Hi Dr. Phillips,
We’ve corresponded a few times already and I have a couple of new questions for you. Thank-you so much for taking the time to reply to everyone…must take up a lot of your day. I’m learning a lot by following your blog as well.
My new questions center around my son who is 8 months and currently teething. I checked his gums yesterday and one of the front lower teeth has just erupted through the gum line. Previous to the teething I had only recently started him sipping 1/2 a teaspoon a day of the xylitol in his water bottle (as you recommended) with meals (tyring to slowly wean him off the bottle/breast). He’s not a great drinker of water just yet but getting better and manages to get some in his mouth before he spits the majority of it out. 🙂
My husband and I are both fully on your program but I haven’t been able to convince the rest of the family to use anything including the xylitol.
Here are my questions:
1) For teething people often recommend popsicles to ease the teething pain. Frozen food seems to be all my son is interested in vs. frozen water cloths and soothers. After reading your book I know I shouldn’t be exposing him to acidic beverages which most of teething popsicle recipes are made from. However, I was wondering if you would agree that a Popsicle made from plain yogurt, banana and xylitol might be tooth friendly.
ELLIE: SOUNDS GOOD – LET ME KNOW HOW IT WORKS OUT!
2) Will exposing my son to the xylitol after meals be sufficient to protect him from cavity bacteria he may receive from other family members kissing him. Or do I really have to put my foot down with everyone and insist they start regularly taking the xylitol?
ELLIE: THE STUDIES WHERE KIDS WERE PROTECTED – SHOWED THAT MULTIPLE EXPOSURES AND AN AMOUNT ABOVE 5 GRAMS WILL WORK. THESE STUDIES SHOWED THAT MORE THAN 10 GRAMS A DAY WILL NOT GIVE YOU BETTER TEETH! THIS IS CALLED A PLATEAU EFFECT – NO MORE BENEFIT AFTER TWO TEASPOONS!!
3) In all the literature I’ve read prior to your book, it indicates that I’m supposed to put a smudge of adult fluoride toothpaste (free of whiteners, etc) on my son’s toothbrush and brush his teeth twice a day with this. In your book you recommend just using the xylitol not toothpaste. Did you recommend not using the toothpaste because there are “children” toothpastes out there that don’t contain any fluoride and have only soritol, or is there a different reason?
ELLIE: THE IDEA THAT TOOTHPASTE IS NECESSARY HAS BEEN ENFORCED BY MARKETING COMPANIES. NATURE IS VERY GOOD AT PROTECTING OUR TEETH. IN A PERFECT WORLD WITH PERFECT DIET – XYLITOL AND HEALTHY DIET WOULD PROTECT YOUR TEETH. XYLITOL CAN BE ENOUGH ( PROVIDING “RISK FACTORS” FOR CAVITIES ARE LIMITED. THIS MEANS YOU HAVE A HEALTHY FAMILY – SUPERB DIET – SUNSHINE – PLENTY VITAMINS – GREAT HEALTH ETC).
IT SOUNDS AS IF YOUR SON HAS SOME RISK FACTORS – SO FLUORIDE WILL OFFER PROTECTION. FOR A CHILD YOUNGER THAN 6 WITHOUT CAVITIES – I SUGGEST A TINY DROP OF ACT DILUTE FLUORIDE RINSE ON THE TOOTHBRUSH – BRUSH TEETH WITH THIS – SINCE IT HAS LESS OF THE “FILLERS” THAN IN TOOTHPASTE – THEY ARE UNNECESSARY AND THE CHILD MAY SWALLOW.
4) This question is a continuation from #3. My husband and I would feel better brushing our son’s teeth each night with a fluoride product (either toothpaste/Act) and use the xylitol during the day with meals. When I asked a dentist about using a drop of the Act rinse, vs. the Crest fluoride toothpaste (the same toothpaste your recommend in your adult tooth care program), he insisted that we should be cleaning our son’s teeth twice a day with a smudge of the Crest rather than a drop of the Act. His reasoning was that Crest contained a mild abrasive and the Act didn’t. On your blogs you ask people who have children with dental caries and ECC to use Act rinse rather than the Crest toothpaste. I’m wondering if you recommend the Act instead of the Crest for Children because their teeth have a thinner enamel then ours and the abrasive toothpaste may not be in their best interests. Could you please share your thoughts on the Crest vs. Act choice? Would your answer very depending on how well my son is able to ingest the xylitol?
