Dental Q & A

The following was a series of questions asked of Dr. Ellie recently by a concerned mother. If you have questions you would like directly answered by Dr. Ellie Phillips, you can comment below or email
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Why do my kids have cavities?

Your kids have cavities if their teeth are damaged more than they are “rebuilt” or “repaired” at the end of each day. The health of a tooth depends on the health of its outer surface the enamel. Enamel is damaged by mouth acids but naturally repaired by minerals in the mouth.

Damaging acids are produced by harmful bacteria, or they come from acidic foods or (most often) from acidic drinks. If, as a parent, you can tip the balance away from damage and help your kids teeth enjoy more repair their cavities can reverse and may disappear.

If you allow bad bacteria to produce acids or if you allow your kids to sip on acidic drinks (apple juice) without adequate protection (without xylitol after the juice) then you will have weakening of the outer enamel and cavities will form.

How strictly do i need to limit their sugary/sticky food intake? and are dates and raisins just as bad as candy?

If you read the answer above you will not find the word sugar. Sugar itself does not harm teeth .
Sugar feeds harmful bacteria in the mouth the ones that produce the acids to damage and weaken enamel.

Without harmful bacteria, sugar, dates, raisins and other sugary things will not harm teeth.

The only way that I know to eradicate harmful bacteria on teeth is to consume at least 6.5 grams of xylitol daily for at least 6 months. Xylitol will work best if this dose is spaced out several times a day and it works especially if consumed at the end of a meal, snack or drink.

(Harmful bacteria triple in numbers at the end of a meal when they feed on sugars and carbohydrates in the meal to give them energy.) As harmful bacteria absorb xylitol, the xylitol immediately stops their acid production and makes them less able to stick to teeth and form plaque.

Worry about keeping harmful bacteria out of your children’s mouths then you can worry less about the items that your kids are eating at their meals.

What are the worst foods for dental decay?

The worst foods for dental decay are acidic drinks especially if children sip them constantly.
Apple juice is extremely acidic and contains sugars that feed harmful bacteria in the mouth ( and ear tubes ). If kids drink a lot of apple juice they often have bad teeth and ear infections.
Sodas are also very acidic even diet ones. Fruited waters, vitamin waters and sports drinks are all very acidic.

If I were a parent I would get some pH testing paper and test the acidity of the drinks that I keep in my refrigerator.

If your kids have cavities the chances are that they are drinking acidic drinks.
Note: Tap water in some areas is very acidic. Healthy juices lemonade and teas can also be acidic.

Do I need to give them fluoride water or fluoride tablets?

I do not believe in fluoride supplements or fluoride water (the “Spring” fluoridated water found in stores is made by CocaCola! Ha!)

I only believe in the use of ACT rinse from the age of 6 years rinse well and spit out well.
Before a child is able to rinse and spit if you need the help of fluoride to remineralize and help repair teeth consider brushing teeth with a drop of ACT on a toothbrush morning and night.

How do I “get rid of” the caries disease? how difficult is it to get rid of and what are the biggest factors to consider?

Xylitol is your natural ally and friend! Space out a total amount of 6-8 grams xylitol each day after meals.

It can be granular on a spoon, with fruit dipped into it, made into a drink, or eaten as a chewing gum or candy mint.

It takes time: in 5 weeks you will have eradicated the harmful bacteria from the teeth, and in 6 months you will have eradicated them from the saliva, nose, ear tubes etc. When these bacteria have gone from the mouth the disease will have gone. Healthy bacteria will now cover your teeth and protect them.

Only when your teeth are cleaned at the dentist or if you take a course of antibiotics will you find yourself at risk of becoming infected again with harmful bacteria.

Is it really that important to sanitize the toothbrushes?

This depends on where you store your toothbrushes ( how close is the toilet?)

Who lives in your home and do they all have healthy teeth and gums?

Do you travel in hotels this is a contagious infection and it can spread from one brush to another.

I would be a little less concerned if your entire family has healthy teeth, the toilet is in another room and you do not travel .

I would still advise you to clean your toothbrush with Listerine at least twice a week even if you live in ideal conditions.

Does my toddler need a fluoride toothpaste, or is xylitol/licorice extract ok?

I do not know if this xylitol/licorice is made into a paste with abrasives. Many “healthy” pastes from the health food stores are way too abrasive for anyone’s teeth. If your toddler is in need of a filling then I would brush his teeth with a drop of ACT on the toothbrush.

The use of dilute sodium fluoride and xylitol will hasten the healing process for his teeth and help to make them stronger and more acid-resistant.

Licorice and xylitol are antibacterial but do not have the remineralizing effect you need if his teeth already have cavities in them.

Will I ever be able to loosen up and not have to give them xylitol after every snack?

Ask yourself what you want to achieve for your children’s teeth.

As a mother of five, I am proud to see their beautiful teeth when they smile..

My children have had very few cleanings at the dentist. My children are the beneficiaries of my preventive knowledge.

My youngest children did not have fluoride supplements. They used xylitol and ACT and then the Complete Mouth Care System as they became old enough. These kids will never have cavities and will proably avoid dental treatments for life, able to enjoy white, shiny teeth.


Categories: Cavities, Xylitol

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  • Anonymous says:

    Why are you at risk to becoming reinfected after having your teeth cleaned by a dentist?

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Hi, First I would suggest you go to this link on my website:Read how xylitol works and about "healthy biofilm". People often do not realize that "zappy-clean" teeth are not safe or healthy. Our teeth need a microscopic layer of healthy "biofilm" over them.This layer protects teeth from harm. "Harm" (for teeth) comes every day as we eat and drink. Any acidity can corrode teeth – as can temperatures and even spices. A healthy "biofilm" stops temperature and acidity from disturbing the tooth underneath. Another source of harm for teeth is infection by "invader" or "wild-strain" bacteria or fungus.A healthy layer of biofilm, protects the tooth and fights off invasion from unwanted and harmful germs. Removing this biofilm leaves your teeth "unprotected"If conditions are healthy in your mouth, you quickly form a new layer of biofilm – but, until you re-establish this layer, you could be exposed to harmful bacteria ( for example, if you kissed or shared food with someone with bad teeth) and your teeth could become infected. Antibiotics remove biofilm and potentially this can allow "infection" to occur.This is why I believe it is vital to use xylitol during and after a course of antibiotics – to make sure your teeth are protected until a healthy biofilm is re-established. Dental cleanings also remove biofilm .This is OK, providing you continue using the system I recommend, and consume 6 grams of xylitol daily.But potentially you could be exposed to harmful bacteria that could infect your mouth at this time when you are without protection. Research was done in the 1960s that showed this ( two groups of men with healthy mouths were exposed to bad bacteria. One group had a dental cleaning – one did not):A group of Navy recruits with healthy mouths had their teeth cleaned( -so their biofilm was removed).They rinsed with bad bacteria.The saliva of these recruits was tested and showed their teeth were now infected by bad bacteria in their mouths.Another group of recruits with healthy mouths did not have their teeth cleaned ( their biofilm remained intact).They rinsed with bad bacteria.The saliva of these recruits was tested and showed they had not been infected by the bad bacteria in their mouths. Hope this explains the situation.It is a difficult new concept for those who have always believed you need a cleaning to have good teeth!Ellie http://www.zellies.com26 Corporate WoodsRochester, NY 14623(585) 272-1270

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