Continued Staining

Hi Dr. Ellie,

My husband and I have been using your system faithfully since August. I have been closely following your very informative blog and am aware that some staining is normal in the first months of your program (particularly at the gum line) but that it should not reappear after the first cleaning. Our teeth were extremely stained at the gum line during the first 6 months, including between and behind the teeth In fact, the staining was so bad that the hygenist couldn’t get it all off and suggested that we come for cleanings every 4 months and that we use baking soda once/week (which I know you frown upon). The good news, though, is that we both had very little plaque.

I had beautiful, white teeth as a child and have always tried to keep them that way. However, I now realize that I brushed too vigorously, often too soon after eating and drinking, and bleached them for quite a few years. Now the front teeth have a bluish tinge on the edges that I presume is due to enamel loss. I am very concerned that they are not getting whiter and that the staining is still occurring. Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

The staining is accumulating once again, even though we are following your program to the letter. We do drink warm almond milk in the morning with carob in it (it has a light chocolate brown color).

Thank you very much,

Hi S,

You need Closys rinse for one minute – then move on to brush with a spotless toothbrush and Crest paste. 

Do not wash the toothpaste away with water but immediately use Listerine and then the ACT ( a minute with each is fine).

The only thing I think you may have wrong is that you are using xylitol before brushing your teeth – which is not part of the mouth rinse program.

Also, during the day, I think you may want to try a different xylitol – my suggestion would be to add Zellies mints during the day, in addition to the granular xylitol after meals that you are using currently.
Perhaps you have an acidic or dry mouth – so a little extra xylitol may be helpful.

Here is the checklist to avoid staining:

1. Clean your toothbrush every day in some Listerine, rinse out and store so that it dries at least 10 feet from a toilet area
( You could consider a new design of toothbrush – even alternate this with the one you like and may be using now. A new style of brush may be helpful because it reaches new/different places in your mouth).
2. Ensure you use correct products and rinsing technique
3. Make sure to brush at the gum margins – everywhere – especially in the places where staining happens
4. Slightly increase the amount of xylitol you take and do this between meals – one or two extra mints perhaps – to raise the pH of the mouth and avoid long periods of acidity or mouth dryness.
5. Get family and friends on the program!

This should stop the staining problem – but this will not happen if you use harsh cleaners that contain baking soda or peroxide. 

These products can put you back to the start and perhaps you are slow to build this healthy biofilm.
The problem is that baking soda and peroxide( whitening products) destroy this healthy protein film ( called Pellicle).
Pellicle is supposed to be on the outside of teeth – to cover, defend and protect them.

Many foods, teas, leafy vegetables, coffees, and acidic things also damage this pellicle layer.
Usually in a healthy mouth this layer quickly reforms – forming from proteins that are in saliva.
This is why it is important if you are rebuilding and repairing your teeth to ensure you have enough protein each day in your diet .

Most people, once they have been on my program for 6 months develop a nice healthy biofilm that gives a smooth and slick “feel” to the tooth surfaces.This layer is essential before there can be any rebuilding of enamel, reversal of gum recession or improvement in the color of teeth.
This pellicle layer is also important to keep your teeth from being stained.

Almond milk is quite acidic I believe, and carob may in fact dissolve this biofilm layer.
I suggest, if possible, you enjoy your morning drink and then maybe, do the rinse routine to clean your teeth AFTER this drink. My rinse system encourages the development of this biofilm layer (pellicle) and after this drink may be a better time to use this benefit!

