Propolis is indeed a natural treatment for gum disease, bad breath, teeth and mocosa diseases. In fewer words: a good friend of our oral hygiene.
Dentistry is the domain that has fully accepted propolis as a reliable therapeutic product. It had been scientifically researched the most and now propolis is applied in different dental specialties: oral hygiene; periodontology and oral mucosa pathologies; oral surgery; orthodontics; restorative dentistry; endodontics and prosthetic dentistry.
Due to its antibiotic properties, propolis is used in oral hygiene a lot. It inhibits different pathogenic microbes such as bacteria, fungi and viruses, in the mouth. Which is why it can be successfully applied against the different stomatological pathologic conditions:
– plaque formation,
– mouth wounds and ulcers,
– denture and aphthous stomatitis,
– dentinal hypersensitivity
– Candida-associated denture stomatitis.
There has been lots of test, in vivo, carried on rats, or clinical tests on humans. They have all showed positive results in reducing bacterial plaque (caries).
The soft and periodontal tissues surrounding dental implants are particularly susceptible to bacteria invasion and inflammatory reactions due to complex histological structures.
In 2013, Pubmed was publishing the study: The biological activity of propolis-containing toothpaste on oral health environment in patients who underwent implant-supported prosthodontic rehabilitation, by Morawiec T et al.
The study was carried out to investigate the influence of a Baccharis propolis-containing hygienic agent on selected oral health parameters, oral microflora, and the condition of periodontal health.
Sixteen subjects who underwent an oral rehabilitation with dental implants were selected and randomly assigned into two groups, which received a newly formulated propolis-containing toothpaste (3%(CA)) or a negative control without an active ingredient (CC).
Approximal plaque index (API), oral hygiene index (OHI, debris component), and sulcus bleeding index (SBI) were assessed in three subsequent stages. During the first and last examinations, the swabs were employed for microbiological inoculation.
Propolis-containing toothpaste was found to be distinctively effective in improving oral health and hygiene and the occurrence of gingivitis triggered by dental plaque.
Antibacterial measures containing propolis might be used as a natural adjuvant to other active substances in individuals with a high risk of periodontal problems against pathogenic oral microflora.
Halitosis is the unpleasant breath, also largely related to hygiene of the oral cavity. One of the reasons of bad breath are the byproducts of degradation of microorganisms from the mouth.
Microbes related to the creation of bad breath include:
– red complex bacteria: Porphyromonas gingivalis, Tannerella forsythia, Treponema denticola;
– Prevotella intermedia;
– Porphyromonas endodontalis;
The measurements of the content of volatile sulfur components in exhaled air with the use of halimeter indicate that propolis reduces halitosis, according to WIECKIEWICZ, W et al. in a 2013 study: “Does Propolis Help to Maintain Oral Health? Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine.”
Periodontology (inflammation of the teeth supporting tissue)
The confirmation of the effectiveness of propolis in fighting etiological factors of periodontitis made some authors include these preparations in the periodontologic therapeutic protocol.
The same study of WIECKIEWICZ, W et al., published in 2013, demonstrated that “mucoadhesive hydrophilic gel containing propolis, when applied to gingival pockets, can be useful in treatment of periodontitis. Additional subgingival irrigations with a propolis extract during periodontologic treatment allowed to obtain better results than scaling and root planning. Not only local, but also oral use of propolis-based preparations turns out to be effective in periodontal treatment.”
Infection of the oral mucosa caused by Herpes simplex
Propolis solutions had a high antivirus effectiveness. Propolis delays growth and progression of skin changes in an early stage of infection with Herpes simplex and does not have cytotoxic effects.
Recurrent aphthoid stomatitis
Propolis can be used also in the treatment of recurrent aphthoid stomatitis, as shown by W. Wieckiewicz W in the above mentioned study.
Dental avulsion is the complete displacement of a tooth from its socket in alveolar bone owing to trauma. Most studies show very good effects of storage of avulsed teeth in propolis.
Propolis is extremely effective; it not only reduces apoptosis of periodontium cells but also increases their metabolic activity and proliferation.
Local application of propolis after surgery helps wounds to heal, reduces inflammation, also having an analgesic effect.
In malocclusions accompanied by a considerable narrowing of the maxilla, it is necessary to use a device to expand the palatine suture. Propolis solution had a positive effect on bone forming process, during the treatment, as it was shown in the studies made on rats. Bone remodelling within the palatine suture was much quicker.
In restorative dentistry, propolis can be used to decrease permeability of the dentin and to direct pulp capping in order to create restorative dentin. Propolis can reduce dentin permeability. Starting from here, it can be concluded that it counteracts tooth sensitivity.
The regenerative effect of propolis on the tooth pulp has been known for a long time. Today, the most used in stimulation the creation a reparative dentinis is calcium hydroxide. Yet, the studies say there are no important differences in direct capping with propolis and with calcium hydroxidebased products. Both of them offer a similar degree of healing pulp inflammation, reducing quantity of microbes and stimulating creation of dentin bridge. Also propolis, calcium hydroxide, and MTA have similar effectiveness in the induction to create reparative dentin.
Yet, WIECKIEWICZ’s sutdy says there is a higher effectiveness of direct pulp capping with propolis than with calcium hydroxide-based products. Propolis not only stops infammatory reaction, infection with microbes and pulp necrosis but also induces formation of high quality tubular dentin through stimulation of stem cells .
One of the aims of endodontic treatment is a complete elimination of microbes in root canals. The effectiveness of medicines used in endodontology is often assessed through a test of Enterococcus faecalis growth, which is resistant to unfavorable environment and can survive in the root canal system despite application of medicaments.
Many studies show that propolis effectively limits the quantity of E. faecalis in root canals, but its effectiveness might be lower than that of chlorhexidine.
What products can we find on the market for oral hygiene?
That’s the good news: propolis is widely used in our oral hygiene products. As main ingredient or not, even if we are aware of its presence or not, propolis is an accepted therapeutic ingredient. Search for the products that include it among its ingredients. Its role is very important to us.
– Whitening mouthwash – like this one here: Bee Naturals Whitening Pre-brush Oral Rinse – Clean White Teeth Naturally. An oral rinse that will whiten your teeth, with regular use and with no harmful chemicals. It contains: purified water, hydrogen peroxide, 3%, U.S.P, vegetable glycerin, potassium sorbate, chlorophyll, naturals spearmint oil, xylitol, stevia and propolis. There are no alcohol or artificial sweeteners, color or preservatives.
– Mouthwash – E.g.: A special formula created for sensitive gums, containing chamomile, propolis and sodium bicarbonate. It’s alcohol free and can be given to children also. Made in France. Doloseptyl Alcohol Free Mouthwash for Sensitive Gums 10 Single Capsules X 10ml
– Mouth and throat spray. Here is version for kids: Erba Vita Propolis EVSP Throat Spray Kids, 0.68 Fluid Ounce
– Toothpaste E.g.: Holocuren Pure Propolis Toothpaste 6.4oz Tube. It contains propolis and tea tree oil. The producer mentions it has antiviral, antiFungal, antibacterial, antiinflammatory effects and that discourages canker sores, plaque, gingivitis, bleeding gums & tooth decay.
Composition of propolis
WIECKIEWICZ, W; MIERNIK, M; WIECKIEWICZ, M; MORAWIEC, T (2013) Does Propolis Help to
Maintain Oral Health? Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine.
The Propolis Book, Chapter 2
Bee Product Science, www.bee-hexagon.net February 2014
“Teeth on zoom” picture credit: imagerymajestic via freedigitalphotos.net
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