Q&A with Dr. Ellie: Should I Get a Sealant?

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

Q: My dentist would like to apply a white sealant to my pre-molar because it has a very deep fissure which she said is causing staining/food to get caught. I do see a fine dark line in that tooth frequently and she demonstrated with her explorer how deep the tip is able to reach in. I am 46 and in good health. I am using your complete system — should I allow her to do the sealant? (Perhaps this situation would be an exception to your usual advice to avoid sealants since eventually they leak, harbor bacteria, and do need to be replaced every few years?) -L



Hi L,

I cannot diagnose nor give information about a specific tooth here, but we can discuss why I believe it is better to avoid sealants whenever possible. In this case, a sealant would probably be extremely small, and it may look nicer– so your decision could be made for esthetic reasons.

On the other hand, most US dentists have never seen a cavity reverse, and only a few believe in remineralization. Slowly this is changing, but xylitol is new to the United States and without its help, “miraculous” tooth repairs are not possible. Personally I suggest you use Zellies 100% Xylitol Mints and the Complete Mouth Care System for at least 12 months and “watch” the outcome for this tooth before making any decision (by the way, we would all love to hear the rest of this story if you decide to wait…..).

Every time you eat a Zellies Mint and it dissolves in your mouth, xylitol liquid washes over teeth –into every pit and fissure. In these hidden places, xylitol eliminates harmful bacteria that may be lodged there. Without cavity-forming bacteria, danger is averted – and a sealant becomes unnecessary.

The biggest problem with sealants is they contain BPA (BisPhenol A) a chemical that is disruptive since it mimics estrogen and can get into brain tissue. There are additional problems with sealants for kid’s teeth, since healthy bacteria in tooth grooves are a positive source to balance mouth bacteria and fight infection and cavities. This idea of promoting healthy bacteria in tooth grooves is a little-known concept – and we will discuss this in future newsletters.

When you use xylitol at the end of every meal and snack, your risk for decay will be reduced so much that the need for a preventive sealant is eliminated.

Best wishes,

Dr. Ellie


For more information on oral health and xylitol, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites:

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
Dr. E Oral Health Coaching – articles, resources and videos to help you learn more

Join the conversation online on the Zellies Facebook page!

Categories: Dental Procedures, Q&A with Dr. Ellie, Sealants, Xylitol


  • Sally Dixon says:

    Hi Dr. Ellie,

    I’m seeing more gum recession in certain areas of my mouth, including a couple areas in front of my mouth. I know that women are more prone to receding gums, but what can I do to slow the recession and protect my enamel? I already use Zellies every day along with your Total Mouthcare System. And another question you could answer perhaps another time…what do you think about Novamin and it’s ability to remineralize and desensitize teeth? Must it be used with fluoride to work? How long would I need to use it for real results? Zellies Total Mouthcare System helps with sensitivity, but I still have some problems with it. Thanks for all your good advice! — Sally

    • Don’t accept receding gums are inevitable – they are NOT!! Women simply have a harder time forming a protein layer called pellicle – so if it gets damaged ( by acidity, baking soda, whitening or harsh dental cleanings) women may suffer from its absence. If you feel that this has happened to you – then perhaps you want to stop flossing, use xylitol in water as a drink to sip every morning, and stick exactly to the Zellies Complete Mouth Care System exactly. Novamin is little more than milk powder and it has limited and poor study results. Eating some cheddar cheese may be more useful and a lot less expensive! I would rather see you eating some Zellies mints after lunch and dinner!

  • Our Dentist recommended that we do not use Listerine and Act back to back. She said that neither of them will work if we use them together. What is your professional opinion on this?

    • I don’t understand why your dentist said this – but I can tell you why I recommend the Zellies Complete Mouth Care System – because it works! I suggest you use the Crest toothpaste immediately before the Listerine rinse and the ACT immediately afterwards. No water rinsing between the steps. Thousands and thousands of people have found this system an answer to their prayers and an end to their dental problems. It is important to ONLY use the Original or the Cool Mint Listerine formulas – I do not endorse any of the newer Listerine inventions and the whitening Listerine is dangerous for mouth health and should never be used. You can read my book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye for all the details – but basically each piece of this system works like a puzzle piece, fitting exactly with the next step. Maybe your dentist is unfamiliar with the exact protocol – and may be dazzled and surprised by the results! Check the details for the Zellies Complete Mouth Care System HERE

  • Francoise Johnson says:

    I’m a senior who has been using your program faithfully for one month. I just had a bad check-up: the X-ray shows three teeth with old restorations which have developed new problems: two have a new cavity under their large silver fillings and a molar with a root canal has a new cavity near the gum line under the crown. One tooth has a 50% chance of needing a root canal if the dentist attempts to fill it, as the new cavity appears to be close to the nerve. Those teeth don’t hurt, neither are they sensitive. To my untrained eye the new cavities look tiny on the X-ray, just tiny dark dots. I’d like to wait and give your program a chance to heal those cavities. The dentist thinks that if I want to keep those teeth, I should let him start working on them right away. I’d appreciate your input. Thank you.

    • It is really important to get every part of the “system” correct if you are fighting cavities or gum disease. It is worth re-reading our booklet from cover to cover to ensure you have the correct products! You must protect your teeth from everything you eat and drink with xylitol. I suggest Zellies mints and gum – because I know that they work. If you use other kinds of xylitol, or other products, they may contain ingredients that prevent re-mineralization ( avoid any with glycerin, for example). It is important for me to give you these warnings -because if you delay having cavities filled – you need to be doing this correctly!!

      First try to think why you have these cavities. What do you drink and how often? Do you have a dry mouth? What were you using to clean your teeth before this? Do you snack a lot? Are you disciplined about cleaning your teeth twice a day? It is good if you know why cavities happened – and reading my book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye explains all the “reasons” so you can understand how best to protect your teeth.