One small change in timing may make all the difference!
Please let me know how things work out,

Best wishes,

Dr.Ellie Phillips DDS
Solutions for Oral Health

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  • StainedToofs says:

    I am also suffering this repeated staining. I have been following the program for over a year. When I first started, my teeth stained very badly – which I read to be the dead bacteria you talked about. They looked awful but after the first cleaning they came out very bright and nice. However within a month or two the staining returned (although never as bad as the first time). I thought this would cease after a few cleanings but it always returns, I’ve had about 4 quarterly cleanings now. I do drink a morning coffee but tend to rinse straight after. I eat numerous Peppersmith xylitol mints through the day. Eat a mostly sugar free paleo style diet and have experimented supplementing with CLO and K2. I also still get a significant tartar build up on the inside of my front lower teeth.
    Has anyone else reported this sort of issue? Is it definitely staining that is occurring, and if so – why just on the lower front teeth? I have photos of most of the process if you want them…

    • If you are getting tartar it indicates you have too much acidity in your mouth. Perhaps you need more xylitol in your regimen. Do you think you are over 6 grams per day with the mints you are using? A teaspoon of granular xylitol will add 4 grams into your regimen. You can eat it directly off a spoon in small amounts through the day, or dissolve it in water to sip from time to time. You want at least 5 exposures daily. Be particularly careful if you have citrus fruit as a juice or as a lemon wedge in water – you’ll need xylitol immediately after any citrus or vitamin C drink (ascorbic acid).

      You may want to try a new kind of toothbrush. Select a medium brush (if you are using a soft one). A new design may help you reach areas that are difficult for you to brush. Also, I am currently experimenting with the latest Sonicare toothbrush – because there are studies that show it may help stop staining better than a manual brush. Here is a link to this study:

      • You may also want to try the “step approach” when doing the Complete Mouth Care System after professional cleanings. I have had a number of people tell me this helps them avoid staining after the protective layer has been stripped off teeth during professional cleanings. Here are the details of this approach:

        Colored (Chromorgenic) Bacteria
        Some people have specific mouth germs that stain teeth – and these are called chromogenic bacteria. This stain is often seen directly after a cleaning, and most of theses patients are women with excellent oral health. We believe this unusual stain occurs after teeth have been denuded or stripped of a protective layer called pellicle (that normally repels bacteria and stains). Some things that denude teeth appear to be baking soda, peroxide, bleaching, strong acids (like citrus fruit juices) certain teas, or from a dental cleaning.

        The “Step” system
        We have worked to understand chromogenic stains, and find a way to eliminate it. We have discovered a method that uses a “stepped” version of the Zellies Complete Mouth Care System. Remember, this stain only happens to people who have excellent oral health and is usually experienced within days of a cleaning.

        To avoid chromogenic stains we suggest you “step” into the Zellies Complete Mouth Care System, starting immediately after a dental cleaning. Use Zellies xylitol products in the normal way (after meals and drinks) but use only Crest Cavity Protection toothpaste to clean your teeth morning and night (no rinses) for the first two weeks after the cleaning. We believe Crest Cavity Protection paste and Zellies will help re-build the necessary protection layer. After this period of time, Closys and the other parts of the system can be added. By easing into the full system, it appears you can avoid chromogenic stains that some people experience.

        The Step Method: – begin immediately after a dental cleaning:

        Week 1 and 2 – use only Crest Cavity Protection toothpaste and Zellies (to allow the pellicle layer to reform).
        Week 3 – add Closys before you brush – continue with Zellies as ususal
        Week4 – add Listerine and ACT steps, to resume the Zellies Complete Mouth Care System, used as normal.

  • Heather Amos says:

    Hi Dr. Ellie,
    It has been a while since I corresponded. Our whole family has been using your system and it is truly amazing. My husband and our two children use it exactly as directed. My husband’s teeth have continued to improve and are even stronger and whiter. Our children’s teeth are beautiful and cavity free (ages 5 years and 2 years).
    My teeth are in excellent condition; cavity free. However, I am one of those individuals who continues to get the stains even though I use your system exactly and have added extra xylitol (6 plus grams) to make sure that it was not due to acidity. The stains are the worst on my lower front teeth. They are not as bad as when I initially started the program, but they are there. I think it has to do with the fact that this area has always been my problem area. I could always feel a waxy buildup there before I started your system approximately 3 years ago. I have scheduled an appointment for a cleaning. After the cleaning, I plan on implementing the “Step” system. I have also always used a soft bristle toothbrush and I am changing to a medium. I just purchased the Sonicare toothbrush yesterday, and plan on using that a few times per week to see if that will keep the stains from reappearing. Thank you so much for all of the information that you make available on your website. You are truly and greatly appreciated!

