Dear Dr. Ellie,
As for xylitol products, should I just buy the granular xylitol or packets to add to her milk and water? I am just not sure how much should be added per oz of milk. I want to ensure it is enough to add protection without adding to much (can they have too much?)
Thanks again for putting my mind at rest.
Another question – Do you believe that some dental health is hereditary? We are about to take our daughter to her first dental appt. Her teeth look great (to me) but I do notice a pin hole sized hole in one of her bottom molars. I assume this may be a cavity and am frustrated because she rarely gets any sweets and we are religious about brushing. I was blaming the milk thing. Both her father and I have a mouth full of fillings despite having taken good care of our teeth.
Thanks for any insight.
Here is a link to the part on the website for parents.
If you have more questions after reading this, perhaps we could talk on the phone one day.
It does not matter how little xylitol you put in the milk any amount (even a grain) will help.
Each day you and your kids should consume at least 6.5 grams of xylitol for dental health.
A teaspoon is about 4 grams.
If you consume more (up to 10 grams is dentally good) but above that amount will not give you any extra dental benefits. In other words, if you consume 4 teaspoons a day you will not have better teeth than eating 10 grams (It is called a plateau effect).
Safe doses of xylitol each day are up around 120-140 grams. This is a limit because xylitol may cause a slight laxative effect at these high doses. If you want to consume high doses the trick is to start slowly and increase the amount slowly over time.
I would recommend xylitol as a sugar alternative for diabetics but I am not encouraging people to eat pounds of xylitol each day. I believe in moderation and we know that all you need is a couple of teaspoons for dental health!
The other thing we know is that the dental benefits of xylitol are greatest if you eat a little several times a day. Try to have some at least 3-5 different times during the day.
We also know that disease bacteria multiply after meals so it is best to eat some xylitol at the end of a meal, snack or after a drink. Granular xylitol from a health food store is fine. Zellies mints are just compressed xylitol and you may find them easier and more delicious! Provided the gum is only sweetened with xylitol you can select from the many kinds available. Zellies has a kids mini gum that is sweet and delicious. Mix and match it will all work together!
Your final question about hereditary dental health is interesting. Parents infect their children with the bacteria from their mouths. It can not be avoided since we kiss our kids and share food etc. If you take care of your teeth you may still have bad bacteria in your mouth.
It is very important for parents to know this. It takes 6 months of eating xylitol ( at least 6.5 grams a day) to wipe out bad germs from your mouth. Then you can avoid passing cavity-forming germs to your kids.
OK so now you may worry that it is too late. NO PROBLEM. Start today and get the whole family on this xylitol system. In 6 months you will all have nice healthy mouths. It is also important to clean your toothbrushes every day and keep them away from the toilet area of your bathroom.
Finally cavities can heal and reverse. If that dot on her tooth is pronounced a cavity at the dental visit – you may want to use xylitol to try and reverse it. You can brush your daughter’s tooth with a drop of bubblegum ACT a couple of times a day. The use of ACT dilute fluoride and xylitol should be enough to reverse it in a month or two.
Good luck start soon and let me know what the dentist tells you!