Q & A with Dr. Ellie: Treating Periodontal Disease

Every month Dr. Ellie Phillips will answer your oral health questions as part of the Ultimate Oral Health Guide.


Q: Hi Ellie,
I am 46 years old. I’ve had a history of cavities since I was very young. A long bout with antibiotics when I was 4 left my teach in sorry shape. now, my gums are receding and I have 2 crowns, looking at the third. The reason, as my dentist tells me, is that the amalgam fillings in my teeth are so big and have become leaky paving the way for decay. a mouth full of crowns, according to him, is my destiny. As a health professional who focuses on prevention and reversal of disease, I couldn’t figure out why periodontal disease was, according to the dental profession, not treatable — only controllable. that’s not acceptable to me. Just as conventional physicians say that heart disease is not reversible, I know different. I searched and searched, and I came across your book. And there in black and white, you empowered me with the truth. Just as there is a method or lifestyle to preventing heart disease and diabetes, there is one for perio disease. Thank you!! I am not finished with your book. I have been reading it diligently, but that means between work, kid’s baseball schedules, and other responsibilities. It thrills me that my pockets of 2-3mm can be reversed.Thanks again, -P——

A: Dear P,

Leaky fillings may be greatly helped by the use of my system and frequent amounts of xylitol.
I suggest that drinking a dilute solution of xylitol in water during the day will help your periodontal health and also this condition. The Zellie-water percolates down the “leaky-filling gap” to help remineralize under the filling – and possibly prevent the need for changing them – it may take a year – but it is possible.

Zellies mints are great for surface remineralization – so a mix and match approach with the xylitol will be good for your oral health.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Best wishes,

Dr. Ellie


For more information, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites:

Dr. E Oral Health Coaching – articles, resources and videos to help you learn more
Zellies.com – learn more & order your Zellies Xylitol & the Complete Mouth Care System
Dr. Ellie.com – a great resource for learning more about oral health & Dr. Ellie

Join the conversation online on the Zellies Facebook page!

Categories: Cavities, Common Problems, Dental Procedures, Fillings, Gum Disease, Q&A with Dr. Ellie, Xylitol

Tags: ,

  • diana mackown says:

    Dear Dr. Ellie,
    I met you at Wegmans July 13, 2013 and have been on your program since that time. Thanks for your kindness to me when I ordered from you. I did finally locate closys at my local C.V.S. Most sincerely, Diana Mackown.
    If I don’t floss, can I use a toothpick if somethig is stuck between my teeth? Thanks..

    • Hi Diana,

      I am glad to hear that you now have all the products you need.
      I am often mis-understood about my stance on flossing. It is perfectly fine to floss so as to remove food that gets stuck in teeth – and now it is corn-on-the-cob season! You can even floss before using the rinse system, if you like.

      My point about flossing is that you should never expect flossing to solve any oral health problems.
      Flossing cannot prevent cavities in an acidic or dry mouth (my system can).
      Flossing cannot stop bleeding gums (which require my system, attention to nutrition, and a brushing technique that circulates blood to the gums).

      Sometimes I do suggest people stop flossing:
      1) if they have gum recession – because flossing may cause damage (to healthy tissue that doesn’t need this kind of treatment).
      2) if you have poor gum health and bleeding gums – because flossing (in my opinion) may open wounds and allow periodontal pathogens (bad bacteria) into your body. These pathogens can travel around the body and get involved in more serious health issues – like cardiovascular disease, dementia, pre-term birth, or arthritic conditions. Get your mouth healthy by using Zellies Complete Mouth Care System first and then (when your gums are healthy) you could consider flossing, if you want to.

  • Shirley D. says:

    Dear Dr. Ellie,

    I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer 10 years ago and thankfully it was caught early, and the only treatment needed was a total hysterectomy. About 4 months following my surgery I was thrown into a nasty surgical menopause which took a toll on my oral health which I developed periodontal disease. At the time I was able to find a local periodontist who performed laser surgery which was relatively new at that time on all 4 quadrants. Following this procedure which took about a year to complete, I was meticulous with the recommended flossing, and brushing daily with salt water recommended by this doctor. This doctor has since retired, and my last visit last with the new doctor who took over the practice found 9mm pockets on right lower wisdom tooth and the molar next to it. This new doctor is now recommending I have the laser surgery done again on all 4 quadrants!! Although this procedure is touted as gum sparing, I did loose gum especially where I have 4 veneers on my front upper teeth. I just can’t go through this again, and again, and again!!!!

