Why Everyone Should Consider having a 3-D X-Ray

Can anyone argue that seeing the whole picture is critical in knowing what you’re up against?

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When it comes to your health, every year it is recommended having x-rays so the dentist and hygienist can look for any cavities and gum disease.

While the yearly 2-D x-rays are very helpful, they miss a lot of other problems that may be “lurking” below the surface.

As new research continues to link bacteria, viruses, and fungi from the mouth to diseases in the rest of the body, it would be very wise to have a 3-D x-ray done.  These pathogens reside in the bone where a tooth has been extracted, at the end of an abcessed tooth, at the end of a dead or root canaled tooth, and in the sinuses.  A three dimensional look of the head and neck and provides valuable information that can’t be seen any other way.

What is a 3-D x-ray?  The 3-D x-ray, or Dental cone beam computed tomography (CT), is a special type of x-ray equipment used  to produce three dimensional (3-D) images of your teeth, nerve pathways, and bone in a single scan.

So what is the 3-D x-ray doing?  It is taking pictures in one millimeter slices of hard tissue of the head and neck. The computer software then uses the data to create a three dimensional view that can be explored very closely.

What are the images of 3-D x-rays used for?  They can be used to look for pockets of infection around teeth, bone, and in the sinuses, look for fractures in teeth and bone, observe if there’s plaque in the carotid arteries, pinpoint problems in the jaw joint (tmj), investigate the airways of the nose and throat for blockages, and then they are also invaluable in the planning and placing of dental implants.

It’s pretty sobering to see the difference between 2-D x-rays and 3-D x-rays.

Here is a 2-D x-ray taken that shows a dark spot right at the end of the middle tooth, which typically is a pocket of infection or an abcess:

abcess

Here is the same area of the mouth viewed with the help of a 3-D xray:

abcess 2

The dark spot at the end of the root can now be seen as being very large and possibly involves three teeth instead of just one.

I know for myself that 3-D x-rays are better for detecting disease and infections in the teeth and bones, I see this every day in the dental office.  The 2-D x-rays are great for seeing bone levels and cavities between teeth.  Research shows this to be true.

Is the 3-D x-ray safe?  Will it expose me to a lot of radiation?

A typical CT scan that a medical doctor will use is looking at tissue and bone and is more penetrating than a dental cone beam or 3-D CT scan, therefore exposing you to more radiation, up to ten times more.  The dental 3-D x-ray is not as penetrating, it only penetrates hard tissues and bone–you don’t see tissue.  Here is information on CT x-ray exposure.

Of course, you will need to decide for yourself if it is wise to have a 3-D x-ray taken.  Generally in my office we recommend anyone over thirty years, especially those who have had any extracted teeth (like wisdom teeth), anyone who has had any root canals done or has been told they need a root canal or have a “dead” tooth, anyone considering investing in a new crown on a tooth, and anyone who is taking or will be taking any bone altering medications (bisphosphonates especially).

The 3-D x-ray is still considered elective and is not covered by most dental benefit programs, it will cost anywhere from $200-$500, but that is still much less than medical CT’s or MRI’s.

Hopefully you can see the value of getting a 3-D x-ray so that you can have the peace of mind that all is well in the unexplored reaches of your mouth!

Laser Therapy

Periodontal disease is a growing epidemic in the adult population. A 2013 CDC report provided the following data related to prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S.: 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal Disease increases with age, 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.

I have had advanced training in periodontal disease–it’s diagnosis, treatment, and prevention–and would have to say that with my trained eye it’s closer to 80% of adults who have this disease.

