Category Archives for Gum Disease

Interview with Howard Farran: The Benefits of Xylitol

I originally did this interview with Howard Farran back in early January 2017. Reposting for those who may have missed it!

Have Healthier Teeth & Gums by Following These 5 Wellness Points!

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

  1. Bacteria Transfer
  2. Eating Causes Acidity
  3. Saliva is Your Best Friend
  4. The Mouth’s Nightmare
  5. Mouth Health  Body Health

Bacteria Transfer
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!

[Download my free “how to” guide for my Complete Mouth Care System]

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.

Xylitol for Seniors: Keeping Teeth Young and Ageless

iStock_000019825373LargeXylitol isn’t just for young people! Many seniors accept dental problems, thinking they simply happen as teeth age.

Xylitol helps to keep teeth young and ageless – by preventing damage caused by plaque, mouth acidity or dry mouth. Xylitol can help protect the oral health of denture wearers– by protecting the mouth and lips from infections like thrush, oral sores or angular cheilitis.

Thousands of studies on xylitol confirm wide-ranging general health benefits for patients with diabetes, hormone imbalance, osteoporosis, cavities, gum disease, ear infections, sinus infections or allergies. Xylitol will help seniors protect themselves from the spread of dental infection that happen when they move from independent living into group or community environments.

Beware the confusion between xylitol and other sweeteners with similar sounding names! Sorbitol is never recommended for oral health yet it is often mixed into products that claim to be made with xylitol. Sorbitol causes gastric discomfort in very small amounts. Studies show that even young children tolerate xylitol well and that introducing it slowly is best –starting with a few grams per day – divided into half -gram or one-gram amounts – ideally enjoyed after meals.

Xylitol gum and mints are familiar to many, but it is also possible to use xylitol effectively in its granular, crystalline form. A few crystals can be eaten directly from a spoon or sprinkled onto fruits as an ending to a meal. Crystals may be dissolved in water to sip during the day or night to help keep gums healthy, and this may be an ideal way for a denture wearer to enjoy some xylitol. Dissolving xylitol in water is not as effective as eating mints or gum if you want a method to strengthen your teeth or protect you from the build up of plaque or calculus .

Tooth Brushing Tip

We all know we need to brush our teeth to maintain our healthy pearly whites. But are you brushing properly for optimum gum health?

In this quick 1-minute video, I explain how to maximize your daily brushing for ultimate gum health!

Do You Have Periodontal Disease?

Statistics show that adults in the United States have more periodontal disease than was previously thought. About 50% of young adults 30 years old have some level of gum disease and are unaware of it, mainly because the condition is painless and usually does not cause bleeding or swelling.

Ask Your Dentist

gum_disease_illustrationPeriodontal disease is serious and you must act quickly if you have this condition in your gums because the inflammation and germs can damage body health. Ask your dentist or hygienist at annual visits if they notice any signs of this disease and if they are unsure, there is a test called My Perio Path that detects periodontal bacteria in the mouth.

Periodontal Treatment – Options

Your dentist may prescribe deep cleanings, laser treatments, gum grafting or antibiotics for periodontal disease. Before you start these serious and expensive treatments, you may want to try my 2 simple steps for periodontal disease, even before your treatments begin.  8 -10 weeks on my program can offer amazing improvement in gum health, and many people have discovered they no longer needed treatments.  Remember this is a transmissible disease and others in your household may need the same regimen.

Here are my 2 simple steps for healing Periodontal Disease:

1)   Develop a healthy mouth ecosystem

  1. Take xylitol at least 5 times a day – best after meals and drinks
  2. Use the Complete Mouth Care System

2)   Stimulate gum healing

  1. Massaging your gums twice daily with a clean toothbrush (read more about gum massage below)
  2. Focus on good nutrition (maybe with vitamin supplements and 30-60 days of digestive probiotics)

Gum Massage: Stimulate the circulation in your gums with a clean toothbrush and move the brush (positioned high on the gums) around every area of your mouth, on the inside and outside gums. If you have always used a soft brush – you may actually be more successful with a small medium brush softened in warm water. Our soft Mouth Watchers toothbrush can also give your gums a stimulating massage to help to heal them. When circulation flows in the gums, the blood delivers nutrients and cells to the area, to help heal gums from the inside out.


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Download our latest guidebooks for Ultimate Oral Health:

Zellies Xylitol Booklet Cover     Zellies CMCS Booklet


For more information on oral health and xylitol, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites: – learn more & order Zellies Xylitol Mints, Gum and Candies
Dr. – 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!

Oil Pulling – What the Science Says

Oil Pulling is sometimes called oil gargling and it is an old Ayurvedic method of cleaning the mouth that is said to have originated in India some 2,000 years ago. Currently there is excitement about oil pulling in online articles and blogs, and if you have bad breath or gum disease, oil pulling may be worth considering. This may also be useful if you suffer from chronic illness, asthma, arthritis or fatigue.

