Thrush and Xylitol

Dear Dr. Ellie:

Hi! My husband and I met you at Phillips European Restaurant in Rochester, NY. We had been using xylitol mints for about a week and ran out. While I was waiting for my purchase to come in the mail, I experienced a sore tongue for approximately 6 days. I made a doctor’s appointment as we were about to go on vacation and I was afraid that maybe the xylitol had disrupted my normal flora and caused thrush. Needless to say, my physician did not notice any thrush and my symptoms improved within a couple days without treatment. I am a little concerned about re0initiating the Zellies but excited about the dental benefits and really want this to work. I was wondering if any one else had experiences a sore tongue? I may have just burned it on something and it too a little while longer to heal who knows? Any reports of thrush with Zellies? ? 

– L

Dear L,

Xylitol is anti-fungal and would be recommended to cure thrush and prevent sore tongue.
Native Americans would wrap their medicines in birch wood to prevent fungus attacking their precious herbs.

We advocate the use of xylitol to cure fungal infections like thrush, sore mouth under dentures and sores at the corners of the mouth called angular cheilitis. It may have been that eating xylitol was keeping a thrush problem away.

People often ask where thrush fungus comes from. I would recommend carefully looking at your toothbrush. Tooth brushes pick up mould and in the same way that mold grows in a damp shower, it will grow on your brush if it is moist or damp. This is why brushes should never be stored in cupboards or in bags. Traveling with toothbrushes is very difficult they need to be clean and dry before going into a bag.

In the summertime people often travel and take their toothbrushes into damp surroundings (by the beach, on a boat or in hotels near the ocean or lake water.) Mold spores will grow on toothbrushes and may be the precursors for fungal infections transferred into the mouth.

I would make sure your start off again with a clean, new toothbrush (Have you tried a Zellies toothbrush?). At home make sure you dry your brush carefully after disinfecting each day.

Keep your brush clean every day by swishing in Listerine, rinsing off and store it dry very important: dry it completely between cleanings. This will take care of any possible transfer of infection from a toothbrush into your mouth.

Let me know how this works and if perhaps this will explain the problem. In about a week eating some xylitol should restore your oral health and combined with a clean toothbrush system you should be able to keep it that way.

I suggest you do an experiment:
First make sure you rid your mouth of any thrush spores and get back yourself back to complete health for about two months.

Now make sure you keep your toothbrush really clean.
Now stop eating xylitol and see if your sore tongue happens again (I believe it will not).

I think this little “test” will explain how the sore tongue was there and, in fact, xylitol kept it away. I think this may give you peace of mind and more confidence in xylitol being your friend!

Thanks for your question I am always interesting to hear comments and concerns.
Take care and feel free to let me know if I can help in any other way.

Ellie Phillips, DDS

Categories: Uncategorized


  • LH says:

    What is the best way to dry the toothbrush after disinfecting it with Listerine? Air? A towel wouldn’t be good unless it was fresh (and then you’d have to have a clean towel each time you disinfect the the tootbrush.Also, is it counterproductive to clean different family members’ toothbrushes in the same cup of Listerine? I’d like to economize, but don’t know if germs can spread via Listerine.

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