Objectives: THIS STUDY WAS CONDUCTED TO INVESTIGATE THE FOLLOWING: (1) the effects of chewing honey on plaque formation in orthodontic patients, (2) the effect of chewing honey on dental plaque bacterial counts, (3) determine if honey possesses antibacterial effects on bacteria recovered from plaques.
Methods: Female orthodontic patients (n = 20, 12-18 years of age) participated in this randomized controlled study. The effects of honey were compared to treatment with either 10% sucrose or 10% sorbitol that served as positive and negative controls, respectively. The pH of plaque was measured using a digital pH meter prior to baseline and at 2, 5, 10, 20, and 30 min after chewing honey or rinsing with control solutions and the numbers of Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacilli, and Prophymonas gingivalis in respective plaques were determined. The antibacterial activity of honey was tested against commonly used antibiotics using the disk diffusion method.
Results: Significant differences in pH were observed in the honey and sucrose groups compared to the pH observed in the sorbitol group (p ⩽ 0.001). The maximum pH drop occurred at 5 min in both the honey and sucrose groups; however the pH in the honey group rapidly recovered 10-20 min after exposure and did not drop below the critical decalcification pH of 5.5. On the other hand, the pH following sucrose exposure fell <5.5 and was associated with a 30 min recovery time. The pH observed for the sorbitol group did not change over time. Bacterial counts were significantly reduced in the honey group compared to the other treatment groups (p ⩽ 0.001) and honey significantly inhibited the growth of all studied strains compared to inhibition observed with antibiotics (p ⩽ 0.001).
Conclusions: Honey can be used as an alternative to traditional remedies for the prevention of dental caries and gingivitis following orthodontic treatment.
Keywords: Bacterial counting; Honey; Orthodontic treatment; Plaque control; pH measurement.