter medicated adhesive patch containing extract from the licorice root to treat canker sores. They compared the patch treatment to no treatment at all.

After seven days, ulcer size in the group with the adhesive patch was significantly lower. Ulcer size in the no-treatment group had increased 13 percent.

In its original form, licorice root has a very strong taste. When combined with a self-adhering, time-release, dissolving oral patch, the taste is mild and pleasant.

Genetic predisposition is one of the main causes of canker sores, said Dr. Michael Martin, lead author of the study. "When both parents have a history of canker sores, the likelihood of their children developing them can be as high as 90 percent.

"In addition to speeding healing of canker sores, the adhesive patch helped to reduce pain after just three days of treatment," said Dr. Martin.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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