Wishing for a healthier mouth in 2017? Want to put an end to gum disease, cavities, and other oral health issues? Take control of your own oral health. You can achieve Ultimate Oral Health this year by understanding these 5 Oral Wellness Points.
5 Oral Wellness Points
Mouth bacteria are both good and bad. There are substantially more good ones than bad, but the bad ones cause big problems like cavities and gum disease – so they are not welcome visitors in our mouths. These bacteria – good or bad – do not just stay on teeth, they can travel and reach places like our toothbrush bristles. This is why it is vital to clean your toothbrush as often as possible – ideally every day. Also get a new brush as often as possible, especially if you have cavities or are fighting gum disease.
The great news for families and friends is that when your mouth is healthy – you will be sharing healthy bacteria with the people you love. Early childhood is a time when the mouth bacterial composition is designed, and the input from family is very important in this process. Parents can clean their mouth health and feed good bacteria by consuming small amounts of xylitol at the end of every meal. Baby teeth can also be cleaned with a small amount of xylitol, rubbed or wiped over teeth.
Eating Causes Acidity
Every time we eat we can almost assume that acids are generated in our mouths. There are a few exemptions to this, but most foods contain natural or added sugars, carbohydrates or some form of acid. Organic, healthy foods can be as damaging as processed foods for teeth. Green smoothies often rate as some of the most damaging for teeth since kale and spinach contain oxalic acids which can destroy tooth enamel.
Acidity pulls minerals from teeth and also promotes the growth of unhealthy mouth bacteria. The longer the mouth remains acidic, the more damage is caused. Waiting for an hour before cleaning your teeth is allowing damage for too long each day. Eating a little xylitol mint or piece of pure xylitol gum after every meal, snack or drink will take away mouth acidity and also help to mineralize teeth and repair any defects.[Read more about acidity and your teeth]
Saliva is Your Best Friend
Today there are a number of expensive “re-mineralizing” pastes and gels sold to repair soft, weak or sensitive teeth. Your own saliva contains the ideal mix of minerals and is far better than these artificial products for this job of mineralizing teeth. The problem is that minerals will only go into teeth when the mouth is at a specific and alkaline pH of around 7.4. Fortunately xylitol generates a flow of alkaline saliva in most mouths to bring it to this pH.
When saliva interacts with the surface of teeth, it will help the teeth to harden and become smoother and stronger. It’s important to give your teeth enough time to interact with saliva. Constant snacking and sipping is detrimental to this process and is the reason many people experience sensitive teeth. Saliva quality varies throughout the day and mid afternoon is the ideal time to stop eating and drinking and allow your teeth time to interact with your own natural saliva.
The Mouth’s Nightmare
The most difficult time for our mouth health is while we are sleeping. The mouth automatically becomes drier and our saliva more acidic – two conditions that wreck havoc on our teeth and gums. This is why it is so important to prepare our teeth before we go to sleep, helping them to overcome the difficulties of the hours while we are asleep. It’s no use thinking that you can clean your teeth in the morning and make up for ignoring them at night: it just doesn’t work that way.
It’s vital to clean and protect your teeth before going to sleep each night. Many products today are too acidic for mouth health, especially all the products made to whiten or control plaque in the mouth. Many toothpastes are equally poorly designed for the care that teeth need during the night.
My Complete Mouth Care System was designed specifically to care for teeth and protect them during the night. In fact, it does its job so well, your teeth may be stronger, shinier and look better in the morning than they did when you went to bed!
Mouth Health Body Health
Many studies point to various connections between mouth and body health. Body health also affects mouth health in a number of ways. Diet and good nutrition is vital if you are trying to correct a problem in your mouth, and I often talk with clients about their digestive health and the need to consider a good vitamin and mineral supplement in addition to a good digestive probiotic supplement.
The ideal time to develop mouth health is during the early years of childhood. In many countries xylitol is given to preschool children as xylitol candies during the school day. This has been a public health measure in Finland for about 50 years to prevent cavities, and prepare the mouths of children before the eruption of adult teeth. Healthy adult teeth require less treatment, no sealants and less maintenance care. Healthy teeth and gums will promote better general health and hopefully allow us all to live longer, healthier lives.
