Psst.... Yes, Xylitol
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2018-02-07 08:20 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 380 references Ignore this thread
Psst.... Yes, Xylitol
[Comments enabled]

Some of you may remember my Ticker from early December in which I had pointed out a random find I had made related to Xylitol and oral health -- specifically, that there was evidence that Xylitol is a selective poison for certain specific bacteria, most-interestingly the strains that cause both gum disease (gingivitis and worse) along with cavities.

One of the problems with any sort of antibiotic is that they are relatively broad-spectrum things.  That is, they don't target just the bacteria you want to kill; they kill good bacteria as well.

There are an utterly enormous number and species of bacteria in our bodies all the time, and in fact some of them are necessary for normal metabolic processes.  As such indiscriminate targeting of bacteria is generally not so good of an idea, but in some cases it's necessary -- thus, antibiotics which, when used appropriately and when necessary, are very good things indeed.

However, if you can selectively target a handful of bad bacteria while leaving the good ones alone, well now there's no reason to not do that all the time......

So for the last couple months I've been brushing my teeth only with Xylitol.  A quarter-teaspoon to half-teaspoon in the mouth of the powder, brushing with that -- and nothing else.  Spit it out when done, but no rinse -- let the residual stay.  It's the only change I've made.

I just got back from the dentist to have them do a routine cleaning and the hygienist (same one that's been cleaning my teeth for the last few years) asked me what I had changed as she immediately noticed a material positive difference in the lack of plaque and similar, along with better overall gum condition.  I told her, and got the usual "well for legal reasons I can't tell you to do that because there's no clinical evidence for it, but I do see a material difference."

No, really?

Well I noticed the materially shorter amount of time it took her to complete the job, so... yeah. smiley

So where are the studies on this?  Missing because there's no patent to be had, I suspect, never mind that if this is highly effective especially when it comes to periodontal disease it would take a massive whack out of what the industry could bill you for.

The old saw for decades was that if you had issues with gingivitis and periodontal disease you were a slob; you didn't brush or floss, etc.  We now know that this isn't true; an utterly enormous amount of susceptibility to these conditions is genetic, and there's not jack you can do about it. You can of course make it materially worse by not brushing your teeth but base susceptibility is more about genetics than anything else.

Note that there are "targeted" antibiotic treatments that are placed at and just under the gumline for these conditions.  They're damn expensive and from what I've read the consensus is that any benefit they confer is temporary.  That's a dentist's wet dream -- they get to bill you for the "treatment" at some ridiculous amount per tooth and then after a year or two they get to do it again, forever.  Isn't that special, when it might just be that a few-dollar bag of Xylitol also works and provides a fair degree of the same benefit as well?  Even if it works "only somewhat as well" it's a hell of a lot cheaper -- to the tune of a thousand, two or more a year, and if you get some reasonable percentage of the benefit at near-zero cost, well, you decide which is the right path forward.

Looks to me like this is either a net negative cost to you (since it's replacing toothpaste) or thousands of dollars a year -- and while the latter may offer more benefit shouldn't the person with the mouth and wallet in question be the one making a fully informed choice instead of having a potential alternative which makes the dentist nothing not spoken about as something to try at all?

Is this just another example of the medical system not following up and studying things that are both cheap and effective when they do and will recommend treatments, drugs and similar that while they may be effective their true defining quality that earns them said recommendation is that they also produce permanent continuing revenue streams for said medical providers.

Needless to say I'm going to continue what I've been doing.....  and while I remind you that this is an anecdote, and the plural of anecdote is not data, since there is zero downside to this approach as essentially all of the benefit from brushing your teeth in the first place is mechanical and the use of "toothpastes" do nothing to add to that, while Xylitol, if not ingested except in trace amounts has no issues with gastrointestinal issues and any effect, if you get one, is targeted in the area you would want it to occur  -- why would you not use it?

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Yayankee
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I have been using "Livionex", a gel which I got the same comment from my hygienist and told her and my dentist what I used, and they both said it was something they could not recommend since no dental organization had done any tests or approved its use.
Attilahooper
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Any other brands or suppliers to recommend? Gotta try this.

