Thursday, April 28, 2022

Oral Benefits From Using Raw Honey?

Yes, you heard that right! I came across the article "It ain't just sugar: 9 oral benefits of honey" written by Dr. Alvin Danenberg, from DrBicuspid. 

"August 24, 2021 -- I thought my dental colleagues were going to laugh me out of my profession when I suggested that raw honey could be used to brush teeth. Well, the research is clear: Honey ain't just sugar.

Several peer-reviewed medical articles have explained how raw honey could be used in the mouth to decrease the pathogens causing tooth decay and gum disease.

In an April 2020 article published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the authors concluded: "Honey showed a significant antimicrobial activity against all targeted periopathogens. Additional experiments are required to explore the entire antimicrobial spectrum of honey towards all pathogens involved in periodontal disease."

To reach that conclusion, the authors researched various databases since January 2019 for well-designed clinical trials and in vitro studies exploring the antimicrobial effects of honey against the bacteria causing periodontal disease. From all the databases, the investigators found five randomized controlled clinical trials and 11 well-designed in vitro studies.

Honey is complex

There are various types of honey, but manuka honey and multifloral honeys are among the most frequently researched varieties. That may be for good reason. Manuka honey may be the best type of honey.

As with all raw honey, manuka honey is roughly 80% sugars and 17% water. The last 3% is composed of minerals, organic acids, enzymes, etc.

Honey's sugar content is made up of about 31% glucose, 38% fructose, and a mixture of more complex sugars that are harder for the body to break down. Honey also contains 4% to 5% fructo-oligosaccharides, which are excellent prebiotics to feed beneficial bacteria in the gut.

All honeys contain about 200 biologically active chemicals. These raw and unfiltered honeys are a good source of amino acids, B vitamins, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

But manuka honey has up to four times the nutritional content of all other flower honeys. Most of the pharmacological effects of honey come from polyphenols, which are found in large concentrations in honey.

Manuka honey also has concentrations of methylglyoxal, a unique compound with nonperoxide bacteriostatic properties. This biologically active compound is not present to any great extent in other honeys, and it enhances wound healing and tissue regeneration by its immunomodulatory properties, according to a study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

Furthermore, in 2017, Niaz et al published a review in Current Drug Metabolism evaluating the tissue regenerating effects of manuka honey. Their research showed that manuka honey "can inhibit the process of carcinogenesis by controlling different molecular processes and progression of cancer cells," the authors stated.

Numerous studies, including a 2018 study published in AIMS Microbiology, have shown that the antibacterial properties of honey primarily are due to its hydrogen peroxide and methylglyoxal content. Other bioactive components in honey that assist in its antimicrobial properties are phenols and flavonoids.

In addition, manuka honey has a low water content and a moderate acid level of pH 4.3. These attributes contribute to its significant antibacterial potency.

The "sugar" part of honey also contributes to its medicinal benefit. The high sugar content causes hypertonic conditions around microbes, which leads to the lysis and destruction of the microbial cell walls.

9 oral benefits of honey

All this research into honey has shown it has some surprising oral health benefits. Below are nine ways honey can benefit the mouth and gums:

  • Honey exerts antibacterial effects on nearly 60 species and prevents the development of resistant strains of bacteria.
  • Manuka honey is effective in preventing the growth of biofilm organisms, reducing the production of acids, and reducing gingivitis.
  • Randomized controlled trials indicate honey helps prevent dental caries and gingivitis following orthodontic treatment.
  • A double-blind randomized controlled trial demonstrated that manuka honey and other raw honeys are almost as effective as chlorhexidine as a mouthwash.
  • Manuka honey controls odor and inflammation in wounds secondary to squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity.
  • Honey has cytotoxic effects on cultured oral squamous cell carcinomas.
  • Multiple reports indicate honey is beneficial in the treatment of radiation-induced mucositis in people undergoing curative radiotherapy for their head and neck cancer.
  • Honey is helpful in treating dry mouth in people undergoing radiation treatment for their head and neck cancer.
  • Honey enhances wound healing in nonhealing or recurrent wounds in the head and neck area after radiotherapy.

Practical applications

There are a number of ways to get to the benefits of honey in your daily routine. Here are just a few:

  • As toothpaste: Put about 0.5 teaspoon of manuka honey in your mouth and spread it around your teeth using your tongue. Then use an electric toothbrush as you would normally brush.
  • For oral soft-tissue lesions: Swish 0.25-0.5 teaspoon of honey around your mouth for one minute or so, then swallow. Use as often as necessary.
  • For lips and corners of mouth: Apply manuka honey to dry lips and sore corners of the mouth as needed.
  • For systemic benefits: Eat about 0.5 teaspoon of honey two to three times a day for benefits such as improving symptoms from upper respiratory infections, preventing gastric ulcers, and improving digestive symptoms.
  • As mouthwash: If you feel the need to freshen your mouth, swish 0.25-0.5 teaspoon of honey, then swallow. This routine also works if you have dry mouth or xerostomia.