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that causes the body to dissolve the bone around the teeth;  the body can’t get rid of the bacteria that have colonized on the tooth surface, so it’s only option is to get rid of the teeth, hence, dissolve the bone and push out the whole tooth.  These pesky bacteria causing the body to do this are resistant to anibacterials, antibiotics, and mechanical removal of them is difficult.  However, they do have weaknesesses, and that is that they don’t like oxygen and light.  In fact, they are very susceptible and absorb the 940nm infared laser light, which is the diode laser I use in the dental office.laser-160991_1280

The cells of the body, on the other hand, benefit from the infared light of a laser.  The laser gives a burst of light, which makes the cells energized.  The laser actually causes them to produce more ATP, which is like adding more wood to a fire, causing the cells to burn brighter and hotter than they did before.  This is really helpful when it comes to faster and better healing.

I have had the great opportunity to have a laser to supplement periodontal therapy and have found it to do exactly this–to accentuate what treatment I do and accelerate the healing.

I have had patients ask about laser treatment, what it is that I do, what it does to them, and if it hurts, so I have filmed videos demonstrating periodontal laser procedures.

This first video is showing laser bacterial reduction at the gumline.  Before doing any treatment below the gumline, it’s a good idea to kill the bacteria hanging around the gum surface so they aren’t pushed into the tissue.  The bacteria at and just below the gums are vaporized because of the heat and light of the laser.  I don’t even touch the tissue, just travel around the gumline of the whole mouth.  Patients will only feel a slight bit of warmth:

 

Laser bacterial reduction done at the gumline can benefit anyone and will prevent colonization of bacteria for 4-6 weeks.

This second video is laser bacterial reduction below the gumline.  It is usually done after mechanical removal of the bacterial colonies around the teeth.  I will walk the tiny laser filament around the teeth below the gums, especially focusing on the hard to reach areas between the teeth.  Patients will feel a slight bit of warmth and the tiny tip being moved from tooth to tooth but are not in any discomfort:

 

 

Laser curretage is a procedure that may also be done to trim off diseased tissue. If the diseased tissue is not trimmed it takes longer to heal, or may not completely heal, especially if there is deeper bone loss.  This procedure is not always used, only with advanced disease.  It is more comfortable using some form of anesthetic during this procedure as you are using a higher heat setting, but right afterwards there is little pain as the laser seals the lymph and blood vessels.

Not only is the laser helpful with gum disease and bacteria removal around the tissue, but the laser has many other uses as well and include:

Whitening teeth

Canker sore treatment

Cold sore treatment

Desensitize teeth

Muscle and joint pain reduction

I hope you can see the benefit of lasers and why they are so helpful in a hygienist’s hands.

Dental Emergencies

I just created this document for an emergency preparedness fair and thought I would share:

Dental Emergencies

Dental First Aid

Tooth Sensitivity

Signs/symptioms:

  • tooth is sensitive to cold

  • tooth may be sensitive to sweets

  • rubbing/scraping a fingernail on the side causes pain

Treatment:

  • put pea sized amount of sensitive toothpaste like Sensodyne on finger, rub vigorously on the side of the sensitive tooth for 20 seconds, repeat daily until sensitivity goes away.

  • If sensitivity doesn’t go away after one week, CALL THE DENTIST

Tooth Abcess

Signs/symptoms:

  • tooth is sensitive to hot

  • throbbing

  • pressure

  • swelling

  • fever/swollen glands

Treatment:

  • CALL THE DENTIST

  • rub tissue around sore tooth with clove oil

  • place a moist warm black tea bag in mouth around sore tooth and bite gently, leave in for 15-20 minutes

  • place cold compress on cheek for 15 minutes

  • take anti-inflammatory med, like Ibuprophen

  • take 1 T. oil (coconut, olive, grapeseed, etc.) and swish in mouth for 20 minutes

Teething

Sign/symptom:

  • drooling

  • fever

  • irritability

  • chewing on things

  • red swollen gums

Treatment:

  • give them cold things to gnaw on (teething ring that’s been in the freezer, otter pop, gogurt, etc.)

  • put 1 drop lavender or Roman Chamomile oil on finger and rub on sore gums; repeat as needed

  • give children’s Motrin or Tylenol, especially if a fever

Broken or chipped tooth

Treatment:

  • save the pieces that chipped and rinse them off.