    Following this appointment I happened upon your program online, and began it about a month ago. I ditched the salt water, but still do lightly floss with dental tape as food does get trapped mostly around my upper front teeth where I have the veneers as the gums in that area are blunted. Thus far my teeth feel wonderful, very slick, and my gums are pink and feel tight.

    I take daily a multi vitamin, Vitamin D (my level was 17 two years ago but now 30), calcium, biotin to prevent further hair loss, Vitamin C, and eat yogurt daily. Planning to add a probiotic which I think will not only help my oral health but ward off any further bouts of diverticulitis as I had my first experience with this 4 months ago. Possibly this was what really upset the apple cart as I had to take a long course of some heavy duty antibiotics.

    If there are any further recommendations you could add I would appreciate it. I have a cleaning scheduled with my regular dentist in December. Following this appointment I will let you know what my dentist thinks about the status of my oral health after 4 month being on your system.

    • Since Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye was published, thousands of people have started using the Zellies Complete Mouth Care System – and we have learned a lot. It’s good to read look at our new booklet on the protocol – to check that you have exactly the right products and method of care. Often people substitute incorrect toothpaste, or rinse with water between the steps. You need Closys as your initial rinse – it’s very important for periodontal health.

      Your message shows clearly how a life disruption ( cancer, surgery, hormonal changes etc.) can harm the immune system and end up leaving gums at risk for infection. The bacteria involved in periodontal disease are called “opportunistic”, which means these critters spend their life waiting for an opportunity to get into your gums. The situation occurs when 1) your body resistance goes down and 2) a little plaque builds up.This is why we must fight to keep our immune system strong ( digestive health and nutrition) and use Zellies to eliminate plaque.

      The second thing your message illustrates is that dental disease is a transmissible disease. This means that no amount of surgery, flossing, brushing, or lasers can get rid of it, because the germs spread from tooth to tooth and from person to person. Unless you deal with the infection, it may be subdued by treatment – but it will come back. With the protocol I recommend periodontal bacteria will be disrupted by Closys, plaque will cleaned away by Listerine, and and important Pellicle layer ( for protection) will be developed by Crest Cavity Protection paste and ACT rinse. I agree Probiotics and a nutritious diet are important too – (to rebuild and strengthen your immune defense system).

      Make sure you use a good/clean toothbrush and massage your gums around the back molars – to stimulate blood supply to this area. Cells and nutrients in your blood will deliver materials for healing and repairing these pockets if you can stimulate circulation to the gum area.

      Finally, ensure that you protect your teeth from acidity all day with Zellies mints and gum after every meal, snack and drink. You want to ensure you have at least 6.5 grams of xylitol daily, and this is best at the end of meals.If you can do all this I expect your pockets will disappear and your dental visit in December will be a joyful one! If you need more advice I offer personal phone consolations – let me know – I really believe you can turn your situation around – but details are important! Here is a link to the booklet:

  • bruce h says:

    dr. ellie,

    my question is about continueing dental work recommended if the method is working for me.

    I have used zellies for 2+ years since I saw you speak in austin, tx. it has changed my life & my mouth:).

    I had moderately severe periodontal disease & a long list of crown & other work on the docket. nothing seemed to help stop it or even keep it in check until I used your system. my gums bled & were painful & my teeth were loose & felt weak & seemed to break often.

    since then I have had no cavities & my cleanings (which are covered free) report little to NO plaque (I rinse 1x/day). my teeth feel smooth, pearly & strong. I have not felt a need to get any crown work recommended because of that, but my last check up revealed a small chip on a rear filling & they want to replace it for ‘preventative’ reasons.

    my querstion is; should I have the work done to prevent a future cavity if I have had such good results & continue it as a part of my daily oral care regimen? are there other reasons to do it vs. not ? (ie. structural integrity…). I don’t want to waste my time/money on something I may not need (I’d rather buy zellies w/ it;)

    many thanx & I’m incredibly grateful to you & your crusade:)
    austin, tx

    • Thanks for your message – and I am delighted to have been able to help you improve your oral health with these simple suggestions.

      You pose a good question, and without seeing the filling I cannot really diagnose, however – when a chip occurs anywhere in your mouth it is a warning sign that your teeth are “chip-able” – and what has happened to this tooth can happen elsewhere in the mouth. You really need to strengthen your teeth more. My suggestion is to increase the amount of time (to twice a day) that you are using my Complete Mouth Care System of rinses – once in the morning ( at a time when you can leave your mouth undisturbed for 30-60 minutes after) and again last thing before you go to sleep at night ( so the benefits can continue for hours undisturbed).