Purchasing options

As you can see, honey -- and especially manuka honey -- wears many hats. It can be a toothpaste, an antibiotic, an antiviral, an antifungal, a regenerative agent, an anticancer substance, an antioxidant, a prebiotic, an anti-inflammatory, and so much more. Another beautiful thing about honey is that it is an animal-based food, which is why I include in my modified carnivore diet that I call the Better Belly Blueprint.

If you want to purchase manuka honey, there are a few things you should know. The New Zealand government's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) created the first global standard and scientific definition for manuka honey in early 2018. This is the only government-regulated and approved standard for manuka honey in the world.

As of February 5, 2018, all honey labeled as manuka honey and exported from New Zealand is required to be tested to show that it meets the MPI standard before it can lawfully be exported. The test results from the certifying lab must accompany the export documents for the manuka honey ensuring that the product packed in New Zealand is genuine.

I usually purchase manuka honey from Manuka Health of New Zealand. I keep honey stocked in my medicine chest, kitchen pantry, and bathroom, where I keep my toothbrush, TePe EasyPick floss, and toothpaste.

There are many manuka honeys for purchase. You should research brands before you make your decision.

Dr. Alvin Danenberg has retired from the private practice of periodontics in Bluffton, SC. He continues to be on the faculty of the College of Integrative Medicine and created its integrative periodontal teaching module. He also spent two years as chief of periodontics at Charleston Air Force Base earlier in his career. His website is"

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Floss or Floss Swords - What is Your Preference?

 Floss sticks are quickly becoming the way of the world. They are easy to use, make flossing quicker and saves you from getting the string imprints in your fingers, but it is really the best option?

Traditional dental floss has been used for years. It is tested, approved, recommended and used by most dental centers. It is great at removing the excess food particles, plaque and bacteria between your teeth. However it is really difficult to control. It takes some work and technique to make sure that you do it right, especially if you are trying to get in between the back molars. It also requires that you stick your fingers inside your mouth, which is a problem for some people. However it is really effective at cleaning your teeth properly.

Floss Swords are less intrusive in your mouth. They are simple and easy to use and allow you to reach the back molars without much trouble. However, their effectiveness is in question. Ideally, when you floss with traditional floss, between each tooth you pull a fresh piece of floss. With a floss sword, you use the same piece until you are done. This can transfer bacteria from one to tooth to another. One could argue that if the sword is rinsed before each tooth that it wouldn't do that, but does anyone actually do that? 

Personally, I use both. In some areas of my mouth, my teeth are tight to each other and it is hard to get the thick piece of floss or sword between them, so I use traditional floss on those. I use traditional floss on all of my front teeth and I use a floss sword on my molars. I do rinse the floss sword after each tooth, but that's just me. 

It basically comes down to your preference and the recommendation of your dentist and hygienist, so make sure you check with them. Whatever one you choose you will definitely get kudos for flossing. That's the part of dental care that is skipped the most!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Sunscreen...For Your Lips?

It's a hot, sunny day... You've slathered yourself from head to toe with SPF 45... you're ready for some fun in the sun...BUT WAIT! You forgot to protect your smile!

According to the CTCA ( Cancer Treatment Centers of America), sun damage (among other contributors) is the leading cause of Lip Cancer. People with repetitive exposure to the sun are more likely to exhibit symptoms that can potentially lead to lip cancer.

For more valuable information about lip cancer and how to protect yourself from it, please click here!

So on your way out to enjoy our beautiful summer weather don't forget sunscreen for your smile!

Several companies offer lip balms with SPF 15 or greater and you can never use too much!

Original post from Dawn_DA on June 24, 2009

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Eating Disorders Can and Do Affect Your Oral Health

Bulimia and Anorexia are eating disorders that can lead to many physical problems, including dental pain, discomfort and erosion of the teeth and gums. It is estimated that nearly 90% of Bulimic patients have signs of tooth erosion due to purging (vomiting). 