  • rinse out mouth using warm water.

  • Stop any bleeding by applying or biting on gauze.

  • apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth near the chipped tooth if you’re experiencing any swelling.

  • Put super glue on the area that was chipped if getting extreme sensitivity.

  • CALL THE DENTIST

Orthodontic Wire

Treatment:

  • Put parafen wax or chewing gum on the end of the wire

  • bend the wire down with needle nose pliers so it doesn’t poke into the cheek

  • use a fingernail file to smooth off the end of the wire

  • DO NOT TRY TO CLIP WIRE, the chance of cutting the cheek or lip is very high

  • CALL THE DENTIST

Knocked Out Tooth

Treatment:

  • Hold the tooth by the crown (the part that’s exposed in the mouth) and not the root.

  • Do not scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue fragments, rinse gently only if needed

  • If at all possible and without forcing it into place, try to put the tooth back into place, making sure it’s facing the right way.

  • If you can’t reinsert the tooth, place the knocked-out tooth in a cup of water with a pinch of salt or in a container of milk.

  • If tooth is not completely knocked-out, leave where it’s at and get professional help.

  • CALL THE DENTIST IMMEDIATELY

Lost Crown

  • Dab a Q-tip into clove oil and rub on area of lost filling or crown if sensitive

  • Put sugarless chewing gum in space of lost filling

  • for a lost crown, place a dab of toothpaste or vaseline inside the crown and put back into mouth. Make sure it’s on the right way, and gently bite down to secure.

  • CALL THE DENTIST

Toothache

Treatment:

  • floss between teeth to see if any food is caught

  • rinse with salt/water (8 oz. Glass warm water + 1 t. salt)

  • apply clove oil on gum next to tooth; rub oil on floss and floss between the teeth

  • take Ibuprophen as needed for pain, do not put aspirin in the mouth next to the tooth

  • If persists more than 48 hours, CALL THE DENTIST

Complications after tooth pulled

Treatment:

  • if bleeding persists, apply direct pressure with gauze until it stops

  • do not rinse or spit, especially don’t rinse with Listerine or any mouthwash

  • apply clove oil with Q-tip or put a drop directly on extraction site

  • bite on a warm, moist black tea bag on extraction site

  • Take Ibuprophen as needed for pain

  • If pain or bleeding persist more than 48 hours, CALL THE DENTIST

Mudrow Family Dental/Dr. Kevin Mudrow

333 S. Woodruff

Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401

(208) 524-2036

 

The Truth About Root Canals

I have a lot to explain about root canals and will put on information and research as I can find it.  My experience with root canals?  They are an option to get a tooth out of pain until something else can be figured out.  But in no way would I recommend that they be a permanent solution.  In fact, I would recommend having a tooth extracted before doing a root canal if that’s a possibility.  Why?

Your teeth are a living, vibrant part of your body.  They have a blood supply for energy, a nerve supply to connect them to the rest of the body, they have tubes for fluid to go in and out of them and are constantly in a state of flux, dealing with all that you throw at them with biting, chewing, and talking.  When a tooth becomes infected, whether it’s from a deep cavity, some sort of trauma, or from clenching or grinding, an abcess is your body’s way to get rid of a tooth gone bad.  Root canals are done by dentists to preserve and basically mummify the tooth in the mouth, removing the blood supply and the nerve so it doesn’t hurt anymore.  While the pain may be gone, it doesn’t mean the problem is gone.

Some of the concerns with root canals are explained by Dr. Mercola in the following video:

I see people every day who have root canals.  When a patient has a root canal, we recommend doing a CT or 3D x-ray to examine the tooth.  This is different than the normal x-rays you usually have in the dental office to look for cavities; the CT gives a 3-dimensional look at the teeth and all the way around the root–it’s the only way to truly see everything.  In almost every CT scan of a root canal tooth, there is infection in the bone–sometimes HUGE infection.  Seriously.  That is like having an open pussy sore on your hand all the time that never goes away.  Just because it’s something you can’t see doesn’t mean it’s not there.   When these root canal teeth are extracted, they often have a big sac of infection at the root tip, which is prime breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria, fungus, and viruses.  You can imagine what that does to your body, your immune system is constantly at war.

