Tooth Staining

Hi Dr. Ellie,

I have always taken good care of my teeth but i’ve had cavities, crowns, and receding gum lines.

I read your website extensively before I started the system 6 months ago. I was aware that I might get black staining after starting the system. I did, it came off after my first teeth cleaning and my teeth looked great.

after 3 months of my cleaning i got the black stains again. They look pretty horrible, I just went in and got another cleaning.

I have been using the correct products..I use the blue original listerene. could this be causing such intense staining? or do you think it might be the clo-sys? I stopped by wallgreens today and bought the gold colored listerine.

I want to keep doing the system, I love it and I think it really helps.

ps I found out a year ago that i have celicas disease. I’m not sure what the dental community thinks about celiacs but I think it has been a big factor with my troublesome teeth

Thank you for your time.


Hi DD,

Thanks for your message – I am glad that the staining did not make you too worried – and that you realize there is a time line – related to the slow death of harmful and infected plaque bacteria.

I do happen to think that the yellow Listerine is slightly better at keeping teeth whiter and causing less staining.

However, I think the problem is that you are getting “re-infected”.

Check that you clean your toothbrush every day – keep away from any toilet area in the bathroom – allow to dry between uses – and don’t kiss anyone with bad teeth (or get them on the program also!)

The removal of bacteria is normally a 6 month process.

This process takes time because it starts with the bacteria on teeth – but then the xylitol has to deal with more stubborn germs that are in the skin of the mouth and tongue, in saliva and up in your ears, sinus, nose and throat passages. These areas are all connected – and germs spread everywhere. Even if your teeth are clean, they becomes re-infected from these other areas and the germs try to attach to your teeth again etc.etc.

If you are aware of sinus, nasal drip, or ear problems – I suggest using xylitol as a nasal spray ( at least for the first 6 months) in a big effort to eradicate this disease from your digestive tract. YES – your nose and mouth are basically the entrance to your digestive tract and need to be clean – (especially if you have digestive problems – this is very important).

The secret to preventing re-infection is the following:

Make sure to have ENOUGH xylitol each day.

If you find the gum and mints are too expensive – then go to a health food store and purchase a one pound bag of pure xylitol crystals ( about $10 for a three month supply).

Make sure it is not a mix of xylitol/Splenda or xylitol/sand( silica). Both products are in the marketplace – and must be avoided.

One teaspoon of xylitol each day will give you enough xylitol to control an oral problem – BUT NOT if you put it into tea, coffee, lemonade etc.

You need to put the xylitol into water – and sip this “oral health drink” during the morning – or better yet, over a long extended period of time – keep it handy and have a little after eating or drinking each meal, snack – after anything and everything. Make sure to finish your “xylitol health drink” by the end of the day so that you have had your daily “dose” of xylitol.

Interestingly people with Celiacs disease find that sipping of xylitol helps their digestion considerably – especially if they take probiotics at the same time.

Let me know how this goes – but don’t stop – you cannot afford to have cavities, crowns or receding gums. This is all preventable.

And please don’t listen to the latest “hygienist hype” about peroxide and baking soda – please!!!

I believe that Arm and Hammer has some deal with the ADA since there is so much hype and bad information out there – I have SEEN the damage these products cause.

No whitening, no peroxide, no baking soda – PLEASE!!!!

I hope you will find this useful information,

Please let me know if you have any other questions,

Best wishes,


Dr. Ellie Phillips DDS
Solutions for Oral Health

Categories: Uncategorized


  • Anonymous says:

    Just wondering if black spots on tongue are common as well. I started on the system about two months ago and have been following it faithfully. Seemed like it was going well – a lot of brown staining on teeth but I expected that.The last few days I have noticed black spots on my tongue along with a tingling sensation – is that normal at this stage?Thank you.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    any chance of a picture of these?

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    Four things should be checked to figure out why you see a dark stain on your teeth or tongue:1. Stains on your tongue can be from something missing/wrong with your diet ( my suggestion is to look at your diet – and make sure you have a balanced diet, sensible supplements and perhaps add some probiotics. Also make sure you have enough xylitol each day. ) Inadequate vitamins ( especially B12 and B2 vitamins, vitamin C and Niacin are reasons for tongue changes. The tongue is also a good indicator of liver problems – and people with poor digestions – like those with Celiac and IBS often have discolored tongues). If the color of your tongue does not improve quickly – then I think you should go for a medical check up and maybe some blood evaluation. [Before you do this, I suggest you look through the more common reasons for black tongue staining and see the simple things you could do to stop it]2. Stains will also occur if you have wrong products in your oral care routine. I suggest you immediately check that you have exactly the correct products I recommend. You can take a photo and send this to me to check if you like. Make sure that your have the correct toothpaste, Listerine and ACT! Be certain that you do NOT have the "alcohol-fee" Listerine or tartar control etc. You need the older formulations – the original or cool mint Listerine – they are a brownish color or a blue one. Make sure you are using original Crest paste – Cavity Protection ( and NOT the Pro-Health line – which stains the entire mouth because of the ingredients it contains) .Finally make sure you have the regular old ACT anti-cavity fluoride NOT the Total Care.3. Stains can also come from a mold that can grow in damp areas in your home. This is why my next suggestion is to ensure you disinfect your toothbrush EVERY day in Listerine, rinse it out and then dry it completely between uses.Store your brush at least 6 feet from any toilet. It's the same kind of mold that causes staining in showers, toilets, damp windows etc. – so make sure it is not on your toothbrush!4. More recently we have discovered that people who get continued staining may actually be missing these areas when they brush their teeth – so brush all these areas gently with your clean toothbrush.Make sure you brush the places where you have the stain – this is usually along the gum line and between teeth, and you even the top of your tongue. Dead plaque can accumulate in these nooks and crannies and they will become a stain. So be sure that you are brushing these areas every day – in these areas that are often difficult places to reach.If you need help with your brushing system – I would be happy to consult with you and teach you – over the phone( if you are in the US). A half hour coaching session is often useful – I offer these through my website and I have already helped a lot of people with brushing issues.Best wishes,EllieDr.Ellie Phillips DDSSolutions for Oral

