Monday, February 11, 2008

Lollipop Intended to Prevent Tooth Decay is No Sweet Deal

Thousands of orange-flavored lollipops, marketed as Dr. John's Herbal Candy, are currently rolling out of a factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The lollipops are infused with a natural ingredient found in licorice that kills the primary bacterium causing tooth decay, Streptococcus mutans.

However, a careful look at the company’s web site reveals that the lollipops are sweetened with the artificial sweetener Acesulfame-K (Ace-K). The use of Ace-K is not exactly being trumpeted by the producers of this “natural” cure, and no wonder.

Numerous prominent U.S. scientists opposed introduction of acesulfame-K as a sweetener, protesting that the safety testing was seriously flawed. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has repeatedly expressed concern that acesulfame-K is a potential carcinogen.

Somehow, I don’t think it’s worth developing cancer just to have cleaner teeth.

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