Dear Dr. Ellie:
You recommend 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of xylitol a day, right? I ordered some granular xylitol, how often should I take it and how do you recommend? (mixed with water and swished in mouth or a spoonful in mouth?).
Is it better to have say 1/2 tsp 3 times a day or 1 and 1/2 tsp once a day?
Note (One teaspoon is about 4 grams) Xylitol has two main benefits for teeth:
1) To eradicate unhealthy plaque bacteria which occurs when you take a little regularly over time.
2) To raise the mouth pH and stimulate remineralization/healing of teeth which occurs whenever you eat some xylitol ( even a little bit)
In order to establish healthy mouth bacteria and wipe out harmful ones, research shows that you need to consume around 6.5 grams of xylitol daily for six months. You can consume more, but you will not remove any more bacteria if you consume over 10 grams!
If you consume less than 6.5 grams you may not remove all the harmful plaque bacteria.
Harmful bacteria appear to multiply at the end of a meal so it is best to consume xylitol at the end of a meal or snack.
Also, most drinks and meals create acidity in the mouth. Stress, age and dry mouth also create acidic conditions (because saliva can become acidic). Eating xylitol removes mouth acidity and creates healing non-acidic conditions for teeth. It does not matter what amount you use it will change mouth acidity quickly.
One small Zellie breath mint (0.5 grams) will remove mouth acidity after a drink in less than a minute.
So, it is useful to take your xylitol after any acidic drink, meal, snack or whenever your mouth is dry ideally at least 5-6 times a day.
To answer your questions:
You can achieve both benefits with any kind of xylitol. You can eat granular xylitol from a spoon, dissolve it in water or eat chewing gum or xylitol breath mints. Decide what fits your life style and the most convenient way for you to remember to use it after meals, snacks and drinks.
If you mouth is dry during the night you could sip xylitol water or use it as a spray. For my life I keep gum in the car but I eat mints at work. I have recommended kids take a bottle of xylitol water to school to sip after drinks and meals, especially when schools do not allow gum or mints.
Each mint is 0.5 grams.
Each piece of gum 0.7 grams.
You have to do a little math and make sure that your daily amount adds up to between 6.5 and 10 grams a day. You can safely eat 100 grams a day but no real benefit that I am aware of. (I believe that some doctors recommend 20 grams a day to help reverse osteoporosis, but this is outside my territory as a dentist!)
Hope I have answered your questions,