Xylitol Breath Spray

Dear Dr. Ellie: 

You mention a xylitol breath spray. I can find BreathRx spray, but it has saccharin in it; and TheraSpray by 3M; but no ingredients listed. Is it one of these, or another? Also, in your website section on Tooth Protective Foods you state that lactic acid pH is not low enough to damage teeth; yet in your 22 Dec 06 blog on xylitol chemistry you write that “lactic acid the most damaging tooth acid”? Am I missing something here these seem contradictory? Thanks again for your help.


Hi NT,

Great to hear from you again!

I am most familiar with the Theraspray 3 M product that is sold through Dentist.net and other dental supply companies.

It tastes great a mild vanilla mint that suits older adults and they have really liked the results.
The problem is that it is unclear what amount of xylitol comes out in one “spray”. Consequently I view this as an adjunct excellent for someone who has dry mouth at night but I would like to supplement this with some other form of xylitol where the grams used each day can be counted: A 4 gram packet of xylitol dissolved in some water some mints/ gum etc. to provide at least 6.5 grams each day for control of the strep bacteria.

As for your second question about Lactic Acid….My understanding is that in the presence of the other elements contained in milk, any concern from lactose/lactic acid is irrelevant. The tooth protective effect of the minerals (calcium and phosphates) in milk are adequate to promote remineralization and raise the pH levels at the tooth surface to actually make cow’s milk a tooth protective food. I would add that this is not the same for formula milk (different sugars and lipid content) and breast milk has different mineral ratios and more sugars which probably do not harm teeth but do not make breast milk cariostatic.

If you are interested a great resource for information on the role of prevention and also diet I would suggest a text book: Dental Caries, the Disease and its Management. This is a collection of interesting information from many authors and edited by Fejerskov and Edwina Kidd (icons in the world of prevention). Published by Blackwell Munksgaard www.blackwellmunksgaard.com

Check out the chapter by Moynihan. Lingstrom, Rugg-Gunn and Birkhead (chapter 14) and on page 237 you will read much about protective factors in foods….

“Despite being one of the main sources of sugars in the diet, milk is anticariogenic. The sugar in milk is lactose, which is the least cariogenic sugar and milk is also known to contain protective factors. In enamel slab experiments, milk has been shown to cause less enamel solubility than lactose or sucrose solutions. Such experiments have also shown milk to reduce the cariogenic potential of sugar-containing foods. The cariostatic nature of milk can be attributed to the presence of calcium, phosphate, casein and lipids. Calcium and phosphate are present in cow’s milk in high concentrations and are able to prevent enamel demineralization…..”

Hope this explains the point!
Thanks again for your interest please keep in touch,

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