The Effect of Honey as a Treatment for Oral Ulcerative Lesions: A Systematic Review

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Background and objectives A healthy oral environment features a rapid turnover rate of epithelium cells capable of regeneration and repair, with the oral epithelium contributing as a physical barrier and immune defense. However, the oral cavity can be subjected to unique damage, such as ulcerations. Honey is reported as a therapeutic agent for wound healing, due to its antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Methods A systematic review was performed following the PRISMA 2015 Guidelines, to assess the efficacy and safety of the therapeutic use of honey in the oral cavity. Four electronic databases were searched (PubMed, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and Web of Science) for randomized controlled trials examining the effect of honey on oral cavity conditions. Results In total, 2,832 records were identified, and after applying exclusion criteria, 13 studies were included. Honey was applied topically throughout, for chemotherapy or radiotherapy-induced oral mucositis (n = 11), dental wounds (n = 1), and recurrent aphthous stomatitis (n = 1), all of which are ulcerations with different pathologies. In the majority of studies (12/13), honey reduced the severity and/or duration of the condition compared with control groups (all p<0.05). However, a group treated with Manuka honey (n = 1) experienced adverse effects and considerable participant attrition. Conclusions Honey is an effective treatment for a range of oral ulcerative conditions. Future research should focus on compositional analysis of honeys to determine those with optimal beneficial properties, and whether Manuka honey is safe to use in the oral cavity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalExploratory Research and Hypothesis in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2020


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