Your mouth is full of bacteria — both good, protective, beneficial bacteria and harmful, disease-promoting bacteria. Just like with the bacteria in your gut, the goal for a healthy mouth is to promote the good, protective bacteria and keep the bad bacteria at bay. And guess what…xylitol does just that!
Check out this cool video that researchers from the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Mass. put together showing these bacterial communities in your mouth.
I benefited greatly from reading your book and using your system. I had let my oral health deteriorate over the course of years, but I finally saw a dentist, got a deep cleaning, and used your system to completely turn my oral health around… my gums healed, my teeth became smooth just like you said. And I learned so much… acidic foods, remineralization, etc., things I was never taught. I think this stuff should be taught in school and dentists should do more to inform patients about it, and maybe have little brochures to give patients as they leave the office. Anyway, thank you so much for book, it has honestly changed my life.
One big question I have: If our mouth has good bacteria as well as bad, and we need that good bacteria for oral health, should we really be using Listerine (or any antiseptic mouthwash)? Even Closys apparently kills germs, my last bottle of it came with an insert that says Closys kills 99% of bad breath germs. But perhaps they’re saying it only kills the bad bacteria? Anyway, I don’t see how we can be talking about promoting good bacteria with xylitol and then destroying them every morning and night with Listerine. Clarification on this would be appreciated.
The germ theory was adopted over 100 years ago, and at that time few people were unaware of the existence of “good bacteria” > This is why for 100 years we have been on a mission to “kill germs”. Today, most people understand our digestive and skin health DEPENDS on having a good mix of health-promoting (probiotic) bacteria to keep us healthy. In 2007 we discovered a similar thing in the mouth. In fact we have found between 700-900 kinds of good bacteria in healthy mouths.Bad breath occurs when you don’t have enough good bacteria. Xylitol helps feed good bacteria – which is why it helps those with bad breath develop a wider diversity of good bacteria.
Mouth bacteria float in saliva but when healthy bacteria mesh with strands of protein (derived from saliva) they form a fine, transparent “skin” that has the ability to protect our mouth and teeth. This healthy layer is called “biofilm”. We need healthy biofilm to protect our teeth and gums from temperature changes, enamel erosion, chemical attack, and invasion by the harmful bacteria called Streptococcus mutans. Strep mutans bacteria start life as a small round “seed” coated with a hard-shell. It remains in this seed form for about 12 hours. After this, the bacteria seed grows into a sticky, longer bacteria (called a columnar bacteria) that can stick to teeth with its sticky strands. When this form of Strep. mutans is allowed to grow and multiply in biofilm, it expands the layer and eventually this layer is so thick it can become visible as a sticky white mass often called “plaque”. Cavities and the first stage of gum disease are formed when these mature bacteria create acids that form cavities, and toxins that make our gums swell and bleed.
Xylitol is very helpful at inactivating MATURE Strep mutans but it has no power on the immature (seed-form). Closys has no power on the seed form either. The good news, however, is that the essential oils in Listerine dissolve the outer coat of this seed form bacteria without harming any of our “good” mouth bacteria within the resistant “biofilm”.
The bottle states that Listerine has the power to target plaque, but it fails to mention that it only targets the “immature” form of Strep mutans, the bacteria that (if allowed to grow) can CAUSE plaque and dental problems. What the Listerine label also does NOT say is that being acidic ( pH 4.2) Listerine will ENCOURAGE acid-loving Strep mutans TO GROW AND MULTIPLY!!! Also, the alcohol in Listerine can dry the mouth, and encourage plaque GROWTH. This is why you MUST use Listerine as a part of the system I recommend. This way you only enjoy its benefits!
In the same way, xylitol is helpful to promote gum healing, but it does not KILL periodontal bacteria. We have to learn about Periodontal Pathogens (the bacteria found in Periodontal Pockets and Periodontal disease) and know they are anaerobic and can only live in low-oxygen environments. Closys (chlorine dioxide) reacts with saliva to create a HIGH-oxygen environment which is undesirable for anaerobic bacteria. Yes, Closys is effective against anaerobic bacteria – some of the most harmful bacteria found in our mouths. Healthy mouth bacteria enjoy oxygen and are not affected. I know it is confusing for some people to hear so much biology – but you asked for an explanation – and I hope this explains the situation!
I have used my system for almost 40 years and have had the “good bacteria” in my mouth tested. I was found to have the widest diversity of good bacteria they had ever tested!
