Dear Dr. Ellie,
My son is just over 3 ½ years old. Just shy of 1 he had his first ear infection, and sadly, we have had nearly 20 since that time. He is plagued with constantly bulging ear drums, and at the last visit to our dentist we were sent to a pediodontist because he has a cavity between his two front teeth on top. So far this is the only cavity, but we are worried, with his constant ear infections still prevalent, how much worse it may become. Recently we started trying Xyliwhite toothpaste, which is primarily Xylitol and baking soda, and we just found some xylitol vitamins that we are anxious to try, but no one has mentioned how safe it is for such a young child, or what amount we should shoot for. The poor child is so sensitive from all the antibiotics he’s been on in the last two years, we’re reluctant to put new things in his system. He has already had tubes, and then 18 months later had another surgery to have them removed, and yet the ear infections keep coming. We are on our second infection in three or four weeks, so it is not a good time for us. It seems like he is constantly on antibiotics, which we know can weaken his teeth, and the pediodontist we saw mentioned that using xylitol may help with his ear infections as well as protect his teeth, but we’ve only seen him recently and haven’t had the chance to really try much. It’s so hard when he never seems to get better. Do you have any suggestions on things we might try or somewhere that we might be able to start? We have finally found an ENT we are content with, who seems both able to accommodate our sometimes emergent visits and understands our concerns, but we travel nearly 2 hours one way for each appointment; same with our pediodontist, and it would be nice to know we can do something more at home that could help. Thank you so much!
Concerned Parent in MI,
I know of many children who had chronic ear infections but experienced incredible relief when they began daily xylitol in sufficient doses.
Oral bacteria are slowly reduced when they are exposed to xylitol at least 3-5 times a day.
I do not suggest xylitol toothpaste, because most xylitol paste is very acidic. I am also totally opposed to the use of baking soda since baking soda appears to cleans away good and bad mouth bacteria upsetting the natural and healthy oral balance.
I recommend you put a teaspoon of granular into a water bottle each day (you can buy granular xylitol in packets from our website www.Zellies.com or from most health food stores. Shake up the granular xylitol and water then allow your child to sip this xylitol water all day. This will give teeth multiple exposures to xylitol with approximately 4 grams of xylitol (one teaspoon).
In addition I suggest Zellies fruit mints they are quick dissolving and very tasty.
You could offer your son one fruit Zellie mint after every meal, snack or juice to protect and help heal his teeth (and his ears!)
Xylitol takes time to control oral bacteria usually about 6 months but the effect is longed lived. You may not control all his dental problems but you will change his oral ecology and give him a better chance of enjoying healthy adult teeth. You may like to read more about this in my book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye.
If you are interested in reversing the decay he has, you need to use xylitol but also brush his teeth without toothpaste using instead, one drop of ACT bubblegum fluoride rinse, to wet the brush.
It is also important that you learn the truth about dental disease, how the bacteria of ear infections are closely related to the bacteria of ear infections. This disease is transmissible and will spread from other members of the family who kiss or share food with your son. If you and your other family members want to “clean” your mouths, make sure you eat at least 6 grams of xylitol daily in 3-5 divided doses, after meals, snacks and drinks.
Since this is a health sugar there is no down side to all the family starting this! Also think about cleaning family toothbrushes every day we have details how to do this on the website. Toothbrushes carry harmful bacteria and these will multiply if you store them incorrectly or put them into a bag or under a cover.
I hope this information is helpful to you,
Ellie Phillips DDS
26 Corporate Woods
Rochester, NY 14623