There are few natural substances that are more flexible and more effective for dental treatments than propolis. Propolis has powerful protective and regenerative properties that make it appropriate for many purposes in dentistry–and studies show that it can significantly improve your results without introducing synthetic chemicals. As part of our holistic dentistry practice in Rochester, NY, we promote the use of natural remedies like propolis when appropriate.
What Is Propolis?
Propolis is also known as bee glue because that’s what it is: a glue that bees make to protect their hive from infection. The resinous glue is made of saliva, beeswax, and botanical resins. They may gather the resins from tree buds or flowing sap.
Propolis is used to reinforce the hive, and to help stop the spread of diseases within the hive. It’s because of its powerful antimicrobial properties that this substance can be used for a wide range of applications in dentistry.
Propolis Helps prevent Cavities
One of the applications for propolis is to help prevent cavities from developing on teeth. Cavities occur when oral bacteria, fueled by sugars and other simple carbohydrates in the mouth, produce acids that attack tooth enamel, the white outer layer of the tooth.
Propolis helps prevent this in many ways. First, it kills oral bacteria and prevents them from thriving. Second, it makes it harder for oral bacteria to form plaque, which sticks to the teeth and increases the potency of acid attack on enamel. Finally, propolis impairs the function of the enzymes that bacteria use to break down sugars.
Preventing and Treating Gum Disease
Oral bacteria can also develop colonies on the gums and in the space between the teeth and gums, This can trigger inflammation of the gums, which can damage them, and may be responsible for many of the systemic effects of gum disease, such as heart problems , autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
All the above-noted effects also help control the infection of gum tissue. But in addition propolis has anti-inflammatory properties that help to control your body’s immune response to gum infections, which can limit both local and systemic damage from gum disease.
This effect is so strong that it can even be a productive adjunct to gum disease treatment, helping people recover and get better results from periodontal treatments like root planing and scaling.
Oral Surgery Support
With the ability to reduce inflammation and encourage healing, it shouldn’t be surprising that propolis helps people heal after oral surgery. In particular, studies have shown that propolis can help improve the effectiveness of re-implanting knocked-out teeth. It seems that propolis not only reduces swelling, it stimulates healing activity around the replaced tooth.
Propolis also has several positive effects following oral surgery. It can speed healing, and reduce discomfort following surgery.
Teeth become sensitive when they don’t have enough enamel to protect them and tiny tubes in the tooth allow heat and irritants to pass through the dentin, the second layer of the tooth. This leads to irritation of the dental pulp, the inner part of the tooth that contains pain-sensing nerves. Propolis can seal up these tubes to reduce sensitivity. It may also stimulate the growth of reparative dentin.
Thrush is a gum irritation caused by a fungal infection in the mouth. This can be a serious problem for people with dentures, who can suffer irritation so serious it prevents them from using their dentures.
But propolis isn’t just an antibacterial compound, it’s antifungal. This makes it very effective against the fungi that cause thrush.
Want to Learn More Natural Remedies?
Your oral health can often be supported by natural remedies that offer effective alternatives to chemical treatments. At Contemporary Dentistry, we strive to utilize these treatments when appropriate.