Dear Dr. Ellie,
I am curious why you do not recommend a xylitol toothpaste over a regular one. Is it because it does not give much of a dose of xylitol? I won’t count it in calculating the childrens’ daily dose, but it seems like it is a toothpaste option that would be just as good if not better than others. Or, do you recommend other childrens’ toothpaste for any reason?
I will order our large order of zellis gum soon. It is great to have gum that is good for our teeth. As a health researcher, I wonder whether you are you concerned at all about xylitol reisistant bacteria?
Lots of good questions here!
How to select toothpaste
You should be concerned about the abrasiveness of toothpaste more than anything else.
You can clean teeth with just a toothbrush this is preferable to using a paste that is too abrasive. Tooth enamel is very delicate (I liken it to a honey-comb) and scratching it is more damaging that not using any paste at all.
The pastes that appear “natural” often have nice ingredients but are often of no real use or too abrasive. Without a testing lab I cannot tell you about Melaluca but I have always come out in favor of old fashioned Crest. Crest is one of the few pastes made in America (even “health” pastes are often made in China). Crest was tested in the old days when testing was serious and for consumer benefit. Remember, you are not ingesting toothpaste it is a cleaning system and you will rinse it off your teeth and out of your mouth in a short amount of time.
For children or those who resist the use of Crest I would recommend they use no paste at all.
For young children who may eat toothpaste I would not use any paste at all but instead put either a solution of xylitol on the brush or a drop of ACT mouthrinse (not used as a mouth rinse for young children of course but as a solution to brush onto the teeth).
More important than the paste is how clean is the toothbrush you are using?
Toothbrushes grow bacteria and are the major reason that families share bad bacteria.
No “Bacterial Resistance” of the kind you worry about.
On the question of bacterial resistance view xylitol more like a pro-biotic.
Xylitol creates an environment where it stimulates bacteria that promote the conditions of health not disease. Sticky bacteria of plaque will disappear and the bacteria that take their place are non sticky and easily brushed away. These “xylitol resistant” bacteria do not produce acids to weaken teeth nor do they produce toxins to cause gum disease. Those who repeatedly consume xylitol have been seen to end up with healthy teeth, healthy mouth tissue, fewer acid reflux symptoms and often stop experiencing ear infections, sinus infections and sore throats.
Xylitol is not a new product
Xylitol has been tested and consumed for over fifty years in many parts of the world.
It has been generally consumed for decades with only positive health benefits.
Some doctors prescribe xylitol for terminally sick patients to try and help them absorb calcium and alkalize the body. We are talking about one teaspoon each day.
When people consume three sticks of gum containing sorbitol, harmful mouth bacteria do change.
Harmful mouth bacteria in the presence of sorbitol will mutate and grow and thicken.
Chewing gum containing sorbitol was recently endorsed by the ADA. (Help me understand this)
I would ask you to tell your friends and neighbors to be wary of this artificial sweetener- (often confused and even mixed with xylitol ) the nasty product sorbitol.
Thanks again for your interesting questions,
Ellie Phillips, DDS