While I do not have a lot here to show you and go on yet, just trust me.  I see this every day.  You can’t explain why you’re getting sick all the time?  You have an inflammatory condition whose origin is unexplainable?  You better take a look in your mouth.

 

Are your gums flab or fab?

When meeting someone new, what is the first thing you notice about them?  Is it their clothes, their hair, the way they stand, their cellphone?  I think it goes without saying that the two things people notice when meeting someone for the first time are usually their eyes and their mouth, namely, their teeth.   ‘

beautiful-1274361_1920.jpgHaving a beautiful smile is pretty important, it makes you look good and feel good.  When people think of having a beautiful smile, they tend to think of just the teeth–keeping them white, having them straight, keeping them clean.  What many people don’t realize is that they wouldn’t have any teeth at all without a good foundation.

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Teeth are supported in the mouth by fibers and ligaments, similar to elastic bands and trampoline springs.  trammpolin-2635260_1920.jpgThese fibers and bands attach to the bone and gums around each tooth.  If there’s no foundation of bone and gums then there’s nothing for the teeth to be attached to and they will fall out.  This is usually because of a disease in the mouth called periodontal disease.

So to me, a beautiful smile is not only those dashing teeth, but also healthy gums and bone.

 

If the gums and bone aren’t in good health, then the teeth, regardless of how stunning they are, will not stay in the mouth for very long.

How many of you worry about your figure?

Are you exercising daily?  Do you diet to drop extra weight?  Do you watch what you eat?  You can tell when you are in good shape just by pulling up your shirt and looking at the abs and the presence or absence of that six-pack.

 

That’s exactly the way your gums are.  Your gums can either be fab or flab.  When gums are healthy, they are tight, they are stippled like those sculpted abdominal muscles.  They are not swollen, they do not bleed, they are not flabby.  Why does that matter?  Because of several things:

In all my years as a dental hygienist I have only seen a handful of people who have really healthy gums.  Now to me, that is really scary, because if gums are a crystal ball to total body health, then they are telling me that most people are not in good health.

How can you go from flab to fab?

When you are trying to improve your figure, what is it that you do?  Well, you will exercise!  Daily lifting weights, running, jumping, all lead to tighter and more firm muscles.

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That’s the same thing you want to do with your gums.  They need some “exercise” every day to make them tighter and more firm.  This exercise should include several of the following:

 

 

I have found the that the best home care tools for firm, healthy gums are a sonic toothbrush and and a waterpik.  The others are helpful but don’t produce as great of results.

When I was younger I told myself that if I just exercised more, I could eat those five cookies and still maintain my trim figure.  Wrong!  If you’ve ever thought this way you know it doesn’t work.  Exercising alone does not keep you in good shape.

What else do you need to do to prevent flab?

You need to eat better!  The gums are responsive to good nutrition just like your body.  The following are some great guidelines to go from flab to fab in your gums, and also your body:

  • cut out junk food (chips, fries, etc.)
  • cut out soda pop
  • cut out sugar
  • reduce carbohydrates (notice I didn’t say “none”)
  • eat low glycemic foods
  • increase proteins
  • increase nutrient dense rich food (vegetables, whole grains,etc.)
  • increase antioxidants (seeds, berries)
  • increase healthy fats (olive oil, avacados, nuts, coconut oil, etc)
  • drink more water

Your gums are especially sensitive to nutrition. Bad eating habits may not show up in your figure for a while, but they will in your gums in the form of swelling, bleeding, and puffiness.  This sets you on the path of disease.

 

 

 

Dry Mouth Anyone?