    Heather Amos

    • Hi Heather, Thanks for your message – and I so happy that you and your family feel my advice has been helpful and improved your oral health. You may have read my suggestion to use two different design brushes – use one in the morning and the other at night. This way you may find that you can access this area in different ways and control the problem.
      Contrary to what you always hear from dentists, I say do not be afraid to brush your gums – and if they bleed, brush them twice, rinse with Listerine and then with ACT – in the normal way!

      Please let me know what you think works best – more and more I think the staining is just a difficult area that we have trouble controlling. Some people have started using the system three times a day and found this helps….. we must try to communicate our findings to discover the best answer to this “healthy” staining.

      • Heather says:

        Thanks so much Dr. Ellie!

        • Heather says:

          Thought I would also add that my husband has never had any plaque staining even from the start of the program. Each individual’s mouth is different! I will follow up with the results from the use of the different brushes.

          • Its always hard to piece facts together and see the picture.
            The funny think is that this was how the system developed – by asking patients what they were using, and suggesting to people with the worst teeth that they should change to the products used by those with the best teeth. Anyone with heavy plaque or bleeding gums should expect a transition period and possible staining, but it is rare. Probiotics may help stop this – boosting the numbers of good bacteria in the mouth, at the very time when the transition is happening.Using the system 3 times a day may also help during this change-over period.

            • Heather says:

              I have a hunch that it has been due to my soft bristled brush. I am looking forward to trying your suggestions and sharing the results.

              • Heather says:

                Hello Dr. Ellie,
                I have been using the Sonicare Diamond clean for one week. The results are quite remarkable. I would say that within one week, it has removed at least 40% of the existing dead plaque stains. The stains appear to be getting lighter with each use. I am keeping my appointment for the dental cleaning (just for a completely fresh start!) Since this particular toothbrush works so well, I am wondering about using it twice daily (every day)? In your opinion, would this cause a disturbance to the pellicle layer?

                Thank you so much!

  • sometoofs says:

    Update from me (stainedtoofs), I continued on with the recommended lack of rinsing with water between steps. However I still suffered from spidery black stains that seemed to be creeping out across my teef. I was literally eating xylitol all day and rinsing every morning and night. I read another comment by someone on Amazon suffering something similar. I’ve since stopped the system after much perserverence and troubleshooting and the stains have now gone, they seemed related to the listerine. I’m not criticising the system, I’m sure it works for some people but for me personally the staining and constant need to chew mints at all times of day ruined it. I also always kept a level of calculus. I’m only writing this for the benefit of anyone who has persevered and also is frustrated, my current line of investigation is into oral bacteria and trying to get a healthy colony rather than obliterating them all twice a day.

    • None of the products of the system obliterate healthy oral bacteria – our goal is sustainable oral health with healthy oral probiotic bacteria. Xylitol feeds all the bacteria in the mouth – only plaque bacteria become slippery and fall off teeth. Closys interacts with saliva to become oxygen which stimulates gum heating – but this oxygen disrupts anaerobic pathogens in periodontal pockets. Listerine’s essential oils soften the outer shells of immature cocci ( plaque bacteria) and ACT has no known effect on any bacteria in the mouth.
      I currently suggest those with staining try a firmer toothbrush – and brush especially any area where there is gum bleeding. Digestive probiotics are also a recommendation for those with digestive issues. If you have a dry mouth – a xylitol nasal spray could be useful.
      I hope you are successful with your experiments – we’d love to know the outcome in the next year or two.

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