Plaque-free, of course: Manuka honey is said to help against dental plaque

Plaque-free instead of toothless
The German oral health study from 2016 recorded a significant decrease in caries diseases since 1997. Nevertheless, most Germans know the painful “hole in the tooth”. Because: tooth decay has different causes. On the one hand, the culprit is harmful bacteria in the oral cavity and in the plaque, especially Streptococcus mutans. Bacteria like this promote the problem, explains the information center for caries prophylaxis. When bacteria break down sugary foods such as chocolate, biscuits or fruit yoghurts, acids are formed that attack the enamel and remove minerals - this is how caries develops. So the more sugar we eat and the longer it stays in the mouth, the greater the risk that our teeth will be damaged.

Take tooth decay and gingivitis seriously
Regular oral hygiene is important. Because: In addition to caries, inflammation of the tooth bed (gingivitis / periodontitis) are among the most common diseases of the mouth. Like caries, gingivitis is caused by bacteria in the dental plaque that are not part of the oral flora. Due to poor hygiene, "bad" bacteria and germs take over. They produce poisons that irritate the gums and provoke a immune response. If the resulting inflammation is not treated, it can have serious consequences, including tooth loss. The teeth should therefore be brushed thoroughly with good toothpaste at least twice a day. Dentists recommend removing plaque and leftover food with an electric toothbrush.

Tooth-healthy nutrition
For strong teeth, jaw bones, tooth roots, gums and the teeth themselves must be adequately supplied with vitamins and minerals. This applies particularly to the structure of the teeth in childhood. Because in early years, dental health is shaped for the rest of life. Calcium in particular ensures a hard, resistant tooth enamel. The important mineral is found in milk, dairy products, but also in green vegetables such as spinach or kale. In contrast, sugar and white flour should only be consumed in moderation. Sticky sweets such as gummy bears are particularly dangerous because they stick to the tooth for a long time.

Unfortunately, many healthy types of fruit are also not good for your teeth. For example, pineapple, apples and citrus fruits contain natural acids that soften the enamel and make it more susceptible to tooth decay. Wait about half an hour after eating and after the “small fruit meal” before brushing your teeth. Because the enamel is soft after eating and slowly hardens back to its normal state. Brushing teeth immediately after eating, especially with the powerful, electric toothbrush, can literally “scrub down” the still soft enamel - so that it is more damaging than caring for it.

Manuka honey for plaque and periodontal disease
Honey for tooth decay and gum disease? This sounds paradoxical at first, because honey mainly consists of fruit and glucose, which can be food for acid-producing bacteria. Not so real New Zealand Manuka honey. Although it contains fructose and glucose like all other honeys, it counteracts tooth decay and periodontitis. Manuka honey has a strong antibacterial effect thanks to the active ingredient methylglyoxal (MGO). Harmful germs that colonize the oral flora and bacteria that arise when sugar is broken down are reliably killed. Bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans and porphyromonas gingivalis have no chance of attacking teeth and gums. The protective effect of New Zealand manuka honey even exceeds the anticariogenic effect of xylitol, which is used in dental care chewing gum. Several studies have scientifically proven that Manuka honey effectively prevents tooth problems.

Studies prove the effectiveness of Manuka honey
In 2004, researchers Helen English and Peter C. Molan from the University of Waikato in New Zealand were able to demonstrate in their pilot study that Manuka honey effectively reduces plaque due to its strong antibacterial effect and thus prevents inflammatory diseases in the mouth.

In 2010 Prathibha Nayak, a dentistry lecturer from NIMS University in Jaipur, India, compared the anti-plaque effects of manuka honey, chlorhexidine and xylitol (xylitol). The result: Manuka honey performed significantly better than xylitol, a sugar substitute that has been shown to have an anti-cariogenic effect and is often used in sugar-free chewing gum.

In 2011, Cecile Badet from the University of Bordeaux investigated the effect of Manuka honey on the gram-positive bacterium Streptococcus mutans, the main cause of tooth decay, and on a biofilm of various bacterial strains. Manuka honey was able to reduce all pathogens to a minimum.

Gesine Schäfer from the University of Jena also dedicated her doctoral thesis in 2011 to the connection between Manuka honey and dental health. Only real Manuka honey contains the antibacterial active ingredient methylglyoxal (MGO) in high concentration. The researcher clearly identified MGO as the substance that could inhibit the gram-negative bacterium porphyromonas gingivalis. P. gingivalis triggers gingivitis.

So Manuka honey helps to maintain a healthy oral flora and prevent dental problems. However, due to its sugar content, Manuka honey should not be used constantly and in no case as a replacement for the toothbrush. For the individual application possibilities of original MGO Manuka honeys you will e.g. advice in health food stores and directly from the New Zealand importer.

Prathibha Anand Nayak, R. Mythili R .: Effect of Manuka honey, chlorhexidine gluconate and xylitol on the clinical levels of dental plaque (Contemporary Clinical Dentistry. 2010 Oct; 1 (4): 214-7.)

Helen K. English, Peter C. Molan: The effects of manuka honey on plaque and gingivitis: a pilot study (Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology. 2004 Apr; 6 (2): 63-7)

C. Badet: The in vitro effect of manuka honeys on growth and adherence of oral bacteria (Anaerobe. 2011 Feb; 17 (1): 19-22)

Gesine Schäfer: Antibacterial effects of honey on Porphyromonas gingivalis, University of Jena 2011

Author and source information

Video: Disclosing Tablets Staining of Plaque. Lake Merritt Dental, Oakland, CA (October 2021).