Xylitol as Probiotic

Hello Dr. Ellie:

I love your blog and it’s insightful information. I am a one year follower of the CWT system with positive results!

I wanted your opinion about the usefulness of using probiotic gums/mints that are supposedly designed for dental health? I have read about this lately and there seems to be more probiotic, dental focused, products hitting the market.

Thanks in advance for your time and advice!

— KH

Hi KH,

Thanks for your message.
Delighted to hear positive reports about your oral health – I am not surprised, but I am happy for you!

I guess you could call xylitol a natural anti-biotic (eliminating harmful mouth bacteria) and a pro-biotic (encouraging healthy oral bacteria).

Xylitol “selectively” eliminates harmful oral bacteria – (the ones that produce toxins and acids to damage teeth and gums). Xylitol also prevents these oral bacteria from producing sticky tendrils that allow them to “layer” on each other and stick to teeth.

This is why plaque no longer “sticks to teeth” once you have been eating xylitol for 6 months or more. This is also why you will no longer get a thick build up of foamy white plaque when you eat 6.5 grams of xylitol daily. Xylitol is selectively eliminating the harmful “strain” of mouth bacteria.

In addition, xylitol allows helpful protective bacteria (ones that do not produce acids or toxins) to coat your teeth in a thin, healthy layer. These new bacteria are non-acid producing and they do not “layer” because they do not produce sticky tendrils.

These helpful bacteria block up cracks and grooves in your teeth to protect them from “intruders” and they also pump minerals into the tooth below them. These new kind of bacteria are basically forming a “healthy” layer over your teeth – a healthy “biofilm” that is protective.

Healthy Biofilm:
The group formation of healthy biofilm is complicated and behaves in an interesting way.
This layer coats teeth in a healthy mouth and is protective of teeth.

This layer is able to resist temperatures and chemicals from foods and drinks (that you put in your mouth !!) These foods and drinks would otherwise kill individual bacteria and damage your teeth.

Oral biofilm that covers your teeth is a mixture of cells and proteins woven together at a microscopic level to create an entity that has a protective ” group character.” Having a “Group Character” means that this healthy biofilm is stronger and more resistant than the individual components it contains, if they were working alone. In this way, the components of this healthy biofilm work harmoniously to cover teeth and keep them healthy.

We need a cover over our teeth!
This is quite a difficult concept for people who only think of “plaque” as bad. To help with the concept, I try to explain “plaque” being like a duvet – or bed cover.

Imagine this duvet (bed cover) over your teeth. If you looked down a very powerful microscope you would see this cover is composed of cells and fibers (like feathers and baffles in a duvet).

When the cover is clean and healthy it protects the underlying tooth. If this cover were to get infected with bed bugs it would no longer be protective, but would be dangerous for the person under the cover. These harmful bugs would produce poisons and noxious liquids to damage the person under the cover. This is infected plaque, that produces acids and toxins to damage teeth and gums.

Plaque must be clean and free of harmful and noxious “bed bugs.” Then this layer can become a healthy protective layer ( a healthy biofilm) to keep underlying teeth safe and remineralized.

If you are on my system we have addressed the formation of this “healthy biofilm ” layer on your teeth. I do not think pro-biotics are necessary although I do not think they pose any problem – I would like to know more about the research – who says they are good?

Xylitol has such a long and successful track record. It appears in Chinese medicine 2500 years BC that for oral health they used a similar product to xylitol from trees!

I personally consider xylitol to be the ultimate oral pro-biotic since it also works to get rid of the “bugs” you don’t want!

Hope this explains it!


26 Corporate Woods
Rochester, NY 14623
(585) 272-1270

Categories: Uncategorized


  • Nick says:

    There is a fundamental misunderstanding here… Xylitol could be described as a “pre-biotic” rather than a “pro-biotic” – in simple terms pro-biotics contain ‘friendly’ bacteria and are consumed in the hope that they’ll establish and proliferate. Pre-biotics are food sources for the existing ‘friendly’ bacteria in the body (food which the ‘bad’ bacteria cannot utilise) – they feed the good and starve the bad so increasing the population of 'friendly' bacteria. A minor but significant point!I’m gonna give your system a go with my 15yo son who has recently had a rude awakening at the dentist! I’m in the UK so have been looking at what and where to buy the bits… Found Xylitol and Xylitol mints/gum, RetarDEX, Listerine Original and Colgate Fluorigard (is it the ‘alcohol free’ version that should be used?) but am having trouble with the rest – Mentadent toothbrushes aren’t available and I can’t see a similar brush to yours in the available GUM range. Could you have a look at http://www.dentalshop.co.uk/acatalog/Toothbrushes.html and recommend a particular one? They don’t seem to be commonly available in the UK – the link has about the largest range I’ve seen. Out of interest what do you look for? Soft, medium or firm bristles? Full or compact head? Etc. (I’m guessing soft/compact!) Perhaps the most surprising problem though is Crest toothpaste! I’m guessing that “Crest Cavity Protection Toothpaste Regular” is the one you are recommending but I can’t find it online anywhere in the UK! Well I tell a lie I’ve found it available in tiny 20ml tubes (for putting in your travel wash-bag) at an extortionate price! Are there any other toothpastes that you could recommend that are available in the UK? (Looking at the Tesco or Boots websites would give you a good idea of what’s commonly available.) Maybe using no toothpaste would be the best solution in the absence of Crest? Would love to buy from your company as your prices seem very reasonable but shipping + tax + duty + fees would make it rather expensive.Anyway, I would be most grateful if you could address my questions!Yrs,Nick

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Hi and thank you – I never thought of describing xylitol as "pre-biotic" but you are exact! This is exactly what xylitol does. Pre-biotic will be added in place of Pro-biotic to my dictionary! If you send me a direct e-mail ellie@zellies.comI can help you with the brush and the toothpaste problems.Thanks for the vote of confidence! Ellie http://www.zellies.com26 Corporate WoodsRochester, NY 14623(585) 272-1270

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