As I am writing this blog post I can hear my husband watching”The Great British Baking Show” in the other room.  I can hear the judges critiquing pies that the contestants have made and hear all sorts of descriptive words to describe the perfect pie–light, flaky crust, tall columns, fluted edges, sweet, flavorful, moist interior…..it’s really making me hungry!apple-pie-80102_1920.jpg

It got me thinking what descriptive words would be used to describe the perfect mouth.  Words like full lips, sparkly white straight teeth, pink gums, cymmetrical and well-proportioned arch, moist interior, all these come to mind.

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I have seen a lot of beautiful mouths in my years as a hygienist.  We now have the opportunity to create more pleasant-looking mouths than ever, whether it’s through braces, bleaching, new crowns, veneers, or fillings.  I have seen people spend thousands of dollars on all of these procedures to get what they want.  But I have also seen expensively-created fantastic-looking mouths go from great health……

to destruction……cervical caries

in a matter of months because of one thing…

dry mouth.

If you haven’t noticed, our mouths are designed to be moist all of the time. child-428377_1920.jpg Babies start out life drooling a lot, which can be a bit annoying, so thank goodness they’re so darn cute and we don’t mind it.  While they do get over the drooling, the constant moisture in their mouths still remains necessary for good health.

 

To understand why our mouths need moisture, let’s review a few key concepts.

FIRST, THE ANATOMY

There are multiple glands all around the interior of the mouth that produce liquid.  The liquid, or saliva, is important for lots of things, like chewing, swallowing, speaking, and digestion.   Have you every tried swallowing when you’ve eaten a whole bunch of saltine crackers?  You know what I’m talking about.

battlements-1239283_1920For our teeth, saliva is like a moat on the outside of a castle….it creates a barrier and protects them from unwanted invaders like microbes and acids.  It also rebuilds the teeth when they get dissolved, which prevents cavities.

When saliva is not present in the mouth, when glands quit producing liquid, then it’s a big, big problem.  Our mouths are meant to be a garden of lush wetness, and when there’s no saliva, teeth struggle to stay healthy. desert-landscape-1081829_1920.jpg

Not sure if you have a dry mouth?  Here are some clues that your mouth is dry:

  1. Stick out your tongue and look in a mirror.  This is a healthy tongue–pink and moist.  If your healthy tonguetongue doesn’t look like this, if there are any cracks on your tongue, if it is really red, if it has splotchy spots, if it has white, brown, or black on top, if it looks like leather, you may have a dry mouth.

 

      2.  Look at your lips.  Lips should be smooth and soft like this.mouth-2160205_1920.jpg

Are your lips dry? Is the skin peeling? Are they really red around the edges?  Are there cracks in the corners of your mouth? Smack your lips together.  Do your lips stick to each other when pulled apart?  If so, you may have dry mouth.

    3.  Try and spit.  Suck your cheeks in and try and make enough saliva to spit.  If you can’t get any water to form, you may have a dry mouth.fountain-2369076_1920

SECOND, THE CAUSE

What causes dry mouth?  The answer to that question is as varied as can be.  Medications are surely the biggest factor, followed next by smoking, radiation therapy, and cancer therapy.  But as I talked to Anne Guignon, a national dental hygiene speaker, at the April 2017 Utah Dental Meeting, she mentioned that dry mouth is becoming a scary epidemic because of the increase in the following mouth drying factors:

  • snacks and convenience foods that are high in sodium, which suck out moisture
  • sodas, which are diuretics (which means they makes your body get rid of water)
  • caffeine, which puts you into a state of high alert, causing decreased saliva flow
  • alcohol/alcohol mouthwashes, which dry out the tissues in the mouth
  • stress, which causes more rapid breathing, puts you in “fight or flight,” and decreases saliva flow
  • allergies, which can cause nasal blockages and more breathing through the mouth

