Gum Irritation

Dear Dr. Ellie, 

I have been on your System for almost 1 month. I use the exact products you suggest. I just started using your Xylitol mints about 1 week ago. My mouth and teeth have been feeling clean and fresh without any plaque buildup since I started.

However, within the past several days I have noticed that my gums are very soft and tender and irritated. They are not bleeding though. I have receding gums and the System seems to aggravate it more so.

I am not sure if the cause could be that I am leaving the Listerine in my mouth too long or perhaps it could be the Act or the Xylitol. Are my gums just trying to heal themselves or do you feel I could have a sensitivity to one of the products?

Please tell me what your thoughts are and advice.

I will be looking forward to your reply. Thank you in advance.


Dear AL,

I can assure you that the Closys, Crest, Zellies and ACT will not cause sensitivity.

All these products are gentle and work a bit like lotion works on dry skin they are healing in the way they work.

Listerine can be aggressive just like it tastes! Listerine cleans the mouth but you may be feel some sensitivity depending on the amount of root surface that it touches. I would suggest diluting the Listerine that you use maybe 50-50 with water and shorten your use time.
dilute Listerine will still be useful but this way it may feel better.

I would not suggest that you give up the Listerine use it dilute followed by ACT. The longer you keep ACT in your mouth the better. ACT behaves like healing lotion while it is in contact with your teeth. This is why we use ACT it last thing in the routine and try not to eat or drink for at least half an hour.

I think you will find this solves any sensitivity problems.

Ellie Phillips, DDS

Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

  • LH says:

    From what I understand from my dentist (also prevention-oriented and a believer in xylitol), in some people Listerine can be harmful to the gums. I may be one of those people. I started using the system and after two weeks one spot on my gums began to look irritated and had some bleeding. I attributed it to the Listerine because prior to that there was no inflammation. I was disappointed because I REALLY wanted to use the CWT system. I still use the fluoride rinse twice daily and eat Zellies after food and drink.I’m nervous about using the Listerine if it can possibly damage my gums because I already have significant recession (although no pocketing) due to traumatic bone loss in my jaw. A long story.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Listerine gets its effectiveness from essential oils. It is a very old recipe and has great antibacterial properties. I know a lot of people are nervous of Listerine because it does taste strong. I would never suggest leaving Listerine on teeth but would always suggest that you to rinse it off with ACT. For some who find Listerine too strong they can dilute it 50-50 with warm water and it will still work.At very least, you can clean your toothbrush with it! I would suggest for now you do what your dentist suggests. See the outcome in a month or two. Maybe in the future you can try the entire system again and see if you get a better result. Good luck,Ellie

  • Anonymous says:

    I use Prevident mouthwash with sodium fluoride, is it safe/beneficial to leave it in my mouth for extended periods of time?

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    I have never been a fan of Prevident products. Their products are usually expensive. My system is like a "cake recipe' and requires exact ingredients. You can add your own – but I cannot advise you on the expected outcome.I do agree that sodium fluoride is the only fluoride to recommend. The reason I like ACT is that there is research to show that dilute fluoride ( 0.05% ) is better than stronger fluoride when it comes to remineralization.It seems counter-intuitive, but this is fact. The strong gels that dentists put on kids teeth are often over 9,000 parts per million. Such strong fluoride has been shown useless for remineralizing teeth. They are too strong! You need a dilution around 1 part per million if you are looking to repair and beautify teeth. The other reason ACT works so well is because of its INACTIVE ingredients! ACT is the perfect consistency ( thickness/thinness) to flow into the cracks and pits that need help to prevent decay. ACT can flow between teeth and reach into the vulnerable spaces, yet has clingy-ness( is that a word?) to stay against the tooth for a short while after using. The remineralizing effect of sodium fluoride occurs ONLY when the fluoride is in contact with the tooth surface. Once it washes off the tooth, the benefit is gone.Fluoride works in an unusual way. It acts as a catalyst – its purpose is to boost/speed a flow of minerals from your saliva into the tooth surface.This dilute fluoride helps speed up the process to mineralize teeth and make them stronger and brighter in color. Ellie http://www.zellies.com26 Corporate WoodsRochester, NY 14623(585) 272-1270

  • >