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate your time and expertise. The black spots on my tongue have gone away – not really sure what was causing that. I use the system exactly as instructed, clean toothbrush every day and do take supplements and probiotics. Upped the xylitol from 6.5 to about 8 or 9 grams a day using mints and/or gum but will try the crystals as well.I went to the dentist today for a cleaning and warned the hygienist about the brown staining telling her I thought it was possibly due to the Closys killing bacteria. I didn't tell her about the whole system. Anyway, she had a time getting the brown stains off but after much scraping and cleaning my teeth look terrific!! I am so happy. There seems to be quite a lot of improvement on the gum front as well with one of my pockets going from a 9 to a 6 and another going from a 9 to a 3!!! A few of the other pockets actually went up a number or two but I had a different hygienist today and she said it could be that they just do it slightly differently. Hopefully those will improve by my next visit.I hope I don't get a whole lot more staining but I know you've said that bacteria cleanup can take up to six months and I am at the four month mark so perhaps I will get a bit more of that. Tried to use the xylitol nasal spray but had a bit of a reaction to that (shortness of breath). Might try it again though.Sorry for going on so long but I was so excited about the improvements and just wanted to express my gratitude! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Anonymous says:

    I posted a comment here three days ago but it hasn't shown up – don't know if it takes longer than that to post but I am posting again in case that one didn't make it – apologies if they both show up, feel free to delete this if other one comes through. Anyway, short version is the black spots did go away. I really appreciate your response – will step up the xylitol. Already use supplements, probiotics and am following your instructions exactly.I had a check up the other day and although hygienist was unhappy about staining, the gum issues were improved so I am very happy about that – one of my pockets that measured 9 is now a 3!She also mentioned some mobility in front lower teeth that she thinks is being caused by clenching (yikes! first time that's been mentioned) – I wear a mouth guard at night for grinding.My teeth look great right now but I do anticipate a bit more staining as you have said that the cleanup process usually takes about 6 months and I am only 4 months into the program.Just wanted to say a big thank you – so grateful for your knowledge and advice.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just wanted to add to above that the other thing the hygienist mentioned was some bleeding of the gums. That hadn't happened to me in quite a while so I was a bit concerned but I have taken a flossing and water pik holiday per the program's instructions so maybe that's why or maybe it's just part of the healing process.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    It's wonderful to hear such reports.Yes, pay close attention to the products you buy when selecting new ones at the store.Look at the picture on the home page of and make sure your products look like those! ( only one different can be the original Listerine).Ensure you have enough xylitol every day – spaced it out during the day – preferably between meals or after meals and snacks.I will be very interested to hear what happens at your next check up.Be sure to brush around the gums on the inside and outside of your gums – especially where you may have pocketing.Don't use a water pick – and trust the system to help you!Best wishes,Ellie

  • Dr. Ellie says:

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  • Dr. Ellie says:

    For Anonymous (sorry, these sometimes get out of order)I am delighted to hear about your progress. "Bite Problems/Clenching" are also signs of acidic damage – so step up the xylitol and make sure to continue with twice a day rinsing – ALWAYS before bed at night.When you rinse with the Closys – ensure you "bathe" any mobility or pocket problem areas with this rinse. If you have anterior mobility – tip your head around to let the rinse soak THESE front teeth for a minute.Also, when you are brushing, pay great attention to MASSAGE the GUM area with your tooth brush bristles – around this problem area.Ensure you are brushing the GUMS ( more than your teeth) in these areas – use little circles to stimulate circulation.Do this on the outside and ALSO on the inside of the gums in these problem areas.Usually in the front this can be quite difficult – especially if you have a "tight" lip – and you may need to look for a different /better toothbrush.Have you tried the Zellies toothbrushes? up your good work – this is more than about teeth – this improvement will also impact your health positively.Make sure to clean your toothbrush EVERY day in some Listerine , rinse out and allow to dry in sunlight – between brushings.Don't store your brush in a cabinet or drawer – and be very careful if you travel.Also think about your diet – add Omega-3s, anti-oxidants and organic whole milk dairy – like yogurts.You may also want to think about probiotics and see if this improves your gum health.Diet is very important along with the regimen – it is the "next level" for oral health – and I have a new book about this that I hope will be ready to publish by the end of the year…..

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