I originally did this interview with Howard Farran back in early January 2017. Reposting for those who may have missed it!
Our oral health is at risk every time we travel. In this short video, I offer strategies that can help you to protect your teeth and gums while you travel.
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
- Bacteria Transfer
- Eating Causes Acidity
- Saliva is Your Best Friend
- The Mouth’s Nightmare
- Mouth Health Body Health
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.
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.
Xylitol 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 .
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.
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:
- Enamel loss (erosion)
- Tooth wear (abrasion)
- Bite problems with sensitivity at the gum line (abfraction)
- Darkening tooth color
Fight or Flight
Stress has an effect on our nervous system and produces a “fight or flight” response. These changes are useful for a short burst of strength and energy, but if the response is prolonged it can damage general and oral health.
This fear response alters the circulatory and nervous systems. Blood is shunted to heart and limb muscles, giving them improved efficiently to help us run from danger. Less useful parts of the body – like the digestive tract – get less blood and function less efficiently. Less minerals are absorbed into the blood from the digestive system, and less blood and minerals reach saliva-producing glands.
Oral Health Problems
Stress results is less saliva and saliva with less minerals, which is consequently more acidic. Teeth lose their normal saliva protection and their ability to repair and re-mineralize. Teeth can even be damaged by the acidic saliva as it sucks minerals from enamel, causing additional weakness and porosity.
Lack of protection leaves teeth to dissolve in acidic drinks or acid reflux (erosion). Teeth can wear away during toothbrushing or if a patient grinds their teeth (abrasion). Fragments of weak enamel can fracture at the gum line leaving a sensitive groove (abfraction).
What Can You Do?
All these problems stem from acidic saliva and the loss of normal tooth protection. Don’t try to “fix” the symptoms of sensitivity, weakness or erosion with a sensitive toothpaste or a plastic bite guard! First consider any reasons for chronic stress and check your diet, consider supplements, digestive probiotics, and how to calm your body and improve digestive health.
Tips for Protecting Teeth
1. Use xylitol mints and gum throughout the day to protect teeth from acidic damage.
2. Consider Zellie’s and my Complete Mouth Care System to strengthen enamel and reverse problems of sensitivity, porosity, and cavities, by naturally re-mineralizing enamel.
Recent studies suggest an ounce of milled flaxseed in our daily diet for six months can be beneficial to health. Flaxseed has high levels of Omega-3s and studies show it reduces blood pressure, especially for patients with hypertension. It also appears flax seed can neutralize age-associated inflammation in the body. Hard to believe, but maybe an ounce of flaxseed could save your life!
It’s equally difficult to imagine half an ounce (0.3 oz to be exact) of xylitol for six months can eliminate plaque on teeth, prevent the transmission of cavity-bacteria from one generation to the next, and stop gum disease and cavities. These problems seem too big and the solution too small and easy!
The most effective time to enjoy xylitol is immediately after meals to prevent the damage that normally happens after eating or drinking. Acidity from eating grows plaque and damages teeth. Xylitol instantly makes the mouth alkaline, makes plaque less sticky, and helps strengthen teeth.
Xylitol provides a simple option for a huge health problem. Why not use xylitol for 6 months and see how it works for you and your family?
Potent Antihypertensive Action of Dietary Flaxseed in Hypertensive Patients
Dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure in dyslipidaemic patients
Mutans Streptococci Dose Response to Xylitol Chewing Gum
I’ve been wanting to make educational videos for a long time, but for various reasons it has been a difficult task. However, I think I’ve finally conquered the hurdles and I hope to share with you a series of videos to go along with my blog posts. The topics will be varied, and I’d love to hear your ideas for video topics (please post in the comments below).
As you know, I LOVE xylitol! I started my company Zellie’s because of how much I love xylitol. Xylitol is great for so many reasons, but for improved oral health, there are specific times when you want to be eating it. In this short video, I list 3 of the ways xylitol can help improve oral health and when it is the ideal time to use xylitol for healthier teeth.