Looking for a healthy sugar alternative for sweetening your beverages or for baking? Granular xylitol is the perfect solution! Granular xylitol has a low-glycemic index (7.0) and has 40% less calories and 75% fewer carbohydrates than sugar.
Granular xylitol is also a simple and easy way to care for teeth, especially for those who can’t use xylitol mints or gum.
In this short 3-minute video, Dr. Ellie explains why she loves granular xylitol for general health and more specifically for healthier teeth!
My book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye, was written when Dr. Richard Carmona was Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Carmona was concerned about the state of oral health in America and he graciously gave my book a glowing testimonial and his personal support. In chapter eight I explain why “community” water fluoridation (adding fluoride to drinking water) is so different from the use of a well-formulated fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse. Some fluoride in oral products can have a beneficial effect on the outside of teeth – but then we spit it out.
Children with good teeth do not need fluoride. Young children are in the most danger from “fluorosis” – something that happens to enamel when fluoride in drinking water is ingested. It can create voids in tooth enamel that are seen as brown or chalky white spots in the enamel. More important is the concern that drinking fluoride can harm a young child’s thyroid. I believe this may be a great risk for young girls, potentially impacting their fertility as adults.
Fluoride cannot prevent cavities, although it can help repair already-damaged teeth. Fluoride is like a “pill” to “fix” but it does nothing to prevent the “illness” of cavities. If you need a “fix” then sodium fluoride appears to be the safest topical fluoride, and a tube of Crest Cavity Protection Paste at WallMart costs $2/ tube for a year’s supply! apply to the damaged tooth and then spit it out!
Cavities are caused by harmful bacteria – and these are easy to eliminate from a baby’s mouth with a few xylitol crystals wiped on erupting teeth daily. Xylitol feeds healthy bacteria in a baby’s, toddler’s or adult’s mouth. Once healthy bacteria gain a foot-hold, they protect teeth from plaque and this will prevent cavities.
Remember these important facts:
1. Cavity “disease” is a completely preventable bacterial disease.
2. Cavities are not genetic. Harmful bacteria travel from mouth to mouth by kissing and sharing food and utensils.
3. Fluoride has no effect on cavity-causing bacteria and does not prevent unhealthy germs from spreading to friends and family, and potentially building plaque to damage teeth and gums.
4. Fluoride can help rebuild damaged teeth as a “fix” – but fluoride is not a solution for plaque or plaque’s health-damaging effect.
5. Studies show daily xylitol eradicates 98% of plaque from teeth.
6. When baby teeth are “cleaned” with xylitol, healthy bacteria become a barrier – offering long-term protection to erupting teeth.
7. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) self-reports fluoridation as “one of the greatest .. achievements of the 21st Century”. They completely ignore the fears and dangers of fluoride consumption.
Our current US Surgeon General appears to take the ADA’s traditional position on drinking fluoride. Notice when you listen to Dr. Murthy’s video that he never says “fluoride PREVENTS cavities”. The truth is fluoride can only “fix” existing weakness (to reduce the prevalence and severity of cavities – it does nothing to eliminate plaque or prevent infection – which continues). Listen as he infers poor people have worse teeth because of their zip code. Remember thyroid health, fertility effects in girls, and fluoride’s lack of effect on plaque, are never mentioned.
Here is the You Tube Video of US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek H Murthy on water fluoridation:
We agree about the need to prevent cavities, but how much more important is it to prevent cavities in children? Perhaps one of the most important groups to target with prevention are children with disabilities – those with compromised health or physical disabilities. Included in this group should be kids who are adopted and or who live in foster care. These children often have special social needs and should not have to endure additional burdens from painful cavities.
About half a million children in America live in foster care and a recent report indicates many of these children do not visit a doctor or dentist regularly. The error of the report is that it equates a lack of visiting to resultant health problems. The conclusion of the report is that health care providers must refer more children for dental and medical care. This will not end their problems – since no dentist in the world can stop dental disease.
Far more important, but less politically correct, is the idea of teaching families who welcome adopted or foster children into their homes, how to prevent cavities with xylitol. If they simply wipe erupting teeth with xylitol granules or eat a few delicious mints or gum each day at the end of meals, they can reduce the incidence of cavities by 98%.
