The health benefits of honey are numerous, extending far beyond the scope of dental health. Here are just a few:
Honey has been useful in the treatment of gum diseases including gingivitis, bleeding, and receding gums. Gingivitis is a real epidemic. 95% of adults suffer from some type of periodontal disease at least once in their lives. If it becomes severe, your teeth will begin moving out of place. Inflammation is caused by the bacteria inhabiting an oral cavity, so the best way to prevent gingivitis is to kick out that bacteria!
Mix honey with water, and an enzyme in honey called glucose oxidase produces hydrogen peroxide (an antiseptic). The production of hydrogen peroxide is the key reason for its antimicrobial activity. Fighting the bacteria, honey reduces the amount of acid produced. The bacteria can then no longer produce dextran, a component of dental plaque.
Dextran is a polysaccaride that bacteria produce in order to attach onto the teeth. Research from Dr. Peter C. Molan of the University of Waikato, New Zealand, showed that certain types of honey are helpful in preventing cavities because of their antimocrobial potency. You can place honey directly on the site of inflammation or infection in the mouth. The antibacterial properties of the honey will effect the flushing of the bad bacteria.
All the research about the amazing properties of honey warns that all honey is NOT made equal. The majority of honey being sold in the US is processed or refined, which means that like any processed food, it can promote disease and damage your health. Therefore, it’s important for you to be able to distinguish which is healthy-saving, and which is healthy-damaging.
Tip 1: Stay away from honey that says ultra-filtrated. When honey is ultra-filtrated then it is impossible to know where the pollen is from. If you don’t know where the pollen is from, then it’s easy for any company to tamper with the honey. It’s also not uncommon that the honey is smuggled into the US from another country. If that’s the case, then you don’t know what is actually in that honey and you have no way to know that it isn’t diluted with corn syrup… or much worse. Honey from China has been known to have illegal antibiotics and traces of heavy metals.
Tip 2: Know where your honey comes from. Buying locally will usually ensure that you honey is safe because local farmers won’t alter it. Honey that’s put directly into the jar for selling provides the best health benefits because all components are intact. You can also pay more for Manuka honey from New Zealand, which is superior honey with incredible benefits. The FDA has even approved it for use in burn healing.
Honey’s properties are amazing for your body and for your dental health. But do your homework before you begin consuming it. Make sure you’re getting the most natural, whole honey that you can, which hasn’t been processed or refined in any way. Your gums and teeth will thank you!