Dr. Marilyn K. Jones, a Biological dentist in Houston, also lists the following as being causes of dry mouth:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Change in hormonal balance (Menopause)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome (expanded issues related to reduced overall mucous flow including dry eyes and mouth)
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and auto-immune diseases, or diseases that affect the immune systems response, such as HIV/AIDS
  • Oral Thrush or Intestinal Candida
  • Snoring

THIRD, THE CURE

Is there any cure for dry mouth?  There is no ONE CURE for dry mouth.  A cure may not be warranted anyway, it may just be a lifestyle adjustment needed.  If you have a dry mouth the first thing you should do is evaluate your lifestyle and eliminate as many of the before-mentioned risk factors as possible.  For example, if you’re on a lot of medications, talk to your doctor about reducing or eliminating them.  Second would be to increase your water intake more every day.  A good rule of thumb is take half of your body weight and drink that amount of water in ounces a day.

If you have eliminated as many risk factors as possible and your mouth is still dry, then here are some suggestions to relieve and perhaps remedy dry mouth:

  • suck on xylitol sweetened mints or candies–the sucking motion stimulates your glands and also reduces acids around the teeth and the risk of getting cavities.
  • chew some xylitol sweetened gum.  The chewing motion stimulates the glands to produce more saliva.
  • chew watery hard veggies like celery to naturally hydrate the mouth and stimulate saliva production, especially around meal time.
  • use a supplement like PMG Parotid daily with each meal to stimulate the saliva glands.
  • use a saliva substitute several times a day to keep the mouth feeling moist.
  • have acupuncture done on your glands to stimulate salivary production.  Studies show that this has been effective,  though I would only go to someone I trust knows what they’re doing.
  • increase Vitamin E and Vitamin C supplementation.  I have been impressed with a pre-biotic toothpaste called Revitin that has these two antioxidants in it.
  • get an over the counter nightguard for dry mouth at night.
  • use over the counter dental products made for dry mouth to moisturize the mouth.
  • do oil pulling.  Put 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in the mouth. let it melt on your tongue, and swish around the mouth for 20 minutes daily, spitting the oil in the garbage when done.

There are many other natural remedies that claim to reduce dry mouth available online but these are the suggestions I have studied and have used myself.  Again, in helping with dry mouth I would suggest:

  1. eliminate any risk factors

  2. try dry mouth remedies, one at a time, to find what works for you

drip-921067_1920.jpgIn regards to dry mouth the bottom line is that in order to protect what you have in your mouth, you HAVE to have saliva.  It has to be wet.  It needs to be moist.

It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect most radiant, beautiful smile in the world…….pretty-girl-2110243_1920.jpg if it’s not kept moist, it will surely corrode over time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sweet Truth about Xylitol

What is xylitol?  

Xylitol is a sweetener, like sugar,  made from from the fibrous parts of plants, mostly the bark of birch trees and corn cobs.

Xylitol is said to be a “natural” sweetener, but in reality, it has been highly processed in order to made it consumable for the human body–you wouldn’t normally be able to digest tree bark and corn cobs like a cow can.  Xylose IS a natural sweetener found in fruits and vegetables but it is not xylitol.  raspberries-2497663_1920.jpg

What is the big deal about xylitol?

Xylitol can have a pretty significant effect on your mouth.  Decay is a disease caused from bacteria that nestle around the teeth in a sticky goo called biofilm.  The bacteria are fed and protect themselves with the help of sugar, and then after they digest the sugar they produce “bacterial poop” or acid, that stays around the teeth.  This acid is what will corrode your teeth and make holes. The sugar also helps the bacteria make their protective biofilm of polysaccharides.  xylitol chart

Is xylitol effective?

