Dear Dr. Ellie,
I wonder if you would be able to help me. I am looking for information regarding the use of xylitol with calcium, as a possible alternative to Tooth Mousse which contains cows milk protein, for my daughter who is allergic, (anaphylactic) to milk protein and egg. Through my research on the internet I have kept coming back to your very informative website, and can see that you are passionate about spreading the word regarding xylitol, and its properties to arrest the development of tooth decay.
We live in New Zealand in a non-fluoridated water area. My daughter, Nancy, is nearly 5 and is now seen by a dentist (rather than the school dental nurse) because of her allergies and potential problems caused by her dairy free diet. She has generally healthy teeth, no fillings etc, but I was concerned about one of her molars (the very back one, bottom right) which looked brown to me on the biting surface and is deeply fissured. At that point in time the school dental nurse recommended Fuji 7 sealant and the use of Tooth Mousse, even though I had warned her that my daughter is anaphylactic to milk. I lost my confidence in the school system, spoke to the Principal Dental officer for the Ministry of Health and got a referral to a proper dentist for her (although he is not a paediatric dentist, there aren’t any in the town where I live!!)
The dentist examined my daughter and said he wanted to take a conservative approach. He said the tooth didn’t feel “sticky”, and he didn’t want to apply sealant just yet as if it was hypoplastic it would be more difficult to get a good bond (I hope I remember all the details correctly and this is making sense!!) So he applied fluoride just to that tooth and wants to see us in 6 months. My nephew has, what I would call, severely hypoplastic teeth that look pinky-brown even at the front. So there may be a genetic thing going on!
My daughter is on a calcium supplement to replace the dairy in her diet. I have always wondered if it would be beneficial to give her this last thing at night after brushing her teeth so the calcium would sit there and hopefully be absorbed! When I heard about Tooth Mousse it made perfect sense, but because it’s made of cows milk it is not an option for us.
What I’d like to do is make my own dairy free calcium and Xylitol rinse/paste which I could use in conjunction with a fluoride toothpaste (and the fluoride which has been applied to the tooth). My theory being that if I can get the acidity neutral with the Xylitol, then the calcium and fluoride will be readily available to remineralise her teeth.
In addition to this I also have started using Xylitol in its granular form throughout the day after meals and snacks. I have been giving her a nibble of the ‘sugar’ off a spoon and getting her to hold it in her mouth for as long as possible. I make sure she has the recommended daily dose spread as evenly as possible throughout the day. Would you recommend this or is there a better way to deliver the granular form?
The only xylitol candies in New Zealand are Smint and Wrigleys Extra drops which do not have enough Xylitol to be effective, and as she is still little, I’m reluctant to use a gum. Also because of her allergies I prefer to use products in their most natural form so I can keep track of the ingredients and make sure they are safe for her.
Nancy’s calcium supplement is produced by Lifestream and is made from a sea vegetable rather than from a mineral source. It is produced in powder form with no added sugar or flavours.
It was recommended to me by her Consultant Pediatric Immunologist and her dietician at Starship Children’s hospital in Auckland so I’m pretty sure its a good one.
I’ve checked with the manufacturers of the calcium and it has no sugars but does have 1g of carbohydrate per 100g of powder (probably the cell walls of the sea cucumber xylitol perhaps?!). It has a Ph value of 10 in a 1 percent solution. (1g of powder to 99cc water).
Do you think this could safely be left on the teeth after brushing to boost the remineralisation? Can saliva ever be too alkaline? I’d be really interested to know your opinion. I have done quite a bit of thinking and really want to utilise Xylitol for Nancy, especially with her pre-dispositions, But I have come to a dead end really, and would love to know if I’m on the right lines! I discussed all this with her dentist who does recognise the beneficial effects of xylitol, and he agreed with my theory on using calcium with it, but couldn’t say for sure, athough he did think it couldn’t do any harm.
I’m sorry to have taken so long explaining my reasons for my enquiry. I’m just an ordinary mother who wants to do the best I can to care for my daughter’s teeth, and as a mother of five I am sure you can appreciate that.
I have found the whole subject of xylitol fascinating to research, and would really respect and appreciate your opinion on this,
C C – New Zealand
Thank you so much for writing to me.
I love to “talk” with people all over the world how exciting is the internet!
I need time to fully process your situation and this morning I do not have the time.
I will print out your letter and look over the information during the weekend. I will get back to you next week.
At a glance, it sounds as if you now have a good dentist and are doing the right things.
I am not an advocate for sealants unless there are really good reasons.
Regular use of xylitol has been shown to offer great protection for teeth without the risks associated with sealants, (for example, surface damage to teeth, failure of edges which may encourage leakage, the risk of trapping bacteria under the sealant).
Taking xylitol in its granular form is excellent and you are using it well.
I would be happy to send you some of the Zellies product to try. Each breath mint contains 0.5gm xylitol with natural flavors.
Vegetable based calcium stearate is used to “oil” the press for the product but those are the only ingredients. I think your daughter may like the fruit Zellies and she may find it a fun way to protect her teeth.
If you let me have an address I will ship out some product to you next week to try.
Take care and I will write back later next week.
Ellie Phillips DDS
Dental Health for Everyone!