Trisha O’Hehir, RDH spoke about a fairly new way that xylitol works to reduce infectious diseases in the mouth and airway at a recent dental conference. Trisha is one of the people who cleans your teeth when you go to the dentist. Some, hopefully few, dentists see preventive strategies like xylitol, as decreasing their business and hence their pocketbook. Those pressures aren’t there for the hygienists; they are interested in prevention and Trisha has led the way in her magazines. Starting with RDH Magazine she went off on her own with the magazines Perio Reports and Hygientown

She spoke about how xylitol effects biofilm–the safe houses bacteria build for themselves when the are successful in holding on to us. Frequently our biofilms are useful because they prevent harmful bacteria from find a place to hold on and multiply. But when harmful bacteria hold on and build safe houses we are in for trouble, which is the situation on our teeth..This is what Trisha said about this problem and how xylitol helps.

It’s so simple how it works. These molecules of natural sugar, xylitol, can get into a docking station on the outside of the bacteria and the bacteria can’t process it so it has to turn its own pump on and pump it out using up its own energy, but it’s not getting any energy from metabolizing this xylitol molecule. And at the same time the xylitol is taking up a docking station that’s a communication portal for that bacteria to talk to the one next door.

So suddenly their cell phone lines are down and they don’t think there are any other bacteria around. So they don’t produce the slime that holds them together. So suddenly with xylitol blocking this communication, the bacteria are just sliding right off the teeth. We don’t even have to do anything dramatic and drastic to kill them, they just slide off!

I was recently at a conference where I was discussing the same elements of biofilm and what is called the competitive inhibition whereby xylitol does its wonders. One of the attendees asked a very important question: “what does xylitol do to the good biofilms?” To tell the truth we don’t know since the concept of coping with biofilms with xylitol is so new. But we get some good news when we look at our largest good biofilm–the bacteria living in our GI tracts. First of all the healthiest–for us– bacteria are those eating vegetable stuff; they are mostly soil based organisms, and they can eat xylitol so they are promoted. As written elsewhere harmful bacteria make lots of propionic acid, which stimulates autistic like behavior, and xylitol and erythritol gets rid of themMany people who have taken lots of antibiotics grow lots of the harmful bacteria Clostridia, which is one of those making this acid, and which xylitol removes by the processes described above. Those looking at our paleolithic ancestors know what they ate and it included lots of fruits and vegetables with xylitol. Xylitol really is a safe and wonderful way to cope with many of our medical and dental problems.

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