Research Summary: Applications of Propolis in Dentistry: A Review

A summary of: Abbasi, A.J. et al. “Applications of Propolis in Dentistry: A Review.” Ethiopian journal of health sciences vol. 28,4 (2018): 505-512. doi:10.4314/ejhs.v28i4.16

Propolis is a resin-like substance produced by bees that is comprised of bee saliva, beeswax, and tree buds. Its role is to seal holes in the beehive and maintain the structural integrity and temperature of the internal environment. The active component of propolis is flavonoids, which provide antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anticariogenic and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Antibiotic properties have shown to be effective against a range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria by inhibiting harmful enzymes and by promoting synthesis of protective enzymes. Research has shown efficacy of antifungal and antiviral behaviors against Candida albicans and avian influenza, which can cause disease in the oral cavity. Propolis was tested for anti-inflammatory properties, which inhibited the production of prostaglandins and analgesic properties, which showed similar effects to aspirin with less side effects. 

This research paper gathered information from other studies that have investigated the application of propolis to dentistry. Resource databases provided in both Farsi and English were used, published between 1997 and 2017. The articles that are used need to fulfill the criteria of being available as a full text, written in Farsi or English and that sample sizes, along with statistical analyses, are sufficient for the purposes of the study. Articles were found pertaining to the incorporation of propolis for post-operative surgical wounds, prophylaxis of caries development, treatment of dentin hypersensitivity, and other diagnoses related to dentistry.

When the substance was used post-operatively to assess how it can speed up the wound-healing process, the lesion healed quicker, showed less inflammation, and pain. Another study showed that propolis worked better to synthesize and gather type I and III collagen when compared to silver sulfadiazine. Propolis showed to be a strong storage media for teeth that had been knocked out and could not be replaced immediately because of its ability to maintain the viability of the periodontal ligament cells. The antibacterial efficacy in intracanal treatments defends against Enterococcus faecalis. When using mouthwash to maintain oral health and to prevent caries, chlorhexidine acted more effectively, but also included toxic side effects on gingival fibroblasts. Propolis is a good alternative for mouthwash, and it is also safe to swallow, which provides additional health benefits. Further evidence showed glycosyltransferase enzymatic activity could be stopped, with the help of propolis. This inhibits the virulence factor of the Streptococcus mutans species, which is a prevalent bacterium in caries. Dentin hypersensitivity protection was more efficient using the resinous substance compared to other materials. When the propolis seals the dentinal tubules, it covers the pulp and as a result, decreases the pulp’s susceptibility to inflammation, and aids in the healing and formation of dentin. There is other evidence to show that propolis has beneficial implications in dentistry. Studies with propolis are in the early stages of development with attempts to explore further findings. Propolis is a versatile tool that poses few side effects compared to other healing therapies used in the maintenance of strong oral health.

Summary by Rubina Maani, Queen’s University Belfast, BDS 2

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