Delicious Dental Treat

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

It's not often that you see children licking lollipops during story time, but their suckers are special.

" It helps your teeth, " said Zanani Minor, a Headstart student.

"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," said Jackie Tallman, a lead investigator for the study.

So, twice a day for three weeks Headstart students at the Maple Hill Center are part of a clinical study by Delta Dental to find out if the sweet solution will toughen up their teeth.

"Each of the children that has consent will be given a lollipop and they keep it in their mouths for 10 minutes," Tallman said.

The lollipops are sugarless and contain a licorice extract proven to prevent dental problems.

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

But are these lollipops really good for your kids? Delta Dental says all the ingredients in the suckers are safe.

"All the ingredients use are FDA-approved, reviewed," Tallman said.

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

"All of my parents were really happy to try the program and said that they would love that if it would help, and can we get them for home if it helps," said Judy Kent, a Headstart teacher.

The kids give saliva samples before during and after the study, so researchers can determine how many licks it takes to target tooth decay.

"And then we'll be able to chart that to find out what change, if any, happened with the children," Tallman said.

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