By Sade Oguntola
Honey has traditionally been used for the treatment of ulcers and wounds and has also been used in modern medicine. The US food and Drug Administration recently approved Manuka honey for the treatment of burns and ulcers.
Researchers have evaluated the effect of honey on different wounds such as burn wounds, diabetic wounds, compression wounds, and contaminated surgical wounds. Honey, compared with some other conventional local medicaments, improves the healing process in mild-to-moderate surface burn wounds.
Now, in a new study, researchers also recommended the use of honey to decrease wound sizes and ensure faster healing after extraction of teeth in children.
They found that honey decreased wound size and accelerated wound healing after extraction of teeth in children.
The Iranian researchers had evaluated the effect of honey on the healing of tooth extraction wounds in 51 patients, four to nine years of age. All required extraction of one deciduous molar tooth. They were randomly assigned to two groups.
The children had no history of systemic conditions, use of medications and allergy to honey, and had not repeatedly used honey during the previous six-month period.
They also excluded children that suffered a widespread injury during the tooth extraction, or subjects who used mouthwashes or any specific medication from the day of tooth extraction until the seventh day.
In group 1, after extraction of the tooth, the dentist used a cotton swab applicator to place a layer of honey on a piece of gauze moistened with normal saline solution (NSS) and placed it on the socket. In group 2, honey was not used; rather, NSS was applied. On days three and seven after tooth extraction, the wound sizes were measured.
Comparison of the two groups at different time intervals showed that wound size on third and seventh day after tooth extraction was significantly lower in the honey group compared with the NSS group.
In both honey and NSS groups, the wound sizes on day three were significantly smaller than those at the day of tooth extraction. In addition, on day seven, they were significantly smaller compared with day three.
In addition, the severity of pain and swelling, too, decreased significantly on days two, three, and five compared with day one.
The researchers said in the 2019 edition of the Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice that in patients in which a large number of teeth are extracted under general anaesthesia, honey can play an important role in decreasing pain and other postoperative morbidity, complications, and in accelerating wound healing.
They suggested that the ability of honey to heal wounds from tooth extraction might be attributed to its effect on prevention of the proliferation of common disease-causing organisms in the mouth, resulting in shortening of the healing period.
They declared, “Honey resulted in a decrease in wound sizes and faster healing after extraction of teeth in children. Therefore, the use of honey can be recommended after minor surgeries in the mouth.
“Use of this natural substance is a simple and cost-effective technique. In addition, honey is a natural product without any side effects and is easily tolerated by the child due to its pleasant taste and aroma. Therefore, its use is recommended after minor and even major surgeries in the oral cavity.
The researchers, however, said that since the positive effect of the honey can be due to the additive effect of honey and normal saline, to specify the pure effect of honey, more studies is required.
Previously, a cross-sectional randomized interventionist study said aloe vera is economical and effective in ensuring faster healing in the tooth extraction site.
The researchers in the 2017 edition of the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research had studied the effectiveness of Aloe Vera on the healing of the wound after extraction of teeth in 40 patients.
In addition to healing the common complaint associated with extraction wound without any side effect, the aloe vera group had less pain after two hours of its application.
In the study, the aloe vera group showed 70 per cent healing on the third day and 90 per cent healing on the seventh day and the patients who were under analgesics showed 60 per cent healing on the third day 76 per cent healing on the seventh day.
Aloe vera has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps increase collagen formation and blood supply, which can promote wound healing. People can apply aloe vera gel to a ball of gauze and place it over the dry socket.
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