Dear Dr. Ellie,
I tried to comb your website, but I was not aware until now that xylitol had any antibacterial effects. Come to think of it, however, there may be a bit of a misnomer about what “antibacterial” means…xylitol is “starving” them out, in essence “killing” them or reducing their population (eventually). I think most people think of “antibacterial” as destroying on contact. Probably the biggest fascination I have with this whole thing is the idea that a tooth could become so healthy that it would be able to reconstruct itself and basically reverse the cavity. People do not really believe this can happen. “Arrested caries” is one thing (My friend’s child’s cavities are apparently not getting any worse, and they think it’s because he is older and no longer breastfeeding all through the night), but to see a cavity “disappear”…well, that is another. I am all for it! But as a mom I am very hesitant when it comes to treatment…I get nervous every time I forget the xylitol after a snack, when I realize it a few hours later….or if he goes to bed w/o brushing…and I do not know what I can expect to be faced with by the time he has his next dental appointment. There is also the cost factor for us….right now his dental would be covered 100%, whereas after June it may not. In my mind I am hoping for the best, but also “calculating my risk” w/regard to whether this is ACTUALLY going to work- for health and financial reasons.Which is also why I have been asking you so many questions 🙂
Thanks again for the discussion. We’ll be in touch!
Did I tell you the story of my friend’s son who had four large cavities in his molar teeth?
The dentist said this boy needed four molar teeth filled immediately. The dentist said they would get worse if they were not filled, and they may even need root canal treatments and crowns.
My friend asked me if he dared to wait six months. I have to be careful of my recommendations when they are different from other professional advice.
Basically, I said that if he were my son, I would use xylitol and ACT religiously for six months and then return for an exam. My friend cancelled the filling appointment my friend’s wife did not believe that such a simple idea could work. You can imagine the fight at home. You can imagine when they all went in the room for the next visit six months later.
The dentist picked up his explorer instrument (the sharp, spiky one). The dentist went searching for the cavities. He looked back at the notes in his file. He re-checked the teeth again all four of them. The dentist was confused.
The dentist called his assistant over and told her that she had forgotten to enter proper notes and had forgotten to charge this patient for the sealants he had done last time! “No” said my friend we used xylitol and ACT. The dentist could not find a pin prick of a hole in any of these four teeth.