Xylitol and the Ugly Sisters

cindarellaAs we think about outfits for Halloween, I’d like to suggest xylitol is the “Cinderella” of dentistry. The beauty of xylitol has been diminished and reviled for decades by her competitors, people and organizations who are fearful you will fall in love at first taste!

Xylitol has been giving her gentle support to diabetics for over 100 years. During World War II xylitol was table sugar in Europe, offering families a little sweetness during troubled times. When children consume xylitol in early life they have less ear infections, less cavities, less sinus and allergy problems and as adults we have less acid reflux, plaque, cavities, and perhaps less sickness and overall disease.

With so many benefits why has xylitol been locked in the attic all these years? Why hasn’t anyone suggested xylitol be introduced to the public? The military have used xylitol for 15 years to keep our troops’ teeth safer – yet most people are unaware xylitol even exists.

Years ago a couple of xylitol’s Ugly Sisters mixed a tiny amount of xylitol with sorbitol in their popular gum and mints. This masquarade product promoted xylitol on the wrapper – but the main ingredient was sorbitol – a stomach-twisting product that cast doubt on the benefits of xylitol.

Finally it’s time for xylitol’s Fairy Godmother (AKA Grandma Zellie) to wave her wand and help xylitol reach the embrace of that handsome Prince – your dentist!

Together we can outsmart those Ugly Sisters who have done all they can to keep Cinderella from going to the ball. They know how beautiful she is – they knew the Prince will fall in love immediately. Let’s give xylitol the chance of a lifetime – and then…….. we can all live happily, ever after!

About the Author Ultimate Oral Health

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Leslie says April 18, 2016

Have you heard of Forever Mints and what do you think of them? They sound good except that they have a little sucralose in them (1 part to 5 million). Is that okay or should it be avoided all together? Thanks!

    Ultimate Oral Health says June 9, 2016

    I could NEVER recommend sucralose. Splenda is complicated and appears to change pH levels in the gut which may harm the healthy bacteria that support general health and our immune system. I’d suggest you try mints sweetened with 100% xylitol – like Zellie’s mints – which offer many benefits for mouth and general health!

SHK says May 8, 2017

Hi Dr. Ellie, thank you for your book and your efforts to educate.

I see on the product websites that Closys Rinse has ‘Sucralose’, while Crest Cavity Protection toothpaste and Listerine Cool Mint Antiseptic have ‘Sorbitol’ as an inactive ingredient.

You have stated the damages caused by both Sucralose and Sorbitol. Perhaps I’m missing something, but with Sorbitol and Sucralose in their ingredients, why are these products recommended?

    Ultimate Oral Health says June 19, 2017

    I understand your concern but you are not eating these products. Never drink or eat them – but believe me, they work to improve oral health – Just spit them out!!!

Alisha says May 27, 2017

Hi Dr Ellie! What are your thoughts on Listerine’s alcohol content in relation to causing oral cancer due to chronic exposure?

    Ultimate Oral Health says June 19, 2017

    Listerine original formulations are the only ones I recommend – because they are the only ones that have been thoroughly tested and used for almost 100 years. No reports of cancer have occurred in this time.
    Another competitor company did some bad studies in an attempt to give Listerine a bad name about 10 years ago. They poured Listerine directly on skin cells – which did damage them, but in the mouth skin cells are protected by a protein layer/biofilm – which is NOT damaged by Listerine – but ironically this layer IS damaged by baking soda, triclosan and whitening products like peroxide.
    In addition – the final rinse ACT washes any alcohol out of the mouth and ACT is alcohol free.

      Alisha says June 19, 2017

      Thank you so much for the explanation!!!

Verna Decker says October 27, 2017

Hi Dr. Ellie,
I see you answered a question that it is OK to use Listerine and Crest even though they contains sorbitol since you spit it out. However while reading your book, I noticed that you wrote regarding sorbitol: “plaque bacteria on teeth learn to use it as an energy source in order to grow and thicken” (p. 132). I conclude from this that we shouldnt even let sorbitol be in the mouth, unless this is referring only to the effect of consuming sorbitol. Would you be able to clarify this?

    Ultimate Oral Health says November 6, 2017

    I wrote about sorbitol mainly because, at the time I was writing Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye most xylitol was mixed with sorbitol in gum and mints. Wrigley’s had a chewing gum made of sorbitol with a few grains of xylitol in it and they promoted it as gum “now with xylitol”. This was very confusing for many people – including dentists who were puzzled that they did not see positive xylitol results. You need at least 3 grams of pure xylitol daily to experience oral health improvements, so when you have gum like Wrigley’s which is mainly sorbitol, this would mean eating so much sorbitol that it would create digestive problems and the sorbitol would begin to “feed” the harmful bacteria. Yes, as toothpaste and in a rinse – you do not have to worry because the amount is so small. Of course, it would be preferable to have xylitol in all the products, but this would raise their cost since xylitol is a very expensive ingredient.

Alisha says November 26, 2017

Dr Ellie,
What are your thoughts on CTx3 rinse? My dentist carries it and it contains xylitol. Would it be acceptable to replace ACT with this, since it has the added benefit of xylitol?

Thank you

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