      The small crack itself is probably not a big problem and if you nave no sensitivity from this tooth it may be OK to leave alone. However, you should take this as a sign that your enamel is not mineralized enough. You may think your teeth are 100% better than they were – but I am suggesting they can be stronger – and you need to make them much stronger ASAP.

      Before making a decision to replace this filling, I’d suggest you use the Complete Mouth Care System twice a day, for another 6-12 months, always protecting your teeth from acidity with Zellies ( now available from Whole Foods and People’s Pharmacy in Austin). Ensure you are using the correct Crest toothpaste, and not rinsing with water between the steps. I believe that if you do this you will strengthen your enamel and even have the potential to reverse this problem. When you go for your next check-up in 6-12 months – the dentist may not even notice the cracked filling.

      Please let me know how this goes – I’d love to get a progress report on your situation to share with others. Enjoy Austin – what a wonderful place – I can’t wait to come back and give another seminar there! Here is a link to the booklet that we have about the Complete Mouth Care System LINK

  • ecressey1 says:

    Hi Doctor Ellie,

    Thank you for your book, Kiss Your Dentist Good-Bye, and your Zellies. My 3-year old daughter and 5-year old son both had a clean bill of health at the Dentist last week, and my daughter (who eats Zellies, and loves them!) was told she had very clean teeth.
    I started your program about 6-7 months ago after my first dental X-ray in 5 years (I had missed them before due to pregnancies) revealed that I had a “cavity” in a rear upper molar between the teeth. The dentist told me it was “quite deep” and should be filled. I went on your program and have followed it pretty well…. I am down to doing the rinses only once per day. Anyway, I went to a new ‘natural’ dentist because I wasn’t that excited about having the cavity drilled and I hoped it would go away with the protocol. It had not gone away, but neither had it showed any signs of healing yet.

    The dentist couldn’t figure out why I would have a cavity, since the rest of my mouth was so healthy. He thought maybe it was a “resorption,” but he couldn’t figure out why it would be that, either. He said he was close to 100% sure that it wouldn’t go away and that enamel would not come back. He said my “best efforts” could not help it because it was between the teeth and couldn’t be reached (by the toothbrush) to be cleaned. He thought it was a ticking time bomb and “strongly” recommended getting it filled. However, he said if I had a good low-sugar diet, which I do because I am doing the GAPS diet with my son, he thought it would be stable and worsen only very slowly, so he was OK with letting me wait another 6 months and checking on it again at my next appointment.

    So, I guess my question is – do you think there is a chance that this could heal? How long might it take to heal? How do you know if something is a “lost cause” and you should just get a filling? Thank you very much for your generous service. This is an amazing resource. Will be ordering more Zellies, soon.

    Warmly, Emily

    • Hi Emily. Thanks for the message – I hope you don’t mind that I cropped it a little – and thanks for the photos too!
      I’d like to address the question of how do you know if reversing a cavity is a lost cause or not?
      1. You need to asses how important it is to yo to avoid a filling.
      2. You have to decide if you are sufficiently motivated to throw everything you can at this cavity for 6-12 months.
      3. There will not be sufficient healing to reverse an existing cavity if you are only using “the system” once a day – or if you do not fully capitalize on the value of Zellies.

      Some people only need to maintain tooth health and they may find that a few Zellie’s mints and a reasonable regimen of mouth rinses work. However, if you want to reverse a cavity, then you are ( metaphorically) going up a down escalator! By this I mean it will take a lot of effort, enough Zellies, and the perfect use of the system that I recommend – with exact products and in the exact sequence recommended – twice a day and always at night before sleeping.

      I won’t rant here as to why it is worth avoiding a filling – but it has nothing to do with expense, or to avoid drilling, local anesthetic etc. It is that once you have a filling you will no longer have a pristine tooth – and for the rest of your life the strength of your tooth will be compromised. To have the ability to reverse this cavity and prevent a lifetime of problems will – to me – be well worth this effort for 6-9 months.

      The good news is that your cavity developed over 6 years and even your most recent dentist (although pessimistic) was prepared to check it again in 6 months. I’d encourage you to get to work, and spin this dentist’s head around at the end of 2014 with a completely healed tooth!

      Teeth are like mineral bank accounts and a cavity is where too many minerals have been withdrawn – creating a honey-comb weakness in the tooth where the minerals disappeared. Using my system – especially the ingredients in Crest Cavity Protection paste ( ensure you have this exact paste!!) can rebuild minerals back into this weak part of your tooth. After using Closys ( for one minute) you may want to push some Crest paste (with your finger) into the gap between this tooth – where this cavity is- and its adjacent tooth. Do this just before you begin toothbrushing. You may even want to “floss” some toothpaste between these teeth – smearing some Crest toothpaste onto the defective area. This paste will be on your tooth for 2 minutes while you brush – being absorbed into the weak area. Now rinse the paste off with Listerine, spit out, and rinse again for a minute with ACT. The ACT will also help “push” minerals into this weak area of your tooth – remineralizing the gaps in the honey-comb area.

