• My other life

    Date: 2010.11.11 | Category: teeth | Tags: ,,,,

    When I’m not home changing diapers and surfing the net for bargains, I work as a dental hygienist.  I am so fortunate that I have a job I have been able to continue working at part time since I’ve had my children.  Not to mention I love what I do!  It’s a blessing to have a break from my mommy life and to do something that helps people to be healthier and look better.

    I’ve been talking with some of my mom friends lately and have been shocked to discover that most of them (you!) still haven’t heard about xylitol.  I thought it was time to get the word out there- it can protect your teeth- and your kid’s teeth too!  Xylitol is a natural sweetener- typically extracted from Birch trees.  Research has proven that regular exposure to xylitol can reduce the risk of decay by up to 80%!  That’s significantly better than the results we see with fluoride.  We dental types have a catch phrase that we like to use, “Strive for Five”.  If you can get 5 exposures of xylitol a day you may never have a cavity again!  And there’s even better news.  If you use xylitol during the first two years of your child’s life they will be 70% less likely to develop cavities- and that’s with them never using the xylitol themselves!

    How does it work?  When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth also eat the sugars in the food you are consuming.  This spurs them into a 30 minute frenzy of activity, reproducing and producing the acids that erode your teeth.  If you introduce xylitol to your mouth after eating it interferes with that active phase because the bacteria can’t metabolize the xylitol.  Not only does the xylitol short circuit the immediate activity of the bacteria, it actually interferes with their metabolism to the point of preventing them from multiplying.  When you do this 5 times a day over an extended period of time it gradually changes the flora of your mouth.  Over time you will have less and less of the “bad” bacteria and more and more of the “good” bacteria.

    So how do you get 5 exposures to xylitol a day?  It’s actually not that hard.  You can replace your regular toothpaste with xylitol toothpaste for 2 exposures a day.  You can start chewing xylitol gum or candies after each meal.  You can rinse with a xylitol mouth rinse.  You can buy xylitol in bulk to sweeten your coffee or tea!

    What products contain xylitol?  If you google “xylitol products” you will find dozens to choose from.  I’ll list a few of my favorites and then give you some links that I’ve found to be helpful.  The important thing to keep in mind is that some products advertise that they contain xylitol, but they don’t include enough to be helpful.  You will need to become a label reader- if xylitol is listed as the first ingredient (or at least the first sweetener) then you’ve probably found a winner.  If sorbitol or mannitol is listed before xylitol you won’t get enough benefit to make it helpful.

    Over the Counter

    Toothpastes- Tom’s of Maine, Burts Bees, Rembrandt Sensitivity Whitening
    Mouth Rinse- Biotene
    Chewing Gum- Spry, Ice Breakers Ice Cubes, Altoids Sugar Free Cinnamon, Starbucks Sugar Free Peppermint

    Through Online Sources

    Toothpastes- Squigle (my favorite), Epic Dental, MI Paste
    Mouth Rinse- Epic Dental, Xlear
    Chewing Gum- Spry, Epic Dental
    Candies- Epic Dental

    Notice how many times I mentioned Epic Dental?   They are an amazing company and they produce an entire line of xylitol products.   One of the things I love about them (aside from their wide range of products and flavors) is that they offer a cavity free guarantee!  If you sign up for their program they will reimburse you for your last six months of product if you get a new cavity!  Not bad, huh?

    So here are some links to some of my favorite sites…
    http://www.xylitol.org/dental-benefits-of-xylitol
    http://www.dentist.net/xylitol-teeth.asp
    http://www.xylitolpreventscavities.com/products/xylitol-products.html
    http://www.epicdental.com/

    Please let me know if you have more questions!  I haven’t even mentioned how xylitol can reduce strep throat and ear infections and more…

    melody