Xylitol is especially effective against the cavity forming bacteria called S. Mutans because of their love for sugar. It has no effect on the bacteria that cause gum disease but it is effective against the biofilm that they live in.  bacteria-62993_1920.jpgBecause xylitol is super sweet, the cavity causing bacteria in your mouth will be attracted to it and eat it.  But the bacteria cannot digest it and they die.  When the bacteria die, they do not make any poop.  And when there’s no usable sugar to regenerate their biofilm to protect themselves, the biofilm cannot be maintained and will disintigrate.  When there’s no biofilm, there is no acid sitting around the teeth.  This will reduce the chance of getting cavities and also gum disease.

graffiti-746031_1920.jpgXylitol is also very effective in helping prevent cavities because it increases the saliva, or spit in your mouth.  When you chew, your saliva increases, so if you chew xylitol sweetened gum, your body produces more saliva.   This helps protect your teeth against acids.

What type of products have xylitol in them that can help your mouth? 

There are a dozens of xylitol products available.  xylitol productsThere are all sorts of gum, mints, lozenges, toothpastes, vitamins, mouthwashes, gels, candies, and sprays.  Check the ingredients list and make sure that xylitol is first on the label and not any other sweetner like saccharin and aspertame.  Most gums in the grocery store have a combination of sweeteners and are not recommended.  To get products that are sweetened only with xylitol you may have to go to a health food store or purchase online. Carefully weigh what the ingredients are and what would be right for you.

Xylitol has also been used to prevent bacterial ear infections and there are many products available for this.  It is said that xylitol makes things “slicky” and not “sticky” so bacteria cannot attach to mucous membranes. I have used Xlear nose spray to prevent getting sick and it has been quite effective though over-use has really bothered my eyes.spry.PNG

What is the recommended dosage of xylitol to be effective?

For dental care and the prevention of cavities, it is recommended for adults to have 8-10 grams or 8-10 doses of xylitol over the course of a day.  Young children should have 3-8 grams or 3-8 doses a day. xylitol dosagesOne large dosage once a day is not as effective as having small dosages all throughout the day, keeping the saliva constantly replenished with xylitol.  For example, each piece of xylitol gum has between .84-1.4 grams of xylitol in it, so in order to get 8-10 grams of xylitol, you would need to eat 6-10 pieces of gum a day, so one or two after you have something to eat.  But if you use xylitol toothpaste or mouth rinse, or you ate a xylitol candy, or sucked on a lozenge, that would also give you another dosage.

Is xylitol safe?

There is a bit of a controversy regarding xylitol.  First of all, some xylitol is made from GMO corn cobs.  Second, the process of manufacturing xylitol includes hydrogenation and the use of nickel, a metal infamous for allergic reactions.  Third, xylitol can cause stomach and digestive problems.  Fourth, destroying bacteria in the mouth can disrupt the body’s natural balance of bacteria.  Fifth,  there is no long term research showing that it is completely safe.  And sixth, xylitol in large dosages (50-100 g) can kill dogs.

xylitol sweetener.PNGWhen considering using xylitol, it is important to do research and decide if it is best for you.  Now, as for myself, I cannot eat xylitol as a sweetener in my food, it really upsets my digestive system.  Like I said above, I have used it in preventative ways.  Because it has some benefits for your health does not mean that you need a lot of it.  Small exposures to xylitol over the course of a day can be helpful in the mouth, but excessive amounts can be harmful.

If you choose to use xylitol products, my basic reccomendations are as follows:

  • make sure that the xylitol products you buy are made from non-GMO corn or birch bark.  Canada prides itself on having the largest supply of xylitol made from birch bark.
  • Check the ingredients label and make sure that xylitol is at the top of the list and that there are no other sweeteners in it.
  • To use xylitol to reduce bacteria in the mouth it needs to be used consistently throughout the day.   Having 8-10 g a day is recommended for adults, or 8-10 doses, and 3-8 g for young children, and can be obtained in toothpaste, mouthrinse, gum, candies, etc.
  • If you have any reactions to xylitol, discontinue using it.  This may include digestive problems, rashes, headaches, and eye irritations.
  • Keep xylitol products away from dogs at all times.  The small amounts of xylitol in a piece of gum may only make them sick and but large doses can kill.