If you regularly follow this blog, you’ll know that I’m not a fan of alternative medicine. In fact, I think it would be fair to say that I despise alternative medicine. But, there are occasionally legitimate advances that come out of what is traditionally considered alternative medicine. Those advances, of course, become part of the legitimate scientific mainstream once subjected to scientific scrutiny. In this case, the alternative medicine turned legitimate science had it’s roots in herbal medicine. I read a news article about a year and a half ago about a new lollipop that is sugar-free and includes an herbal extract that targets streptococcus mutans, the causative agent of dental caries. I’ve had lots of cavities over the years (I attribute them to bad teeth I inherited from my father’s side of the family). So, when I saw the claim that eating these suckers could substantially reduce cavities, I looked into it. The research associated with the lollipop has been published in legitimate scholarly publications (here’s another one) and was conducted by Wenyuan Shi, a professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry . The research was monetized by a separate company specializing in microbiology.
Since this looked legitimate, I went ahead and purchased some of the lollipops in May of 2008 and proceeded to follow the directions (2 per day for 10-12 days, then 4 per year after that). Granted, it’s only been 1 year and a couple months, but I’ve been cavity free since then. I regularly tell my students that a sample of one is not really useful when it comes to science. So, I’m not going to say that the lollipops are guaranteed to work. Also, I don’t know that there have been any clinical trials on the effectiveness of the lollipops in preventing cavities (couldn’t find that research). But they do seem promising from the information I can gather.
So, if you are a cavity sufferer like I am, I am tentatively going to recommend Dr. Johns’s Herbal Lollipops. If, however, a blog reader can find evidence that these lollipops do not work for reducing the odds of getting cavities, I’d be very interested in seeing it.