Dear Dr. Ellie:

Hi! I bought some Zellie’s from Pittsford Wegman’s today and I’m wondering if I should eat one after brushing, flossing and rinsing with flouride before bed? Are these meant just for during the day or is it helpful to your teeth to have one before bed, one half hour after flouride rinse? I love them so far…thanks so much for al of your help!! Your website has been so helpful, and I am very thankful for it =)


Hi MG,

I usually recommend eating one or two Zellies or a piece of gum after everything you eat or drink. It would not do harm to eat before bed but I do not know if it would enhance the program.

I would only tell you that there is research to show that when we sleep, we have the least salivary flow into our mouths. This relative dryness is why it is so important to go to bed with teeth properly prepared (any acidity left on teeth will do more harm at night or when sleeping than while we are awake and talking and eating etc).

We also know that the residue from the ACT can remain in crevices in teeth for some hours if not washed away by saliva. It is the crevices, dips and pits in our teeth that are at the most risk for cavities and damage.

I would not recommend eating a Zellie after the ACT, but if there were a reason (acid reflux, taste, dry mouth, or great preference) I would agree that it may be a good idea! Here is a video of a child cleaning her teeth and then eating some gum on the way to bed!

The greatest thing about xylitol is it seems to be our true friend. It does not penalize us if we forget to eat it for a day or two. It does not seem to matter exactly how much we eat or when as long as you generally get about 6-10 grams a day ( one and a half teaspoons). I love the freedom from rules and the fact that it does no harm- only good. On these grounds, I would say: suit yourself!

Hope this helps.
Ellie Phillips, DDS

Categories: Xylitol

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