Turku sugar studies. V. Final report on the effect of sucrose, fructose and xylitol diets on the caries incidence in man. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/795260
A number of my friends are dental missionaries and visit countries where problems from dental disease are intense. They see adults with many lost teeth and visible tooth damage that can be overwhelming. These dentists provide emergency extractions and care, but wish they could offer long-term help. Some take toothbrushes while others teach nurses to apply fluoride varnish. Any concept must be simple and sustainable since complicated or costly programs will not continue after the team leaves. All this effort is admirable, but we have a gigantic problem, and need ideas that will work for every community around the globe.
Awful statistics that tell us that here the U.S., there is an epidemic of decay in preschool children and 90% of older adults have decayed, missing, or filled teeth. Of course we usually don’t see these problems because they are masked by skillful dentistry. Imagine if we took off the veneers, crowns, fillings, bridges, implants and dentures. We would be shocked by the horrific damage this progressive disease can cause in sixty years. This is not just a problem for distant countries, but something we must all consider. I believe 5 simple steps can help children grow up cavity free, anywhere on the globe.
This preventive strategy is split into 3 categories. Each will make a difference, but when used in harmony will give greater results. The concept is to prevent initial transmission of infection, promote healthy bacteria to protect teeth, and apply topical fluoride to strengthen new erupting adult teeth.
1) Prevent mother-child transfer of cavity bacteria
2) Limit infection from toothbrushes or promote other methods of care
3) As teeth erupt
4) During preschool years
5) On erupting permanent molars
1. Prevent Mother-Child Transfer of Cavity Bacteria
Regular use of xylitol reduces harmful bacteria and cultivates healthier ones in the mouth. Mothers are usually the carriers of dental infection that transfers from their mouth to their baby’s teeth. Studies show that mothers who consume 5 grams of xylitol daily, during the first years of their baby’s life (as baby teeth erupt) will reduce the chance of decay in their child’s teeth by 80%.
2. Limit infection from toothbrushes by promoting other methods of care
Toothbrushes are infected by a single use, and dirty toothbrushes spread infection. Brushing adult teeth can improve gum health, but not if brushes are infected. Let’s promote brush hygiene and, when appropriate, consider locally available tools, like chew sticks. The Miswak is recognized in many parts of the world as an effective tooth-cleaning device. This chew stick contains fluoride, silica, and resins to help teeth. A chew stick can massage gums and be discarded, or the end of the stick cut off to prevent re-infection at the next use.
3. Promote healthy bacteria as teeth erupt – with xylitol
A pound of xylitol is relatively inexpensive and these granules can be dissolved in water to wipe on erupting baby teeth. Studies show this can lower decay by 90%. This form of prevention is most effective before baby molars erupt (at 18 months). Xylitol promotes good bacteria in molar grooves, where they become reservoirs of bacteria to dominate the mouth. Children with healthy baby molars are more likely to have healthy adult molars.
4. Promote healthy bacteria during preschool years – with xylitol
Regular use of xylitol will help promote healthy bacteria in a child’s mouth. As children eat xylitol candies, like Zellie’s Polar Bears, they ensure their mouths have healthy bacteria before adult teeth erupt during Kindergarten years.
5. Apply fluoride varnish on erupting permanent molars
Fluoride is last on this list because it has no power to adjust or promote healthy bacteria. Topical fluoride can, however, help strengthen enamel. Even healthy adult molars are soft as they erupt, and at risk for cavities. To give protection, a coat of fluoride varnish will encourage minerals to harden new molar teeth.
Download our latest guidebooks for Ultimate Oral Health:
For more information on oral health and xylitol, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites:
Zellies.com – learn more & order Zellies Xylitol Mints, Gum and Candies
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!
Pediatric sedation is a dental procedure that is rapidly becoming more common in practices around the country. Some dentists think it’s because there are more young children showing up with decay, others say it’s because we have an ADA push to get children to the dentist by their first birthday. Personally, I think both are contributing factors, but I also believe there are an increasing number of Pediatric Dentists who recommend sedation as indisputable treatment for cavities in toddler baby teeth.
