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J Periodontol. 2012 Sep;83(9):1116-21. doi: 10.1902/jop.2012.110461. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

A comparative evaluation of the antibacterial efficacy of honey in vitro and antiplaque efficacy in a 4-day plaque regrowth model in vivo: preliminary results.

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Department of Periodontics, Bangalore Institute of Dental Sciences and Post Graduate Research Centre, Bangalore, India.



Honey has a potent broad-spectrum antibacterial action that may make it suitable for "anti-infective" treatment of periodontal disease. The aims of this study are as follows: 1) to evaluate the antibacterial efficacy of honey against oral bacteria and compare the same with 0.2% chlorhexidine; and 2) to compare antiplaque efficacy in vivo with chlorhexidine.


The study was conducted in two parts. In the in vitro part, the inhibitory effects of three test agents, 0.2% chlorhexidine gluconate, honey mouthwash, and saline, against six oral bacteria at concentrations of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, and 512 μg/mL were tested in duplicate. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was set as the lowest concentration of the agent that completely inhibited the growth of the test species. The in vivo part consisted of a double-masked parallel clinical trial based on a 4-day plaque regrowth model. Sixty-six volunteers, 20 to 24 years of age, participated in the study, and the plaque scores were compared at baseline and at the end of 4 days. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used for significance, and the Mann-Whitney U test was used for pairwise comparison of the groups. The mean plaque scores were 1.77 ± 0.86, 1.64 ± 0.90, and 3.27 ± 0.83 for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively.


The honey mouthrinse effectively inhibited the six tested microorganisms. The chlorhexidine gluconate rinse had the lowest MICs compared with honey and saline rinses for all test species examined. The in vivo results revealed that plaque formation was inhibited/reduced by chlorhexidine and honey rinses.


Honey has antibacterial action against tested oral microorganisms and also has antiplaque action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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