Superlife Oral Health Article
Smile! Healthy teeth are another reason to enjoy Manuka honey each day. We’re often told that sweet foods are bad for our teeth, but there’s one natural sweetener – honey – that could actually fight tooth decay and oral infections. Whereas sugars in foods like lollies, soft drinks and even carbs like bread and pasta react with the bacteria in your mouth to form acids that eat holes in your teeth, a spoonful of high Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) honey may have the opposite effect – killing those bacteria and preventing cavities from forming.
It can be used as part of your normal brushing and flossing routine, either instead of mouthwash, brushed on with your toothbrush or just rubbed onto the gums. Oral health is just one of many potential wellness benefits of Manuka honey that medical researchers are currently investigating. Manuka honey has been proven to have superior antimicrobial properties that can be used in treating wounds, ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis – sparking a flurry of research to discover other applications for this safe, natural and delicious substance.
In a pilot study at the University of Otago in New Zealand, researchers investigated whether or not UMF 15 Manuka honey could be used to reduce gingivitis (gum inflammation) and dental plaque (a mostly bacterial biofilm that builds up on the teeth and is one of the major causes of tooth decay and gum disease). Assured by earlier research, which had demonstrated that high-UMF Manuka honey is unlikely to cause tooth decay, the researchers asked volunteers to chew or suck a chewable Manuka honey leather for ten minutes three times a day for 21 days. Analysis of the results indicated that there were highly significant reductions in plaque build-up and gum bleeding in the Manuka honey group, with no significant changes in the control group.
“These results suggest that there may be a potential therapeutic role for Manuka honey confectionery in the treatment of gingivitis and periodontal disease,” concluded the researchers. Other research teams have built on this research in further studies. A team from the Modern Dental College and Research Centre in India found that Manuka honey was significantly effective in reducing plaque formation – similar to the effect of chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash, and more effective than xylitol chewing gum marketed as preventing tooth decay.
Another research group, this time at Pushpagiri College of Dental Sciences in India, found that children who supplemented their regular toothbrushing regime with high-UMF Manuka honey showed significant reduction in Mutans streptococci bacteria, which are a significant contributor to tooth decay. “Manuka honey with UMF 19.5 may be considered as an effective adjunctive oral hygiene measure for reducing colony counts in children,” they concluded. It’s worth noting that the UMF level of the honey was identified as an important factor in these studies. All Manuka honey is not created equal – and research demonstrates that honeys with a higher UMF (and a higher level of the active component methylglyoxal) have a stronger antimicrobial effect and therefore greater health benefits.
Source: PubMed.gov, National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, AIMS Microbiology, Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, WebMD
Disclaimer: This article is designed to inform and not to provide a direction on medication. The research outlined is in its infancy. Bee products can cause a variety of reactions so please consult your doctor before using any bee or honey products. Honey should not be given to babies under the age of one.