It’s a fact that the US currently has an out-of-control epidemic of decay in children’s teeth, and many kids have 4 or more cavities before the age of 2. This kind of disease in young children is known as Early Childhood Caries (ECC). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes early childhood tooth decay as the #1 chronic childhood disease, affecting over 6 million American children under the age of 6. This is a shocking statistic for anyone who knows that dental disease is completely preventable and how xylitol, in a few delicious Zellie Bears, could eliminate 98% of the germs responsible for these cavities. (learn more about how to use xylitol to prevent dental disease by reading our e-booklet: Zellies Xylitol for Ultimate Oral Health)
I consult with many parents who call me in a state of desperation after a scary dental visit where numerous cavities have been diagnosed in their toddler’s tiny teeth. Everyone understands that doing traditional fillings or placing crowns on these teeth would be virtually impossible without strapping the child to the chair (which does happen in some offices). In light of this, it seems to make sense that the humane recommendation is to work under a general anesthetic in a hospital, or use in-office sedation. Most of the parents with whom I consult are distraught and ask me if there is an alternative to avoid such a serious event, and can they fix these teeth naturally?
Obviously there are cases where sedation or anesthesia is the best idea and warranted, but I believe many cases could be treated less completely, or not at all, providing the disease is stopped and preventive advice is implemented. Ozone therapy may be an option, the use of glass ionomer as a temporary cement, or simply the application of xylitol and fluoride products in a good home regimen. I advise patients that my benchmark for this is “if this were my grandchild….” In almost every case I have suggested families wait and have no treatment done, returning for evaluation in a month or twoContinue reading
Ultimate Oral Health is just around the corner…
The pathway to ultimate oral health is not a mystery. It comes down to knowing why dental problems occur (it’s not as complex as you may think) and the easy things you can do to protect, improve, and heal your teeth.
In this booklet we’ve outlined the basic reasons why oral health problems exist and we’ve filled you in on nature’s best kept secret for oral health – xylitol! Xylitol is a natural, tooth-friendly sugar that will keep your smile bright and healthy.
Towards the back of the booklet, we’ve addressed some of the unique oral health concerns at every stage of life and have provided you with tips on how to use xylitol for ultimate oral health!
Here’s to bright, healthy smiles for life!
It’s unlikely a child with unhealthy teeth and serious cavities will have fun at their first dental visit. Cavities are difficult to treat in young mouths and most dentists suggest sedation or general anesthesia – a scary experience for everyone.
Taking toddlers to the dentist is suggested by the ADA as an opportunity for the dentist to teach you how to prevent cavities in your children’s teeth. Remember a dentist cannot prevent a cavity – he or she can only explain how a cavity forms and give you advice how to prevent them. Dentists can warn you about soft areas, plaque and diet, but in many cases these appointments are too late for prevention –cavities may have already formed.
A child with healthy teeth usually has a wonderful first dental experience – marked by praise, fun, and celebration!
The most effective way to protect baby teeth from cavities is with xylitol and the easiest time to prevent a cavity is before, or when, baby teeth erupt. If you are a regular visitor to this site, you already know this – so perhaps you can help other parents learn the truth.Continue reading
A dental sealant is a thin plastic used to cover cracks (fissures) that naturally occur in chewing surfaces of molar teeth. The idea is to protect teeth from decay, since cavities almost always start in these grooves. Sealants were developed in the 1960s and by 1970 they were “grandfathered” into use by the FDA.
The idea is that when tooth grooves are blocked, bacteria in them will be cut off from dietary sugars and be unable to cause decay. The first molars erupt into a child’s mouth about 6 years old, and the second molars about age 12. Sealants are usually applied as soon as teeth erupt, before they have a chance to decay.
Applying a sealant is quick and easy, and it sounds like a good idea. There are, however, problems with sealants, the most important being that they do not deal with the disease that causes cavities.Continue reading
The first birthday celebrates the most important time in the entire life of your teeth. By a child’s first birthday, front incisor teeth provide a surface for plaque germs to grow and multiply. As baby molars erupt in the second year of life, grooves in their biting surfaces quickly become infected with the resident mouth germs. Studies show that if healthy germs enter these grooves, they multiply there and dominate the mouth, protecting teeth from decay. On the other hand, if harmful germs get into these grooves, they can cause cavities, first in baby teeth and later in the adult teeth. Pediatric studies show that children with healthy teeth at 4 years old are 80 percent more likely to have good teeth for life.