Researchers at the University of Waikato in New Zealand say that honey helps fight bacteria, and unlike some other antiseptics, is gentle on the body. Honey was used as a medicine as far back as ancient Greece, but recent research shows that an enzyme in honey called glucose oxidase produces a chemical called hydrogen peroxide, which sterilizes germs.
Clinical research has shown that several types of honey rapidly clear bacteria from infected wounds, even when the infection is deep-seated. Scientists have also found that honey not only stops the growth of the bacteria in dental plague, it reduces the amount of acid they produce, which stops the bacteria from producing a chemical known as dextran. Dextran, a component of dental plaque, is the gummy sugary substance that the bacteria make to stick to the surface of teeth. The researchers are testing several types of honey that are high in glucose oxidase to see if honey can also help treat gum disease and gingivitis.