Tooth Erosion and the Effects of Xylitol

Dear Dr. Ellie, 

I stumbled across your website during a search for information on tooth erosion. I have two questions: Can Xylitol reverse tooth erosion or just prevent it? Do many people experience bloating or diarrhea from the daily use of Xylitol? Thanks. I found your website very interesting and informative. 


Dear AS,

I will answer your second question and then answer about erosion.

You need watch carefully and note the difference between sorbitol and xylitol. Be afraid of sorbitol for a number of reasons.

Sorbitol is an cheap artificial sweetener used in many products often in products combined with xylitol. Xylitol is an expensive and natural sweetener

Xylitol is recognized (even produced) by the human body and is very well tolerated. Xylitol simply works like fiber in the diet. Because of this, you could notice some mild laxative effect if you are not used to fiber in your diet.

Sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol and many other ‘sugar alcohols’ are six carbon sugar alcohols different from xylitol. They are very poorly tolerated by the digestive system.

The body does not recognize these sugar alcohols and they can produce symptoms of gas, boating, diarrhea and other nasty things. I believe these sugar alcohols may also cause symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.

In the mouth we know that the harmful bacteria of gum disease and dental cavities learn how to use sorbitol quickly. Sorbitol can provide the bacteria of dental disease with the energy to thicken and grow. Plaque may get thicker and gum disease worsen when sorbitol is eaten regularly.

LOOK at the INGREDIENTS on labels even the very tiny print if it says sorbitol be suspicious. If you have gum disease, acid reflux or heartburn remove any sorbitol from your diet, drinks or chewing gum and replace these products with regular sugar or xylitol!

Erosion of teeth…..could be on the outside surfaces or on the biting surfaces….on some teeth or all around your mouth. Most erosion is caused by gastric acids bulimia or acid reflux diseases.
Stomach acid literally dissolves the surface of teeth. You need to figure out if this is the cause of your problems.

If not, there are other possible causes lemonade or sucking lemons or other citrus fruits. Drinking soda (even diet) if you have a dry mouth or allergies that make you breathe through your mouth. Gatorade or other sports drinks if you are an athlete especially one that participates in winter sports. Sucking sour lozenges or chronic use of an acidic mouth rinse like Listerine especially if you have a dry mouth for some reason.

The reason you have to figure out the cause of your problems is that you need to know when you are at most risk and protect your teeth at this time.

I would definitely suggest products with 100 percent xylitol and also my mouth rinse program maybe leaving out the Listerine at first if your teeth are very sensitive. Let me know if you would like to talk more about this. Used in this system you can repair enamel up to a point and remineralize teeth to expect quite good results. Without looking at the damage I cannot tell you how much repair to expect but things won’t get worse!

I am here to help,
Ellie Phillips DDS
Dental Health for Everyone!
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester NY 14623

Categories: Xylitol

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  • Anonymous says:

    You say that: Sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol and many other ‘sugar alcohols’ are five carbon sugar alcohols.Actually its Xylitol that has five carbon atoms, these others have six.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Thank you for the comment — I see how I miswrote this entry. I am going to go back and clarify, because you are right that Sorbitol, mannitol and maltitol are 6 carbon sugars and are part of a large group of ‘sugar alcohols’ . Sorbitol, mannitol and maltitol are very different from xylitol in many ways – and these sugar alcohols are poorly tolerated by the digestive system. Xylitol, on the other hand, does not give such side effects especially if the dosage is gradually increased over a period of time. Sorbitol, mannitol, and maltitol are six carbon sugar alcohols – whereas xylitol is different being a five carbon sugar alcohol. This is one of its features that bestowes different properties on xylitol – and a reason why harmful mouth bacteria are unable to process xylitol for energy.Thank you for finding this typo!Dr. Ellie.

  • Karl says:

