Cavities and Staining

Dear Dr. Ellie,

Hello, I submitted a question through your website, but I am unsure if I submitted it successfully. Basically, I have some concerns due to the appearance of NUMEROUS little brown spots on the front of my front teeth! I chew the mints, but I haven’t been following the Complete Mouth Care System (with the Closys/Listerine/ACT….nor brushing twice a day…I hate to admit), but I plan to start tomorrow morning! These spots have appeared within the last 3 weeks. I had an appointment for a cleaning in January and while I was there they filled in one tiny hole that had formed on the surface of my front tooth. I drink VAST amounts of tea and was wondering if I should drink a water/xylitol solution after drinking tea instead of chewing the mints? Also, since the brown spots have already formed, would I still be able to get rid of them by starting the CMC system now?? I’m very concerned. Could there be anything else I’m doing wrong???? Should I cut back on the tea????Also, I’ve always wondered…..WHEN should I brush my teeth in the morning??? Should I brush before or after breakfast???? Should I go through all the steps first thing in the morning and chew some mints after breakfast…..or should I go through all the steps after I eat???? Should I chew a mint after rinsing with ACT??

Thanks So Much!!!!

There is a lot of information about staining on the website:

If your oral health has suddenly improved old bacteria have to go somewhere and sometimes they drop like leaves in the fall and end up as stains around your teeth! Sudden changes in oral health can result in stains, but these stains are temporary and will usually resolve by themselves over time, or you could arrange to have a cleaning at the dentist to remove in a month or two. Once removed they will not return if you keep on the program. It is the sudden change that causes this.

Having better oral health is worth a little temporary staining.

Stains can also form if you use pastes like Crest Pro Health (not my recommendation). The Stannous fluoride in this paste will cause staining (temporary in nature) but it will also clean off at a dental cleaning.

If you have always been a tea drinker. I doubt that this is connected, but I do not have a good way to explain these stains to you without seeing them.

Another reason for stains is if your tooth was about to form a cavity if it was already soft and about to decay. As teeth begin to repair they can darken. This is nothing to worry about and once the tooth has healed a dentist could tell you some easy ways to make the tooth look better (sometimes just smoothing out the enamel with some polish). This kind of darkening usually takes six months to occur so I doubt this is the reason for your stains.

My last thought is hardened plaque on your teeth. These would be little accumulations that are stuck on the outside of your enamel. These spots are easily stained and if you use my system I think they will brush away over a week or so.

I would suggest that you get to work using the system. I would advise you to stop inspecting your teeth for a week then check back and see how they look! I would suggest you use xylitol in your routine in a way that is most comfortable for you. Having a routine and continuing it, is the essence of success with xylitol.

If dissolving some xylitol in water is going to be easy for you and will let you “wash” the tea off your teeth then I think it is a good suggestion for you. I do not carry drinks with me, so I would probably use gum which seems to “clean” my teeth well.

Any of the products will work you decide how you like to use the xylitol in your life.

My personal routine is to eat breakfast and then do my teeth. This allows the final residue of the ACT rinse to be left on my teeth for an hour or so before I have a mid morning coffee. I use the system last thing before bed so it is the last thing on my teeth while I sleep during the night.

Using the routine at least half an hour before you eat or drink is the way to get the most out of the system. Make it fit your lifestyle!

If you forget or travel: remember that xylitol is better than nothing and ACT is the next most important rinse (if you are going to take only one). The entire system is the bes it will invigorate and help your oral health the most just try it on a regular basis for a week and then I would be interested to know what you think if you will check back with me!

Good luck,

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