Dear Dr. Ellie:
Please help me with this question. What if I could dissolve 172 mg of xylitol in my mouth slowly over the course of 2 hours.
Is exposure length (even though it’s a tiny amount) better than oral consumption?
For xylitol to be most effective it is most important for teeth to experience multiple exposures after meals- rather than one long exposure.
For plaque control: research showed that three or more exposures are needed – with a total amount of at least 6.5 grams a day. (Less than 6 grams will not have plaque controlling effects, and over 10 grams will not enhance the outcome – you reach a plateau effect at about 10 grams).
Remineralization effects: remineralization effects occur when xylitol alkalizes the mouth. This is why xylitol is great after meals, after drinks and after snacks.
I usually suggest patients use granular xylitol PLUS gum or mints. It is difficult to get enough xylitol with just one source ( 13 Zellies mints a day – or 7 pieces of gum.??….), but if you dissolve one packet of xylitol in water it provides 4 grams of xylitol – ( to sip after meals or during work). Then use mints and gum after snacks and meals. This makes getting the dose easy plus it gives the remineralzing effect after meals.
This technique is the opposite for dilute fluoride. For example, ACT (or any dilute 0.05% fluoride rinse) works as a catalyst (to mineralize teeth) only while in contact with the tooth surface….The longer you can keep ACT in your mouth, the more remineralization.
This is why I recommend ACT last thing at night and after breakfast. The long time during sleep helps remineralize teeth during the night – when the mouth is dry.
This is also why ACT will dramatically change oral health of someone with dry mouth ( kids with braces, medications, chemo etc).
Please keep in touch – I appreciate all your support!
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Rochester, NY 14623