How to Oil PullOil Pulling

Sunflower, sesame or coconut oils are the oils most often used, and a small spoonful is swished around in the mouth for 15-20 minutes. Proponents suggest you do this first thing in the morning before eating, and then spit out the milky white liquid – being sure not to swallow it (since it is said to be full of bacteria and toxins). Be careful where you spit out the oil so that the liquid does not go down a drain or onto vegetation, since it will kill grass and flowers. After spitting, rinse your mouth with warm water and then brush your teeth. In essence oil pulling may “pull” disease bacteria away from gum pockets and from around teeth, thus reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth and the toxic burden they create, so eventually less toxins are absorbed by the body. Oil pulling may help improve mouth health for some people, but others should be cautious, since oil pulling can make certain mouth problems worse.

Oil Pulling – Scientific Studies

A review of the science on oil pulling shows most of the studies are from India and they compare the effectiveness of oil pulling with aggressive mouthwashes like chlorhexidine. These studies show oil pulling may be useful for gingivitis, bad breath and dry mouth, but there are no studies to show it is useful for tooth decay. There are many testimonials from people who say they have experienced healthier gums and fresher breath from using this method of mouth cleaning, and no reports of harm. Some researchers claim saliva interacts with fatty acids in the oils to activate detoxifying enzymes in saliva. Others suggest the oil emulsifies bacteria and loosens them from teeth, cleaning away any fungi at the same time. The most probable explanation is that certain oils contain lignans, which are compounds that have antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. Sesame oil has three lignans (sesamin, sesamolin and sesaminol) and contains high amounts of vitamin E, which could also contribute to the successes.

Oil Pulling Recommendations

To date there is not much science supporting oil pulling because the studies were too small, too short, or incomplete. This does not mean oil pulling is not useful, but be aware it does not appear to control cavities and is not recommended for very young children, especially those with early childhood caries (ECC). In addition anyone with gum recession or sensitivity should approach oil pulling with caution, since this technique may damage biofilm and pellicle proteins, essential components of a healthy mouth that govern mineralization and support gum health. For this reason oil pulling should probably be a short-term or periodic adjunct to oral care, recommended mainly for people fighting periodontal disease.

An Update on Oral Pulling

I wrote the above post just about 3 years ago. Since then there are more people trying oil pulling and some are finding their teeth become very sensitive and they experience gum recession. Watch the video below for my update:



Want to learn what I believe are the 3 most important things to know in order to transform your oral health? Click Here


Download our latest guidebooks for Ultimate Oral Health:

Zellies Xylitol Booklet Cover     Zellies CMCS Booklet


For more information on oral health and xylitol, please visit all of Dr. Ellie’s web-sites: – learn more & order Zellies Xylitol Mints, Gum and Candies
Dr. – 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!

Q&A with Dr. Ellie: Looking for Data

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


Hello Dr. Phillips,

I’ve purchased the parts to your Complete Mouth Care System and have presented the program to my husband.  He is interested in what type of data you have assembled to support the use of your system.  Do you have actual data – control and experimental groups, etc?  

Sincerely, S.C



Hi S. C,

The answer to your question is in my book Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye. In the book I describe how I became interested in finding a way to control dental disease. The book describes the science of cavities and gum disease and explains why people have dental problems. Cavities and gum disease don’t suddenly or mysteriously “happen”. It’s not natural for teeth to weaken, darken, die, or fall out. There are specific risk factors that make it more likely for people to develop cavities or gum disease, and there are ways to minimize, stop, and even reverse this damage, before it ruins your oral health.

Once you understand how risk factors impact teeth, you understand why the biochemistry of my system works. I discovered the effectiveness of this routine inContinue reading

To Floss or Not to Floss: Dr. Ellie’s interview with the BBC

Hear Dr. Ellie’s interview on the BBC World Service!  

BBC World Service

From the BBC World Service: Flossing is widely recommended, but for those of us who do not floss, we might take comfort from an increasing number of dentists who believe it is not the best way to prevent tooth decay or gum disease. Tooth decay is caused when bacteria in the mouth digest sugar, producing acid which eats away at the teeth. Gum disease on the other hand, is caused by a film of bacteria on the teeth known as plaque which irritates the gums. So does flossing make any difference? Dr Nigel Carter is chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation and Dr Ellie Phillips is a dentist in the US and author of Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye

Listen to the interview here:


Bleeding Gums at Dental Visits (BOP)

You may have been told to floss more, or perhaps you were on a never-ending series of treatments when you discovered Zellies. If you have followed the dosage recommendations and taken my advice, I am sure you (and your dentist) have noticed improvements.

For some people Zellies may be all they needed to “tip the balance” towards health. Other people have special challenges with their teeth and things (called risk factors) that put them at increased odds for cavities or gum disease. These people may need to take extra steps if they are to enjoy sustainable oral health and only need light cleanings and few treatments.

Certain oral health conditions are serious and important. Specific words must get your attention – so listen carefully if your dentist tells you that your gums bleed as he or she examines your mouth. This condition, known as “bleeding on probing” (BOP) was once believed to be about flossing. Now we know it is usually an antioxidant deficiency and poor circulation in the gums. Don’t ignore this problem, but there are better ways than flossing to remedy this problem.Continue reading