Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS November 21, 2015
Several weeks ago I wrote about the health benefits of raw honey. I want to share some more information about this nutrient-dense whole food as it specifically relates to swollen gums, gum inflammation, and healing.
While anecdotal reports are interesting, they are only stories that might be exaggerated. As a matter of fact, most anecdotal stories have not been proven to be true. That being said, I want to tell you about two of my patients who are eating raw honey to improve their severe gum inflammation. Both of these patients have an autoimmune disease that has caused painful and raw gum surfaces to develop on a regular basis. Prescription drugs have been used in the past to soothe these conditions. Recently, I suggested both of these patients to eat about 3-4 tablespoons of local, raw honey everyday. After two weeks, both patients told me that their gum irritation improved significantly. The caveat here is that these stories are not controlled studies. The results are interesting but inconclusive.
When stories like these have been researched with human trials and published in peer-reviewed journals, they start to take on a totally different meaning. The scientific community begins to heed. Unfortunately, the medical community may take many years before taking notice of this new information.
So, I want to share some of the published scientific research on oral conditions that have benefited from natural, raw honey. The major benefits have been credited to honey’s health properties of wound healing, antimicrobial effects, and antioxidant activity.
Some notes of caution:
- There are many different types of honey from all over the world. They have different components and may have different effects.
- Some of the research is only short-term covering a test period of a few weeks to several months. Long-term research is mostly lacking.
- All studies relate averages. Obviously there are individual differences. So, although the average result could be very encouraging, a particular individual may not get the same result or may actually experience a negative result.
Here is a summary of 5 outcomes that may seem too good to be true. I suggest you read these studies and make your own decision:
- Raw honey has been shown to reduce the specific bacteria that cause gum disease. (Here, Here, Here)
- Sometimes when a tooth is extracted, a “dry socket” occurs. A “dry socket” is when the area in the jawbone after the tooth extraction does not heal normally and becomes very inflamed and painful. Raw honey when placed into the “dry socket” soothes the pain, promotes healing, and prevents further infection in the area. (Here)
- Yeast as well as the herpes virus can cause very sore and painful lesions in the mouth. Raw honey helps these lesions heal at least as well as prescription medication. (Here, Here)
- Raw honey has been shown to speed up the healing process after mouth surgery. (Here)
- As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, autoimmune diseases might manifest in the mouth. Raw honey has improved the healing for some of these painful sores. (Here)
I have been impressed with these papers. More research appears to be in the pipeline that might continue to support raw honey as a natural medicine. Recent science has allowed me to recommend local, raw honey to my patients as a natural treatment for various oral conditions.