      Every time your mouth is acidic ( especially with citrus fruits) you deplete or withdraw minerals from this tooth. Even sugars from carbohydrates and fruits form acids that demineralize teeth. A healthy diet is not always good for teeth. The frequency of eating is important, and also the length of time teeth are under attack. This is why we suggest you eat and drink at mealtimes, and end with Zellies ( to immediately alkalize your mouth and end the damage). Try to limit the amount of time you “sip” drinks – even water – and eat Zellies during the day to “re-alkalize” your mouth if it gets dry. (A note here is that Zellies are amazing and I do not suggest you substitute with any similar look-alike xylitol product.)

      Obviously I have not see your X rays so I cannot diagnose, but from the story I notice your dentist offered you the chance of a 6 month respite! I will not be surprised to learn that this cavity heals – but it will only happen if you follow all directions, use the system in the morning and always before bed, limit acidity, keep drinks to mealtimes (as much as possible) and use Zellies every single day! If you’d like more personal help – let me know. I would be so happy for you to be successful so that a) you would avoid a filling and b) we can tell others about your total success story!

      Best wishes. Ellie

      • Hi Dr. Ellie,

        I am still working on doing the system morning and night. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

        I am still having an ongoing problem with dark staining on the lower half of my teeth (near the biting surface) – and I wear a retainer at night so I wonder if that is involved.

        The hygenist says the stain is very hard to get off, but when it does, my teeth are beautiful and whiter than ever. She said it is like a chlorhexidine stain.

        The dentist cannot figure out why the staining is occurring. He suggested stopping the use of the CloSys mouth wash.

        However – it’s hard to blame a rinse that goes ALL OVER my teeth, when the stain is clearly only on half of my teeth (and also somewhat in between teeth).

        It seemed like my teeth were pretty white for about 3 months, and then started getting stained and got rapidly darker in the last 2 months while I was waiting for my dental exam.


        1) Do you think CloSys (or chlorine dioxide which I also consume as part of an anti-parasite regimen I am on) could be related to staining?

        2) Do you think my mouthguard style tray retainer could be at fault, and if so, how do you recommend I clean it.

        I want to continue to give this protocol my all, but am frustrated by the staining.

        Thank you,


        P.S. We didn’t look at the cavity location this time, but I am confident we are making progress on it. 🙂 I definitely want to keep all my teeth WHOLE.

        • For years we have had reports of a few select people who get stains like this. I think every one is female. This makes me think the problems is with specific gender-sensitive bacteria.
          My hunch is that these bacteria are somehow related to digestive imbalance and I’d recommend you try digestive probiotics for a few months.
          You may also want to use a different style of toothbrush ( maybe two different kinds to reach different areas of the mouth). Don’t select brushes that are soft -use a medium hardness – and brush ( even floss) thoroughly where stains occur.

          I think the stains are remnants of sticky bacteria that proliferate in certain mouths. Keeping them away is a challenge and may require three sessions per day with the complete Mouth Care System. Your dentist should be thrilled that your gingival health is so good – and if they use an ultrasonic scaler – I’m surprised this stain is such a time-problem for the office.

  • Dottie says:

    Hi Dr. Ellie
    I have periodontal disease in my lower 5 teeth in the front. My hygienist tells me each time that it still stays the same. It has not grown. I’ve have it for years. I’ve added vitamin K2 and my teeth feel stronger and harder. I am worried about the enamel on my teeth. I am trying to find for my husband and I what to do or take for remineralizing our teeth. I also have some brown stain on one of my teeth so what do you suggest I do for these different things I shared with you. I read about Dr. Ulrich Bruhn from Germany that he suggest using the xylitol right on the teeth and gums. What is your advice? I will wait to hear from you.

    • I recommend my Complete Mouth Care System – with xylitol after each meal, snack or drink – at least 5 times a day. The xylitol will loosen plaque and make it easier for plaque to rinse off your teeth during the mouth care routine I suggest.

      When you brush ensure your toothbrush is not too soft. You need a small brush to brush the gums – aiming to stimulate circulation in the gums – especially in the area with periodontal problems. You may have a tight lip – so select a small brush and be sure to go high enough (or low enough) on the gums alongside the problem teeth. Diet, nutrition and digestive health are connected with periodontal healing. You may want to read more here: LINK

  • >