The Potential Use of Propolis as a Cariostatic Agent and Its Actions on Mutans Group Streptococci
J Ethnopharmacol, 2009 Aug 17;125(1):1-9. Epub 2009 May 5. Links
Propolis is a resinous substance made by bees. It possesses many biological activities, and many studies have reported its potential application in the control of dental caries. However, variability in the chemical composition of propolis is a potential problem in its quality control, especially since propolis has already been incorporated into products for oral use. Therefore, a critical analysis of the available data on propolis is warranted.
The present review discusses the in vitro and in vivo studies published in the period between 1978 and 2008 regarding the effects of propolis on Streptococcus mutans growth, bacterial adherence, glucosyltransferase activity, and caries indicators.
Several investigations carried out with crude propolis extracts, isolated fractions, and purified compounds showed reductions in Streptococcus mutans counts and interference with their adhesion capacity and glucosyltransferase activity, which are considered major properties in the establishment of the cariogenic process.
Data from in vivo studies have demonstrated reductions in Streptococcus mutans counts in saliva, the plaque index, and insoluble polysaccharide formation. These findings indicate that propolis and/or its compounds are promising cariostatic agents.
However, the variation in the chemical composition of propolis due to its geographical distribution is a significant drawback to its routine clinical use. Thus, further studies are needed to establish the quality and safety control criteria for propolis in order for it to be used in accordance with its proposed activity.