ELLIE: I HAVE JUST READ THAT YOUR DENTIST RECOMMENDED PASTE – AND I DO NOT WANT TO GET BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR DENTIST. HE MAY SEE SOMETHING I DO NOT.
ON THE OTHER HAND, HE MAY NOT BE AWARE HOW ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF XYLITOL WILL MAKE PLAQUE SLIPPERY AND VERY EASY TO REMOVE.
I AGREE WITH HIM THAT PASTE IS NEEDED IF YOU DON’T USE ADEQUATE AMOUNTS OF XYLITOL.
YES, YOU ARE CORRECT – MY CONCERN IS THAT WE DO NOT REMOVE ANY HEALTHY BIOFILM – WE WANT THE TOOTH TO DEVELOP THIS LAYER TO PROTECT ITSELF. PERHAPS YOU CAN TRY WITH ACT BETWEEN NOW AND YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT – AND SEE WHAT THE DENTIST THINKS OF THE XYLITOL/ACT SYSTEM.
Dr Ellie,We follow your system competely and have for a year or so now. I notice a difference in my teeth and our dentist notices a difference as well (myself, husband 8month old daughter and 4.5 year old daughter who had 4 caries in between front teeth.) our ped. dentist highly recomends xylitol and agrees it is effective treatment against caries and to help heal. That all beig said I worry about this poster weaning her 8month old child for the "sake of the teeth". She is weaning him off of breastfeeding it seems out of concern the damage it is doing to his teeth. While I disagree strongly with this, there is also a health standpoint that babies of this age and up to and over 12months of age still need breastmilk or formula to be providing the bulk of their calories daily.So is the breastfeeding an issue or non issue for our childrens teeth. I refuse to wean my 8 month old child at this time even for "the sake of the teeth" simply because she needs breastmilk now for growth and development as well. And on top of that if I were to wean off of nursing at this age I would still have to supplment with formula, which in my thoughts is worse for the teeth then nursing/breastmilk.What are your thoughts Dr Ellie?
I wholeheartedly agree with YOU!!Nothing beats breast milk for a baby – and to wean "for the sake of teeth" is crazy – and makes NO sense at all.Cavities are the result of an INFECTION – cavity-forming germs ( bacteria) that stick to teeth and produce acids.These acids ( from the germs) make holes in teeth. Xylitol makes these germs slippery so they go away and do not stick on teeth.Without germs – there will not be damage to the teeth – NO CAVITIES – NO DAMAGE – NO PROBLEMS!!!The germs feed on sugars and carbohydrates. Breast milk has a lot of natural sugars ( which is why it is good for baby). These sugars can feed these germs and make them become thick and cavity-forming on teeth – BUT NOT IN A MOUTH THAT IS CLEANED WITH XYLITOL!!!So without xylitol – breast milk CAN be a problem for baby teeth.BUT ( as you say) formula milk is also a problem because it also provides sugars that make cavity-forming germs grow and multiply.( FYI – ONLY cows milk is safe if you have cavity-forming germs in your mouth).HOWEVER – if you get rid of cavity-forming germs – then it does not matter what kind of milk ( AND YOU ARE CORRECT – BREAST MILK IS THE BEST!!!)So Mothers listen closely!! You must learn this – if you are breastfeeding YOU NEED TO CLEAN YOUR CHILDREN'S MOUTHS WITH XYLITOL.You need to do this at least 5 times a day.At least 5 times a day you must give your little one a tiny bit of xylitol.The xylitol can be wiped on teeth or you can put some crystals in a bottle ( dissolved in water) or let your baby eat them straight off a spoon. Try 1/8th of a teaspoon – a few crystals – each time. Such a small amount – but it will work.My daughter-in -law dips the bristles of a toothbrush into the xylitol and lets her son suck the xylitol off the brush. Perfect!!!This was a great question – NOW let's get this message out there!!!!