Dear Dr. Ellie,
I have been using your system daily for almost 4 months and I notice big positive changes. My teeth feel so much smoother, healthier, cleaner. Many thanks to you! Question: If I kiss someone, sharing saliva, who has not used your program, or if I share food with someone, each dipping our own spoons into the dish, will I re-infect my mouth with bad bacteria?
And, if so, how much of a setback will this be in my healthy mouth, if I keep using the system?
Thank you again!
Anyone who consumes at least 7 grams of xylitol each day will slowly eradicate harmful mouth bacteria from their mouths.
In five weeks studies show that the bacteria have gone from plaque on teeth and by three months most of your saliva will be clean of these critters!
By the end of six months the skin of your tongue, skin of your mouth and everywhere else will be free of these disease bacteria. You are well on your way to this! I would mark 6 months from the date you started eating xylitol
Studies with naval recruits were done in the 1960s.
The study took recruits with bacterially “clean” mouths and gave half of this group a dental cleaning. Then everyone was made to rinse with a solution containing harmful mouth bacteria.
The recruits who had the cleaning picked up the infection with the harmful bacteria. The ones who did not have the cleaning were protected by the existence of a film of healthy bacteria on their teeth so they did not get infected.
The moral of this story:
Once you have changed the flora of your mouth it is valuable to you.
A course of antibiotics or a physical cleaning away of the healthy film on your teeth will leave you vulnerable. After taking antibiotics or after having a dental cleaning you are vulnerable to a change in bacteria.
If you think about intestinal flora in your gut it is the same. A course of antibiotics can wipe out healthy intestinal bacteria and leave you vulnerable to infection by harmful ones that can give you stomach upsets etc.
For intestinal health people suggest probiotics foods that promote the regrowth of health intestinal flora. It is the same with your mouth. Xylitol basically provides you a pro-biotic that encourages healthy flora while ridding you of harmful ones.
Your concern is genuine. You should be careful to eat enough xylitol following a dental cleaning or course of antibiotics since your teeth will be vulnerable. This is also why it is important at these times to make sure you have a clean toothbrush!
I have a testing kit that measures the numbers of harmful bacteria in your saliva. My husband and I took the test a little while back and we both registered results of so little bacteria we were off the charts and undetectable!
I am hoping that this will be a test that hygienists offer their patients to monitor the effects of six months on xylitol. It was really nice to have a reading that showed our mouths so healthy.
Thank you for this interesting question.
Ellie Phillips, DDS