      Providing you are following these directions and control snacking etc. you should be able to stop the cavities and even reverse them to some extent in about 6 months. I cannot tell you to ignore your dentist, but if this were me, I would certainly try to improve my oral health before rushing to have a cavity filled. I have a chapter on the fact that many cavities are filled when they did not need to be, and with Zellies and this kind of care, I think you have a very good chance of helping your teeth heal.

      The normal “benchmark” to know if you have a tooth that must be filled right away is feeling a sensitivity to sweet, cold or hot, that lasts for more than one minute. If you have no sensation at this time, then you should be safe to try and harden your teeth using this system. I hope your dentist is supportive of “checking” back in a few months. If you doubt his or her help – maybe you need a second opinion. Here is a link to the Zellies Complete Mouth Care Booklet for you to review the details: http://ultimateoralhealthguide.com/2012/12/04/zellies-complete-mouth-care-system-booklet

      • Francoise Johnson says:

        Doctor Ellie,

        Thank you for your reply. I have read your book :Kiss your Dentist Goodbye” twice and I am following your program exactly as outlined, including Zellies mints. I will attempt to let my teeth heal and not rush to have them worked on, as I have no pain and no sensitivity.I believe that by following your plan for the past two months I have already seen improvement in two issues that had plagued me: geographic tongue and one sore gum over an implant are greatly improved. I hope my dentist will be supportive. Thank you!

  • Dee says:

    I just found your website while I was searching for a remedy to my supersensitive gums/teeth while having a cold. I have had a tendency for sensitivity and gum recession though it has lessened over the years with flossing w/ Glide and trying to decrease the intensity of my brushing. After reading I know there are many reasons for my prior problems and especially the recent ultrasensitivity since catching a cold including mouth breathing, constantly drinking tea/water, rinsing/brushing w/ hydrogen peroxide (I thought if it was bacteria from the cold this would help – very wrong!). So I need to read more and am going to start your system but my question is…is there anything I can do in the short run to decrease the sensitivity fast, especially in a temporary situation like this.

    • The answer to your question is eat Zellies after everything you eat and drink – especially mints and gum….bears too! Try to get some ACT mouth rinse and use this twice ( even three times a day). It is best if you can use Crest Cavity Protection toothpaste first. This toothpaste can virtually diminish sensitivity in days when used in conjunction with Zellies mints or gum. Get on the Complete Mouth Care System as soon as you can.

      If you are still thirsty – dissolve xylitol in water and sip this between meals – but try to give your teeth a break from sipping from time to time. Teeth strengthen when they are bathed by minerals in saliva. Sipping water or other drinks dilutes saliva and dilutes these minerals. Mid afternoon saliva is the most mineral-rich – so stop drinking anything for a couple of hours after lunch each day. Please let us know how this works for you. Things should feel better in a couple of days. Here is a link to our booklet about the complete mouth care system: LINK

  • Ros says:

    Doctor Ellie

    My dentist is recommending composites to repair some of the damage caused by untreated gum disease. I have been using your full system for several months and am very happy with the results but my teeth could look a lot better, receding gums and gaps between teeth. I have refused whitening as I believe this can be achieved with the system but not sure if I should accept some help with the shape. I would love to hear your views on this. Many Thanks.

    • Any repairs on the sides of teeth is unpredictable and I believe they have about 80% failure rate for these repairs on the “necks” of teeth. It’s a difficult place to repair for many reasons, but I understand these areas can be darker and unsightly.
      Dr.Chao developed a relatively non-invasive technique to repair this kind of gum problem and it may be worth considering.
      I don’t know the long-term effects and I’ve not done the procedure myself – but do check the video below.

      I need to re-iterate that despite what they say on the video – it’s really not the brush or brushing that causes this. Beware abrasive toothpaste, damage to the tooth’s natural protection caused by peroxide and baking soda, and there is always damage caused by acidity – that softens teeth before brushing. Don’t be scared to massage your gums when you use the Complete Mouth Care System! Here is the link to Dr. Chao’s method: LINK

  • sarah says:

    Dr. Ellie, can dental sealants be removed on a 10 year old?

    • Once a tooth has had a dental sealant it can never again function as a perfect, pristine tooth. You can drill away the sealant from the surface but the plastic tags that were used to attach the sealant to the tooth will always remain in the enamel pores. Nothing you can do. I have regrets about sealing the molars of one of my children – and I would not do this today.
      Don’t beat yourself up – we parents do the best we can at the time, based on the knowledge that we have.
      I think the biggest concern with sealants is that they block the grooves that normally house healthy mouth bacteria and give specific ones a special foothold in these grinding teeth. Your child will soon have 12-year molars and premolars erupting – even wisdom teeth later in adolescence – and all these teeth provide similar occlusal grooves that can be a home for such bacteria.
      The sad stories are people with no grooves left in their mouths – they have blocked them all. These people usually have lost the specific bacteria needed for gluten and carbohydrate digestion which leaves them less able to process carbohydrates and more likely to be gluten intolerant.

      • Sarah says:

        Dr Ellie thank you for your response. I feel absolutely sick knowing that I allowed this to happen to her, and that it’s as I suspected- her enamel is forever compromised. Somehow you knew that I am beating myself up over it. Thank you, your words help me to get closer to acceptance- and now I know. No more sealants.

        • Yes – I don’t want you to be mad or sad about this – besides, it will make your saliva acidic and that could harm your teeth :).
          We just need to put our energies into moving forward so you can take control of your family’s oral health in the future. You are probably the first generation with access to the necessary information to take this responsibility and defend your oral health. My parents just trusted and believed their dentist and doctor as if they were high priests and not to be questioned.

  • >