Benefits of propolis for your oral health

Propolis is one of the natural ingredients that help in the care of oral health. Due to its interesting pharmacological composition – which includes flavonoids, phenolic acids and esters -, for years it has been used as an adjunct to protect teeth and gums.

In fact, as an article published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, preparations based on this ingredient have a wide variety of applications in dentistry. In particular, its antimicrobial, antiviral, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties are exploited. Do you want to know more about it?

Main benefits of propolis for your oral health

Propolis is also known as 'bee glue'. The reason is that it is a material that bees use to seal the walls of their hive and protect it against external agents that can contaminate it.

It is a resinous material, yellowish brown or dark brown in color that is created from the mixture of substances obtained from the buds of trees and other botanical sources with a substance secreted by the glands of bees.

Since ancient times, it has been valued for its medicinal applications, since its richness in nutrients and bioactive compounds contribute to improving health and preventing the appearance of diseases. According to a magazine publication Nutrients, said composition includes the following:

  • Phenolic acids
  • Flavonoids.
  • Esters
  • Diterpenes.
  • Sesquiterpenes.
  • Lignans
  • Aromatic aldehydes.
  • Alcohols.
  • Amino acids.
  • Fatty acids.
  • Vitamins and minerals

Now, although the medicinal uses of propolis are quite broad, this time we will focus on its benefits for oral health. Did you know that it helps prevent tooth decay and periodontal diseases? We tell you what science says about it.

Cavities can be prevented with propolis, since its antimicrobial activity stops the proliferation of microorganisms in the mouth.

Read also: 5 habits that help you take care of your dental health

Propolis for the prevention of cavities

One of the main applications of propolis for oral health is the prevention of cavities. In this regard, a study published in Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences states that this ingredient has antibacterial properties that fight oral pathogens such as Streptococcus spp., Streptococcus mutans Y Streptococcus sobrinus.

These bacteria are responsible for the appearance of cavities and other dental diseases. Specifically, propolis inhibits its enzymatic activity and cell division, which prevents its proliferation. In addition, due to its content of flavonoids and organic acids, it also fights other oral bacteria that cause infection.

Propolis for periodontal diseases

The antifungal and antimicrobial properties of propolis are also useful for the prevention and management of periodontal diseases. A research article published in Journal of Dental Research, Dental Clinics, Dental Prospects determined that propolis extracts fight periodontotopathic bacteria like the following:

  • Capnocytophaga gingivalis.
  • Intermediate prevotella.
  • Fusobacterium neucleatum.
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis.

Similarly, it seems to contribute to the prevention of bone loss in periodontal conditions and, in turn, prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause superinfection, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Candida albicans.

Propolis as an anti-inflammatory

The flavonoids and caffeic acid contained in propolis give it a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, useful for the treatment of dental diseases that cause inflammation, such as gingivitis.

In a study published in Journal of Dentomaxillofacial Science, propolis was useful as a pulp capping agent thanks to its anti-inflammatory activity.

  • A natural remedy is to add 30 drops of propolis extract in half a glass of water (100 milliliters). Then, you should use the liquid to rinse 2 or 3 times a day. In case of noticeable inflammation of the gums, it is best to use very cold water.

Antiviral activity of propolis

It should not be overlooked that viruses also affect oral health. In this sense, propolis turns out to be a great ally, since its extracts help to inhibit viral entry. Its antiviral effects are attributed to the content of polyphenols, flavonoids and phenylcarboxylic acids.

According to a post on Phytotherapy Research, Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of propolis have strong potential as antivirals, especially against the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) which causes gingivostomatitis and cold sores.

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Is it safe to use propolis to take care of your oral health?

Oral health use is safe for most people, although it is not a first-line treatment.

Propolis is beneficial for most healthy adults and does not pose a risk when used properly. Nevertheless, cases of allergies to this resinous material have been reported, that manifest with skin rashes. It can also irritate the oral mucosa.

Not recommended in pregnant women, since there is little literature on its effects at this stage. On the other hand, it warns of possible interactions with antiviral, anticancer, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Its allergic manifestations include the following:

  • Eczema.
  • Cheilitis
  • Mouth pain
  • Lip edema
  • Peeling of the lips.

For now, more research is recommended to determine safe guidelines for propolis use in dentistry and medicine. While the findings are quite promising, they are still considered insufficient to consider this ingredient a first-line treatment.

Propolis: an adjuvant for your oral health

It is not a miracle remedy against dental infections, however, Propolis does have potential as an ally to take care of oral health. As a result of this, toothpastes, rinses, extracts, balms, tinctures and a wide variety of products based on this ingredient have been manufactured.

Either way, it should be used in moderation, only as an adjunct and not as a remedy. The product manufacturer's recommendations for use should be followed. In case of dental diseases, it is best to go to the dental professional.