Bees produce propolis to seal the hive and protect it from external diseases. When a mouse dies inside the hive and bees are not able to remove the body, they wrap it with propolis to mummify it and so avoid the "effluvia" of decomposition.
Therefore, it helps protect the fragile ecosystems inside a hive. Maybe that is why many properties are attributed to it:
- Delays old age (antioxidant).
- Inhibits the growth of bacteria, fungi and viruses (antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral).
- Stimulates the immune system (immunostimulant).
- Combats inflammation and pain (anti-inflammatory and anesthetic).
- Eliminates toxins from the body (antitoxic).
What is it?
Propolis is pasty, dark, very sticky, brown with golden tones and with a bitter and spicy taste, intense, persistent… It is not very attractive at first glance!
When it is fresh it should be kept refrigerated and if it cannot be refrigerated (as it was in our case) a tincture is easily made.
To get some propolis we can go to the pharmacy, to the herbalist or to the natural products store. But it will always be more interesting to find a beekeeper who collects propolis from the walls of his hives so that we can use it in its pure state.
This paste can be transformed into capsules, tablets, candies, alcoholic extracts, glycolic extracts, propolis powder, syrups, toothpastes, mouthwash, creams, shampoos, soaps, tonics, deodorants ... Even ecological varnish!
Its composition is highly variable, since it depends on the type of subtances that the bee collects. Depending on the composition, its properties vary and the treatments are more or less effective, especially in the case of those related to the improvement of cancer, which are still under study.
Although propolis has a multitude of applications in health, today we present its application in the mouth and teeth, since, from experience, we know that it is as effective as unknown to the general public. Its applications are many and varied:
Propolis in Oral Health
- Anti cavities: It protects us from cavities by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms that generate dental plaque.
- Bad breath: Minimizes bad breath due to its antimicrobial activity.
- Wounds, bites and sores: Accelerates their healing due to its antimicrobial, healing, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Gingival and periodontal diseases: It is effective for this same anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anesthetic and healing activity.
- Cold sores: due to its high antiviral efficacy, being effective against streptococcus mutans, enterococcus faecalis and various types of candida.
- Recurrent aphthoid stomatitis: propolis reduces the frequency of recurrence of the disease and improves the quality of life of patients.
- Oral Surgery: supports the healing process after surgery in the oral cavity by being suitable for healing, accelerating the creation of new tissue, reducing inflammation and having an analgesic effect.
- Tooth extraction: it is used after the extraction of teeth due to its properties already mentioned, it improves the cells around the teeth and increases the metabolic activity and proliferation of the cells of the tissues that surround the teeth.
From what we see, propolis has endless uses in oral health, since in addition to those described, there are also other quite technical applications that would be convenient to discuss them through the knowledge of a professional.
So you can read the following study: Does propolis help maintain oral health?, this time written in English.
Why is it not used?
That is a great question, since if it has so many properties, why does it go unnoticed in the dental industry? Well it seems that the answer is a bit disappointing:
It is brown! For the consumer who relates the color of the toothpaste whith the color of their teeth, a brown toothpaste is not going to be to their liking.
Currently we have more knowledge and less scruples with the aesthetics of the products we consume and we already find many options for oral hygiene with propolis.
As with any substance, we must consult its use with a specialist or professional who can advise us on the application of each case. In addition, propolis can cause allergies , especially in people who are allergic to bee stings, so it is advisable to carry out tests before starting any treatment with propolis.
Personally, and without yet having any knowledge about its effects, we use fresh propolis to treat inflammation around a wisdom tooth. We applied a piece of doughy and sticky fresh propolis to the affected tooth and, although we left it on for an afternoon, its effect was almost immediate: it reduced pain and inflammation in just under an hour.
After a while, that same tooth had to be extracted and after a few hours propolis tincture was applied. Immediately the bleeding stopped, in a short time the pain subsided (although it did not disappear completely) and on the third day the wound healed.
This is the story by which we are interested in its properties and by which we tell you about propolis in oral health.