Will manuka honey contribute to tooth decay?
People use honey to sweeten food and beverages. As a natural sweetener, people worry that honey could contribute to tooth decay. I decided to investigate.
First things first, though: Know your honeys. In a previous post, I explained the different kinds of honey. If you aren’t familiar with the difference between manuka honey and the table honey that is pasteurized and filtered, please read this past blog post.
So, back to the question: Will manuka honey cause tooth decay?
In the Journal of the International Academy of Periodontology archives, I found a really interesting article about a study that addressed this concern. In this article, it stated, “Studies have already shown that manuka honey with a high antibacterial activity is likely to be non-cariogenic.” For simplicity, the term non-cariogenic means that it will not cause cavities.
So, I guess that’s the answer.
A.) Nope. Manuka honey won’t rot your teeth.
Here’s the thing though… It gets better.
Not only will manuka honey not rot your teeth, but the results of the study showed that manuka honey can reduce gingivitis and plaque too. Not only is manuka honey not bad for your teeth, it’s awesome for them. “Significantly” awesome.
Mean plaque scores were reduced from 0.99 to 0.65 among a group of people who merely had to suck on a manuka honey lozenge three times a day after meals for 21 days instead of chewing on sugar-free gum. Bleeding gums? No problem for manuka honey lozenges. The percentage of bleeding site was reduced from 48% to 17% in that same 21 day trial period. The sugar free, gum chewing, control group? They demonstrated no significant changes in dental health at all.
If only I had known this during my first few months of pregnancy when I couldn’t brush my teeth without vomiting.