I suffered from halitosis since puberty with dry mouth. I came upon the conclusion that commercial toothpastes were causing the problem. So, I use Biotene toothpaste and chew xylitol gum. I do feel more of a saliva flow with the xylitol. I have good health and teeth otherwise. Am I on the right track to dealing with the halitosis? I use the Orabrush on my tongue as well as a saline nasal wash.
I suggest you follow my complete mouth care system, paying special attention to the use of pure xylitol gum (like Zellies) after every meal. This will protect your mouth from acidity.
Acidity promotes the bad bacteria of halitosis. Unfortunately Biotene is acidic – so it will work against you.
Also disinfect your toothbrush every time you use it and never keep it covered or in a bag. Brushes must air dry between uses.
I have two brushes (one for morning and one for night) so they can dry thoroughly between uses.
Never store near a toilet area. Clean your teeth in the kitchen if necessary!
Hi Dr Ellie
I have just started your complete mouth care system system.
What are your thoughts on adding oral probiotics? I have just started taking the hyperbiotics brand from amazon as they were the most popular and let 1 dissolve in my mouth after the final fluoride rinse twice a day? Do you reccommend this?
I recommend digestive probiotics since it is important that our digestion supports our immune system – which then supports our oral health.
I have not been convinced that oral probiotics are of any use. I don’t think anyone knows for certain – and I am not convinced by the studies, since some showed oral probiotics can unbalance mouth health.
I suggest you save your money and instead, purchase a good digestive probiotic or food-derived nutritional supplements.
Hi Dr. Ellie,
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on caring for dental implants? I had an injury when I was 17 (I am now 36), which required crowns on my two front teeth.
About a year ago, my periodontist recommended a bone graft (due to some bone loss surrounding my two front teeth) and also recommended replacing the existing crowns with dental implants. The bone graft was completed a year ago and the dental implants were placed about 6 months ago. I have temporary crowns now and expect to have permanent crowns placed in the next few months.
I have no cavities and have excellent overall oral health. I have also been using your system along with xylitol with great results. My dentist is suggesting I use an oral irrigator to properly clean debris from both implants/crowns.
Oral irrigators seem like they would be harsh on gums, but I could be wrong. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations on cleaning dental implants?
I wonder why your dentist recommends the oral irrigator if you have excellent oral health. I have seen this equipment help some people with deep pocketing but I advise people to AVOID irrigation if there is shallow pocketing (between 1 and 4mm). I agree with you that it may be too harsh in these mouths and my experience is that with shallow pockets around 4mm the irrigator can stop the pockets from healing completely. If you have NO pocketing and want to use this equipment – I think it is probably safe – but it is certainly not essential.
Hi Dr. Ellie,
What do you think about the Perio Protect system?
I am not a fan of hydrogen peroxide. There are many facts about hydrogen peroxide in relation to wound healing and although a one-time use may clean the area, repeated use of hydrogen peroxide can delay wound healing and create “free radicals”….which can create long-term problem and serious complications for the skin/mucosa of the mouth. Also hydrogen peroxide releases mercury from silver amalgam fillings – so it would be EVEN more of a problem for anyone with silver fillings in their teeth.
There is a new toothpaste in france called Zendium. It contains enzyme ( lysosyme),colostrum and sodium fluoride (1450 ppm).
Do you think it could be an alternative to crest, which we can’t find in france ?
the composition : Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Steareth-30, Xanthan Gum, Aroma, Carrageenan, Disodium Phosphate, Sodium Fluoride, Amyloglucosidase, Citric Acid, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium Benzoate, Glucose Oxidase, Sodium Saccharin, Lysozyme, Potassium Thiocyanate, Colostrum, Lactoferrin, Lactoperoxidase, CI 77891.Contient du Fluorure de Sodium (1450 ppm F) et des protéines de lait/œuf.
Hi and thanks for your question. This may work – but I am cautious about recommendations unless I have witnessed personal evidence of success in multiple patients over many years.There are many useless products in the marketplace. On the other hand, you may have to use something else and possibly compromise. Please let us know what YOU think of this paste after a few weeks, months and years. One hint is to ensure it makes your mouth FEEL good after using it.
It has been a week now, and my mouth feels great, much better. I think I have deep periodontal pockets. I had bad breath even with your system, I used Elmex and fluorigard. I switch for zendium and the difference is very noticeable. There is only one issue, I feel my mouth is more acidic especially in the morning, so I try to use more xylytol.
Good news! We can buy crest (us version) and act on amazon.fr, so I’ll be able to try the real stuff.
It is amazing how only the specific products appear to work. When people have to use substitute products – we never get the same results. Glad that you are working through the problems!