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Bluebird
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That is amazing! Can these Xylitol toothpastes (gels) be bought at drugstores, or only thru the mail? Do any use mannitol or sorbitol?


Edit: Can you provide the link to the original ticker on the use of Xylitol so we can re-read it again? Thanks!

Jaytheblues
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New England
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I've been using Tom's of Maine brand toothpaste, they make a flouride free version with xylitol. It's pretty expensive so going pure xylitol sounds like it might be worth a try.
Tickerguy
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@Attilahooper @Bluebird -- no, not a toothpaste, Xylitol sold in bulk as a sugar substitute, which is dirt cheap and comes in (literally) 1 and 5 lb bags!

If your local store doesn't have it order it online. Beware that some people get the ****s from using it as a sugar substitute, and I do not recommend doing that, especially for anything in your mouth since that's the long way there and second, if you have those bacteria active in your bloodstream in material quantities you probably have far more-serious problems going on.

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Weezie
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I'm one of the 'lucky' folks who, despite brushing and flossing have a genetic disposition to gum disease.

Had pretty bad periodontal disease - bone grafts, '11' measures on the pockets, etc.

I switched to this: https://www.vitaminlife.com/index/page/p....

about 2 years ago. My periodontal disease is GONE.


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Dmj625
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My dental hygienist gave me an "off the record" recommendation to use coconut oil for whitening. She said to melt a spoonful in your mouth and swish for 30-60 seconds. Then spit out. I wonder how a homemade coconut oil/Xyletol mix would work?

David

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Dilbs
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I will have to try that. The hygenist seems to spend a lot of time scraping the plaque. She bitches about coffee. Yeah right, I'm not giving that up. I always get good grades at the dentist, but am happy if I can improve.

Word of warning. In an effort to get some low carb fruity taste years ago, I ate xylitol candies... too many. Had a rush hour drive through D.C. traffic and around the Baltimore Beltway. Let's just say I was five minutes from having an ass-plosion on the side of 695. Luckily we made the off ramp and I found an appropriate place smiley. I think they called in hazmat to that gas station. Moral of the story, don't ingest the Xylitol (at least in significant amounts). Alternate moral; if you are in an office where someone empties your candy jar, feel free to load it with xylitol candy and wait by the bathroom in an hour... but that is another story.
Sanspeur33
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Hockessin Delaware
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What about Trident Gum with Xyletol? I've been chewing that for years so I cannot attest to say if it makes a difference. Gum compared to others holds its flavor longer than others, only downside is that it can kill a dog if they ingest enough.
Tickerguy
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@Weezie - Looks like that toothpaste is the same thing, but with baking soda for whitening. Appears you'd get the same benefit from just using Xylitol to brush with; a small container (e.g. pill bottle, tupperware container, etc) full of xylitol is as convenient, or close to, that of a tube of paste and since all the benefit of brushing is mechanical....

On the other hand that sort of paste with a very high (e.g. 25%) Xylitol content would "look and feel" like conventional toothpaste if you prefer it that way. Frankly, I like the powder since it's dirt cheap if you buy it as a food component and is just as convenient to have a little tupperware container on my sink rather than a tube of paste.....

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Ktrosper
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TG wrote..
...no patent...
Yep.

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Tickerguy
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Quote:
What about Trident Gum with Xyletol? I've been chewing that for years so I cannot attest to say if it makes a difference. Gum compared to others holds its flavor longer than others, only downside is that it can kill a dog if they ingest enough.

Gum sounds like a near-perfect delivery system (long-lasting, right at the teeth, etc) EXCEPT that a study was done on them and found that (1) they don't label the PERCENTAGE of Xylitol in them, (2) some had a VANISHINGLY SMALL amount of Xylitol and thus (3) there was no way to know which one(s) would deliver enough to provide a benefit and which would not. Same deal with the lozenges that are sold for "dry mouth" and similar OTC; no way to know if there's enough in them to make a difference.

There's no risk of that if you take a half-teaspoon of it and use it as a toothpaste! You know damn well how much went in the mouth and ALL of it was then mashed onto and between the teeth, including right at the gumline.