    Hello Dr. Ellie,How about reversing gum recession? I've managed to reverse and elminate nearly all of my gum infection that had two leaking ulcerations after the ordeal of two fillings on the edge of my back lower gum line. Xylitol and a new Water Pick seemed to accelerate the healing, as I'd previosly been taking additional calmagxinc, vitamin C as well as brushing and flossing daily for a year. Could xylitol along with CoQ10 enable the body to restore former gum tissue over exposed bone? Thirty years ago the smug high priests of medical learned helplessnes asserted that coronary artery disease was permanent, and that anyone who disagreed a misinformed kook, but now we see that they were wrong. I'm hoping for an equivalent paradigm breaker with gum disease.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Hi Karl, I think you will enjoy my book that is to be in bookstores on January 1st 2010.The title is Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye – but the message is how to stimulate natural healing and reverse dental damage.Dental disease is definitely stoppable and reversible – but you have to know which products to use. I would NEVER recommend baking soda ( read below). The problem is exactly as you say – whom do you believe: me? or your dentist? "Follow the money" is my suggestion – as I wrote to the lady who sent me the following message. Hi Dr. Ellie, I just wanted to let you know that I went to the dentist after being on your program for 4 months and some of my gum pockets have shrunk from 5's , to 3's and 4's…I am thrilled! Also my daughter's small cavity is gone! The hygienist also measured my bacteria level in my mouth and said it was excellent! She did say I had a lot of staining though, which she removed. While I was there the dentist gave me a handout and recommended xxxx rinses and gum. What is your opinion on these products? Have you heard of them? Also he gave me a handout on the various tooth pastes and their abrasion level and told me to use very little if any of the low abrasives ( I already have recession). I was surprised to see that baking soda was one of the lowest, why is this? You would think it would be the highest. I don't want to lose anymore of my gum tissue, so you think I should eliminate tooth paste altogether?? Anyway, just wanted to THANK YOU ,THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for all your information!!!!! Prior to this I was on a perio program every 4 months, I was shocked when the dentist told me I don't have to come back for 6 months….YOUR REGIME WORKS!!!!!!!!!! B. Here was a lady, her cavity and gum disease reversed (most dentist will tell you that pockets over 4 mm cannot heal without their intervention). She experienced total success in only four months. Her dentist until now had not offered any therapy to help. Fortunately she found my website and followed directions. (The staining she refers to is dead plaque bacteria – once removed, the debris will be gone forever if she stays on my system). Now, remarkably healthy, she returns to her dentist. He wants to take her OFF my system and implement a new one that he can sell her (through an affiliate program obviously!)I happen to know the system – which has just been "marketed" to dental offices. This lady sounds as if she is going to give his system a try. Help me!!!!Ellie http://www.zellies.com26 Corporate WoodsRochester, NY 14623(585) 272-1270

  • Karl says:

    Thanks, Dr. E.I just sent for your book. My goal is to save those two lower-back rear teeth and heal their gums. I'll write an update after I've implemented whatever additional suggestions are in your book.Regards,Karl

  • Karl says:

    Hello Dr. Ellie:Thanks for your website and book. I'm about halfway through your book at present.I have a couple of questions though:First: Are there any dentists like you in the Minnesota area?Secondly: Xylitol seems to have made all of my teeth stronger and more stable, as well as decreasing two persistent gum infection in two lower left and right rear molars. However, one of these lover molars just lost a fairly large filling along the gum line. While the tooth is not painful or sensitive, it is somewhat loose and has gum recession. In light of no pain or sensitivity, would it be warranted to try and give this cavity a chance to heal? My dentist is good but very old school 1970's, and I suspect his first impulse would be to do something drastic and perhaps expensive.I've also read that 6 months of daily 1100 mg's of calcium, with magnesium and zinc, can reduce gum inflammation, reduce infection pockets and make loose teeth firm again. This is from page 502-504 of "The Practical Encyplopedia of Natural Healing" ISBN 0-87857-136-1 Rodale Press 1976, by Mark Bricklin.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Thanks for your message – I am glad that you are enjoying my book.I feel you should read the chapter on gum health and plaque. Just like cavities, gum problems are caused by bacteria. The bacteria cause inflammation etc. and then your gums recede and teeth loosen.I have no idea if calcium, magnesium or zinc can heal gum inflammation. I do know that my suggested sequence of mouth rinses – ( when used exactly in the order I suggest – plus xylitol five times during the day)…….will help you! This is a special sequence of products that work together to help teeth and gums.It sounds as if your lost filling was quite large, and that your gums are damaged.I recommend my system of mouth rinses – maybe for two or three months – so you can see how your mouth feels after using them.Then go to your dentist and ask what he thinks. I suggest you are very careful about cleaning your toothbrush every day in Listerine, rinse out and allow to air dry (in a place sheltered from the toilet area).Use my rinse routine twice a day – in the morning and last thing at night.NEVER use peroxide or baking soda – these products interfere with development of healthy biofilm on teeth – something essential for gum health! Hope this advice is helpful to you,Take care,Ellie http://www.zellies.com26 Corporate WoodsRochester, NY 14623

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