Dear Dr. Phillips,
My husband and I have been using Xylitol for a year now to sweeten our beverages. We’ve also used it when getting strep throat! I recently discovered that it could be used to combat cavities… which is what led me to your site. I am very excited to try your mouth care program.
Unfortunately my husband and I are struggling financially right now (even more reason to keep our mouths healthy and not get cavities, right!) so I don’t feel we will be able to purchase the xylitol mints and gum to have after meals. I was wondering if there was anyway that we could use the xylitol in granular form… like let a spoon full of it dissolve in our mouths after a meal… would that work?
Also I have a question about whitening products. Now yellow teeth seems to run in my family. As I have become an adult, I have fallen in love with using a whitening pre-rinse before brushing my teeth. Now I don’t have yellow teeth. (By the way I don’t drink coffee or tea and I don’t smoke!) Is it oK for me to add this product to the program?And… WalMart has a cheaper version of Listerine… it seems to have all the same stuff. Are you familiar with this? I believe its called Equate.
Welcome to the wonderful world of xylitol! Here are the answers to the questions you asked:
1. Xylitol will work in any form:
You can mix and match mints, gum or use the granular form – which is the least expensive way to enjoy xylitol!
Zellies packets of granular xylitol make it easy to dissolve one or two packets in a water bottle and sip each day, or you can eat granular xylitol directly off a spoon.
It is important to understand that you need at least 6 grams a day (preferably in 3-4 divided doses) – for anti-plaque effects. If you have more than 10 grams a day, these benefits are not greater – there is a “plateau” effect at 10 grams, for oral health.
If you consume xylitol after meals – you also get remineralizing effects from xylitol, as it alkalizes the mouth. Dissolving xylitol stimulates a flow of alkaline saliva in your mouth – which naturally repairs and strengthens weak or damaged teeth.
Plus, if you rinse with 0.05% dilute fluoride (like ACT) twice or three times a day, you will notice teeth repair at an astounding rate. There is research to show that xylitol works in harmony/synergy with dilute fluoride (Notice this does not occur with stronger fluoride – only with 0.05%! stronger is NOT better!!)
2. What about “Store-Brand”products?:
We all make choices. I believe there are sufficient differences between store-brand products to only use the real thing if possible! If you cannot afford or access the name brand products – I guess store-brand is better than nothing. Once you are on “the Program” – you can keep an eye open for specials – Crest Regular paste is often for sale, some of the discount stores (like Sams and B.Js) often sell multiple packs of Crest Regular and gallons of Listerine! Closys was recently promoted at Walgreens at a great price.
Sometimes it is necessary to suggest alternatives to people who live in other countries – or who cannot access products.
Any 0.05 fluoride will help teeth – but the special “texture” of ACT allows it to flow into vulnerable tooth cracks – to work its magic. Thicker gloopy gels do not get into cracks, and thinner liquids (like ACT store-brands) do not linger as long on teeth. The benefits of ACT are while the liquid is in contact with the tooth – they disappear when the liquid has gone. This is why a correct “texture” allows the rinse to penetrate vulnerable cracks – but “cling” long enough to help.
3. Whitening Dangers
My new book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye can be pre-ordered on Amazon and in book stores – for a publishing date of January 1st.
I have a chapter devoted to whitening – and I explain the structure of tooth enamel and what makes a tooth white.
Basically the idea of “whitening” is a marketing ploy – yes, we all want white teeth.
The best way to whiten teeth is to strengthen them.
Tooth enamel is literally like glass – clear and translucent. The color of a tooth is created by the way the light hits this “glass”. If the “glass” layer is soft – light travels through it, and you see the yellowish underneath layer ( the dentin – the part with nerves and cells in it).
If the “glass” is strong and mineral-rich, it behaves like a diamond – and reflects light off its surface. The smoother and harder the surface of your tooth – the more it shines and reflects light.
It takes two years on my program for minerals to build dense and smooth enamel. This means that for two years you can expect your teeth to slowly improve in color. This will not happen immediately – but safely and slowly. Use the Closys rinse ( available in Walgreens) before you brush and it will take away surface stains and gently help this process.
The great news is that this color improvement will occur at any age – even for people in their sunset years. Mine is not a gimmick that damages tooth enamel (by etching it) – This is healing to return teeth to the color they should be. I would NEVER recommend whitening rinses – many are co-carcinogens: if you are prone to cancer – they will push you over the edge!
Be careful and be warned!
Hope this helps,
Ellie Phillips DDS
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester, NY 14623