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder that harms your overall health and can be particularly destructive to teeth. The digestive system contains strong acids that break down food. When vomiting is used to purge food from the body, these acids attack tooth enamel, leaving them vulnerable to pain and sensitivity, cavities and cracks.. Vomiting often can severely erode tooth enamel and over time, teeth will become sensitive to hot or cold, and become worn and translucent.
Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder in the same category as Bulimia.  It also causes overall deterioration of the body and adversely effects the mouth and teeth due to malnutrition and vitamin deficiency. This can cause lesions to form on the surface of the teeth, periodontal disease, mouth sores, enlargement of the salivary glands, dry mouth and redness or dryness of the lips. 
If you or a loved one shows signs of poor oral health because of an eating disorder, contact a dentist as soon as possible and seek help for the condition.  The sooner one begins treatment, the better.  When it comes to your oral health, prevention can go a long way toward preserving the teeth and gums until your eating disorder is under control.
Keep Smiling! 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Can Sugar-Free Foods And Drinks Still Damage Your Teeth?

You may think that since your sodas, energy drinks and candy bars say "sugar -free" they are automatically better for your teeth. Sorry to say but according to recent research, they can still damage your teeth.

Australian researchers tested 23 sugar-free and sugar-containing products such as sports drinks and so on. They found that even if they say sugar-free, the acidic additives and low pH levels still harm the teeth.

Eric Reynolds the CEO of the Oral Health Cooperative Research Center at Melbourne University said his colleagues and himself found most soft and sports drinks caused dental enamel to soften by 30-50 percent. Both sugar-free and sugar-containing drinks and flavored mineral waters caused measurable loss of tooth surface.

Remember cutting down on your sugar intake isn't always good for your teeth! Always check the list of acidic ingredients on drinks before you buy! Knowing what to look for can end up saving your teeth and smile!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Seniors With Untreated Dental Problems At Risk For Malnutrition

This article bears reposting, especially with the rising cost of dentistry, food and essentials in todays market.  Inflation literally trickles into every aspect of our lives, and senior citizens are among the most vulnerable. 

Malnutrition is a growing problem in society these days.  Believe it or not, it is more common among senior citizens than with any other age group. One of the reasons for this could be because of poor dental health. Affordability factors in to this issue in a big way.  

Seniors that have severe dental issues are more likely to skip meals or eat soft, non-nutritional foods, which leads to malnutrition. They may have sore teeth and gums, missing teeth, a denture that does not fit well, a broken denture or even a poor quality denture that would make it uncomfortable for them to eat and chew properly. Nutrients are best dispersed into the body when the food is chewed properly. 

It is important to note that senior citizens have different nutritional needs than younger crowds. It is essential that they eat regular balanced meals for optimal health. 

Signs of malnutrition include:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Memory issues
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Anemia
If you suspect that someone you love could be suffering from malnutrition, be sure to talk to them about their dental health. Find out if they are having trouble eating due to dental issues. If so, have them checked by a dentist as soon as possible.

There are many programs, treatments, supplements and plans available to help people who suffer from this problem.  Don't let them suffer in silence!  

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Question From Our Member Regarding "Clinical Crown Lengthening"

Questions From Our Members:

J. Ortiz of San Diego, California asks: 

“ My dentist says he needs to do a procedure called clinical crown lengthening.  If the crown is too short, why can't they just make another one that is longer?”

Savon’s Answer:

Basically, Clinical Crown Lengthening has nothing to do with the crown but is actually a periodontal/oral surgery procedure.

Crown lengthening is achieved by recontouring gum tissue, and sometimes bone, to expose more of a tooth‘s surface for a crown.  It‘s a common procedure and often takes less than an hour to complete.

Crown lengthening can be necessary if there isn‘t enough of the tooth in place to hold the crown on its own.  Teeth that are broken or affected by tooth decay may prohibit a crown from firmly attaching.

Crown lengthening reduces gum tissue and shaves down bone when necessary so more of the tooth is above the gum‘s surface.  A properly fitted crown allows for better oral hygiene and comfort.

Original post from our April 2022 Newsletter

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Does Cheese Actually Help To Prevent Cavities?

 A study that was published in the June 2013 (yes, this goes back a little way but it is still relevant) issue of Journal of General Dentistry reveals that cheese increases the dental plaque pH level of ones mouth above 5.5 which, in essence, reduced the chances of that person getting a cavity. This does not apply to all dairy products. Milk and sugar free yogurt were also used in the study. The results showed no change in the dental plaque pH level. Which doesn't hurt your mouth or put you at risk, but it doesn't help it either. 

So why the cheese? Let me explain! The study suggests that it has to do with the saliva. Saliva creates and maintains the acidity level in your mouth. The increased chewing motion of eating the cheese creates more saliva. Combine that with the vitamins, nutrients and other compounds in cheese that can stick to the tooth enamel and the result you get is better protection against cavities.

As always, the BEST way to protect from cavities and other dental related problems is to maintain good oral health practices and visit your dentist on a regular basis.

Enjoy your cheese!

Sources: Journal of General Dentistry, May/June 2013 Issue
              Science Daily