Dr. Peldyak explains the financial practicality of using xylitol. Even though xylitol typically is more expensive than table sugars, it serves as inexpensive insurance for your teeth, helping you to avoid costly dental bills. Starting children on xylitol early means that when their teeth come in, they will break through into a mouth that is a clean environment. This makes for less instances of childhood cavities and caries.
How much does it cost? That’s another big factor. I like to think of it as you’re not adding something, you’re just exchanging it. You’re not buying products that you don’t already use, you’re just using more effective products. Reach down into the bottom of your goodie bag and you’ll find a solid gold coin. (laughs). Someone in the back is saying someone didn’t get a solid gold coin? Well in that case talk to Dr. Penti Allenand he’ll be talking about where your gold is later today.
Tooth eruption time mentioned before, this is a great opportunity to establish long term protection. If we can use xylitol at these critical moments of the time the teeth are erupting. I believe this is we’re well be having the best effect from a public health stand point, and from our children’s stand point. This is really going to be an important area for you to consider, these periods of tooth eruptions. Xylitol does two things:
It enhances the initial mineralization. That tooth is just coming into the mouth. The enamel is not fully developed, and it blocks that initial strep mutans colonization. It blocks the acid germs from latching onto that tooth right away. And if we can prevent that initial colonization, we have a better chance at not having colonization later on.
Especially this early child here caries a problem, it’s a tragedy. Some of these can easily become hospital cases that are very expensive and very dangerous, and it shouldn’t happen. We like to have mom’s using xylitol, xylitol chewing gum and the babies getting a xylitol gel.
Mixed dentition is a time when baby teeth are coming out and permanent teeth are coming in. That’s a great time to be using xylitol. We should start before the first permanent are coming in so the teeth are erupting into a clean environment. Here’s a typical American child. She eats whatever she wants whenever she wants . . . and that’s the result, that’s what you see on the teeth, these heavy sugar plaques. But even a short period of time using xylitol, the plaque becomes very loose and it’s easy to brush off.
Over here for example, a brace. Very difficult to maintain good oral hygiene when the braces are on. See the gums are getting very red and puffy. But again, a short period of time – two weeks of xylitol use – and already you can see the gums tightening up, looking much healthier.
Periodontics, we’re gonna talk about this a little bit also. We’ve already mentioned it. Xylitol helps, we really need more study in this area but I’ve seen it. I have seen it in my own practice that Xylitol helps the periodontal situation. Now, a lot of dental interests in xylitol in children’s teeth. We’ve kinda been ignoring the other end of the spectrum. The mature generation has exposed root surfaces, and they can’t to take as good care of their teeth. They need xylitol also.
Dry mouth—here’s a list, a partial list of prescription medication that have dry mouth as a side effect. And it’s not just uncomfortable, but it’s very dangerous for the teeth. Take out your little mill board and originally what I had in mind was a piece of sandpaper that you would lick with your tongue repeatedly, and I was told that was not a good idea. So instead we have these little—you can just rub that on the inside of your thumb, and get some idea of what it’s like to have dry mouth. You try to live with that and chew with that. And, it’s miserable, and it’s very dangerous for the teeth. I know I’ve experienced it myself, and it’s something you want to avoid. Xylitol, we believe, can help these situations.
Special needs situations people, who have digital dexterity problems, it’s hard for them to brush their teeth. Again, when I was in the hospital, I was using Xylitol because I had no use for regular tooth paste that you have to brush and expectorate and so forth. But the xylitol is always there, it’s always handy, I had the gel that’s very refreshing to squirt it in as often as you need it.
Conclusions: our patient management goals in our office are a low bacterial counts, arrest of the caries process, and patient maintains excellent oral hygiene and satisfactory nutritional intake. Xylitol, we see it as an essential adjunct that’s complimentary; it doesn’t eliminate brushing, flossing. But it’s complimentary to other oral hygiene procedures. Xylitol is underutilized. Obviously, we’re here, we’re learning about it. How do we get the word out to everybody else? Recommendations for xylitol use can be individualized to individual patient needs.
Other points to remember: Xylitol tastes good, like sugar. Again, if it weren’t as identical almost in taste and functionality to sugar, we wouldn’t have as much interest in it. For instance there’s a four carbon Polyol that Dr. Makinen mentioned, erythritol. It is very similar to xylitol, but it doesn’t taste as good. So that’s an important point. If it doesn’t taste good, you’re not gonna use it. It won’t be as good as xylitol. It is lower calorie, may be helpful in weight control, lower glycemic, steady energy, can replace all or part of sugar in a product. That just depends on the application. Prevents tooth decay, ear infection which may help reduce antibiotic use. Improves calcium absorption. May even improve gut function in our constipated society. We could probably use a little bit of xylitol. But too much, too soon when you’re not used to it? Ok, you could have a laxative effect from it. But give it a little bit of time. Just small amounts of xylitol in these dental products is not going to cause problems.
Remember that dental health is extremely important. This should be a wakeup call for us. But don’t wake up like this fellow with his morning mouth; let’s use xylitol. Don’t take any unnecessary chances. Xylitol is inexpensive insurance for your teeth. And this is what it’s all about: healthy, happy, smiling young faces. We love to see that. So thank you very much.