Gum disease: Dentist explains how you can prevent it
Plaque describes a sticky substance of leftover food particles and saliva that mix in your mouth. What’s worse, this mixture contains bacteria, which can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. However, a sweet treat could help disrupt the process that leads to these oral health problems, according to an expert.
While the irresistible taste of free sugars can be great at getting rid of cravings, it doesn’t come without a health toll.
However, one type of honey could offer both a pleasant taste as well as a boost for your oral health as long as you consume it in moderation.
All types of honey contain a substance called hydrogen peroxide, which offers “antibacterial” effects shown to inhibit the bacteria linked to plaque formation and gum disease, according to Alexander Thompson, Senior Nutritionist at Holland and Barrett.
However, Manuka honey contains much higher levels of this substance as well as another goodie called methylgloxal, or MGO for short.
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Thompson said: “MGO also has antibacterial effects, resulting in Manuka honey providing much stronger anti-bacterial effects overall compared to other honey.
“This was demonstrated by a 2014 study in the Swiss Dental Journal where Manuka honey showed a stronger anti-bacterial effect against three strains of oral-disease-causing bacteria compared to non-Manuka honey.”
In fact, the reason why this sweet treat can help fight dental plaque comes down to bacteria.
Part of plaque’s structure is made up of certain types of bacteria which explains how Manuka honey can aid with its “antibacterial” properties.
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The nutritionist shared that the honey can reduce the bacterial component and therefore “plaque formation as a whole”.
What’s more, just one to two teaspoons a day should be enough to do the trick.
Thompson said: “Manuka honey can largely be used like other types of honey, such as in yoghurt, puddings, to cereal or porridge or added to cold and hot drinks.
“[However], the hydrogen peroxide and MGO in Manuka honey is damaged by very high temperatures, so it’s best to wait until hot drinks have cooled to drinking temperature before adding the honey.”
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Despite the promising oral health benefits, Manuka honey is still packed with free sugars.
Worryingly, a high intake of free sugars has “detrimental” health effects, ranging from tooth decay to a higher risk of heart disease.
Thompson added: “However, just one to two teaspoons of Manuka honey is sufficient to provide meaningful health benefits.
“The level of sugar in this small quantity is fairly small and would fit into a balanced diet, where the intake of free sugars from other sources is limited.”
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