"Plant chemical could prevent tooth decay /streptococcus mutans biofilms.
Oral care products containing a natural chemical that stops bacteria harming teeth could help fight decay, research shows.
The plants natural product acts against harmful mouth bacteria and could improve oral health by helping to prevent the build-up of plaque.
The compound - known as trans-chalcone - is related to chemicals found in liquorice root.
The study is the first to show how trans-chalcone prevents bacteria forming biofilms.
The team worked out the 3D structure of the enzyme - called Sortase A - which allows the bacteria to make biofilms.
By doing this, researchers were able to identify how trans-chalcone prevents the enzyme from functioning.