X-ray showing from a young patient with holes in his teeth.

X-ray showing a young patient with cavities in his primary teeth. (click on x-ray to enlarge)

Have you ever been in one of those situations where you come up with a great answer, but it’s too late?  While at Yankee Dental Convention in Boston this year, I found the answer to a question that was given to me earlier this year. When asked, I didn’t have a great answer.  But if the question ever comes up again, I hope I will have more to share on the topic.

The question that was asked was derived from the x-ray shown.  The young mother is a very articulate, educated women who is very protective of her child. The mother was very much against x-rays, but when explained that we would be unable to do a filling on a permanent tooth without x-rays, she relented, ONE x-ray only.

On the x-ray, I see five cavities in his baby teeth, and I can see that the enamel is becoming compromised on 2 of the permanent teeth.

The mother then asked what could she do differently to prevent these holes.  We discussed sugary, junk foods, and we discussed snacking in-between meals.  We discussed brushing, flossing, and fluoride.  I went on to inform her why we were big fans of fluoride.

Mom assured me that she was doing all that we had suggested.  She informed me that she did NOT believe in fluoride, and that was NEVER going to happen.  She then asked what else we could recommend.

Fluoride alternatives.

I think what mom was asking for was a fluoride alternative.  When she asked the question, I didn’t have an answer.  While at Yankee Dental 2014, I heard from numerous sources on the benefits of xylitol, press here to see how it works.  I love it – we now have something else that we can add to our arsenal to fight tooth decay.

For example, we work with people who for various reasons are put on medications that dry out their saliva and struggle with dry mouth.  Have you ever seen the list of medications that cause dry mouth?  We googled medications that cause dry mouth, and we found this.  The list is huge.  Unfortunately, it’s a very common problem.

The saliva is a protectant against microorganisms, thus protecting against tooth decay.  So, when the saliva is removed, it can become a serious dental issue.

Xylitol recommendations

RX simplified: Apply Xylitol 5 times a day.

The easiest way would be to use a xylitol toothpaste morning and night.  Xylitol gum or chewable candies, three times during the middle of the day.

Xylitol and your gut

Please be warned. “Excessive use of Xylitol may cause a mild laxative effect.”  If this is a concern, use the toothpaste morning and night.  Take a spoon of xylitol sugar in a glass of water.  Swish and spit three times a day, for a total of 5 times a day.  If has been shown to help fight tooth decay.

One last warning about Xylitol, you need to be careful with dogs.  We all know about dogs and chocolate, the same is valid for dogs and xylitol.

We do carry xylitol products in the office.  If you or your family would like healthy happy teeth, give us a call at Seasons of Smiles Dental, at (207) 236-4740.

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