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Weezie
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Yep. Six or one, half dozen of another, although the 'do it yourself' route is considerably cheaper. This toothpaste isn't that pricy - $3.50 for a 6 oz tube that lasts hubby and me quite a while as we use 'pea-sized' and don't slather the brush with a log of toothpaste.

Could do a Xylitol and baking soda mix and have that standing buy in a pill bottle, I suppose. Might do that after this tube runs out.

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Handyone55
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Thanks for the info Mr. Denninger! Off to the store for xylitol :-)

The Dental Industrial Complex will never promote xylitol because there is no profit in it. Last night, my wife called me at work and said she was very sick. Sore throat, runny nose, joint pain and ear pain appeared within 3 or 4 hours. I was worried about the fast onset of symptoms. My wife took 4 grams of vitamin C in one dose, then 1 gram hourly for about 4 hours. Within 4 hours, she was feeling better. I will suggest she take more C today when she wakes up.

Generic vitamin C is cheap and cannot be patented. Most docs will tell you it is ineffective or dangerous. I have not been seriously sick in 15 years, since I read Linus Pauling's book about vitamin C. The worst side effect is loose stools.

The flu of 1918 was a killer strain that killed more people than WW1. Dr. Fred Klenner noted that the death toll was much lower in Amish communities. The Amish give tea brewed from Bonesett for colds and flu. Bonesett tea supposedly tastes vile but is loaded with vitamin C. Staying to themselves probably helped the Amish as well.
Nickdanger
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Two of my favorite remedies:

Tooth Cleaner
3 parts baking soda + 1 part xylitol + (optional) peppermint essential oil to taste
Mix and store in airtight container.

Cold Blaster
1 pkg Emergen-C
1 tsp ascorbic acid crystals (NOT sodium ascorbate)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Add into small amount of water in 8 oz. glass first and dissolve. When foaming subsides, add water to fill glass, and drink. Can use several times a day if needed. The only issue may be attaining bowel tolerance for the vitamin C. If you use this when you first feel "off", like the cold is just starting, it will knock it out quite well.

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Drifter
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@Nick-- the problem with baking soda is that it is abrasive, accelerating tooth wear/gum abrasion.

For brushing, you really don't need anything but water, but I see zero harm in xylitol, which has been getting positive dental press over the last couple years and would be interested if everybody starts seeing positive changes. Hey, I was a naysayer on Atkins for a long time-- I'll keep an open mind.

http://www.speareducation.com/spear-revi....

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article....

As for the localized antibiotic gum treatments-- in my experience, the benefit is short term, and an unnecessary out of pocket expense for patients. The dental lecture circuit advocates this stuff as a profit center, especially in periodontal offices, a branch of the field I have little respect for. Anyway, I rarely use these treatments anymore.

As for chronic gingivitis, I've been amazed at the turn-around of patients who went low-carb. Oral bacteria love refined carbs, and if you take that crap away...

Smokintoad
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Ames IA
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Mr. D, I don't remember if I have thanked you yet for opening my eyes to the benefits of a LCHF diet, but it's made a big change in my quality of life.
I got a bag of Xylitol after your first mention of it, but I'm gonna get my ass in gear and start using it regularly. Thank You.
Tickerguy
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@Drifter
Quote:
For brushing, you really don't need anything but water, but I see zero harm in xylitol, which has been getting positive dental press over the last couple years and would be interested if everybody starts seeing positive changes. Hey, I was a naysayer on Atkins for a long time-- I'll keep an open mind.

The NIH paper is the one I originally found -- but it promoted eating Xylitol. That's nice, but now we're talking about transport via the bloodstream to gum tissue, which is insanely inefficient considering that the bacteria you want to target are on the outside of the tissue but in contact with it!

My BEST GUESS is that the therapeutic benefit that study saw was INCIDENTAL to the actual CONSUMPTION of Xylitol, but rather was a function of the small fraction that remained in the mouth after eating it. Well, if THAT'S the case then brushing your teeth with it is going to be MUCH more effective in delivering it where you want it, because (1) you're NOT eating it and thus can use it liberally without any risk of digestive disruption, such as getting the ****s and (2) you're TARGETING delivery to the surface of and in the spaces between your teeth, and in fact are grinding it into those areas on purpose, which is much more-correlated to the location where the desired-to-be-eliminated bacteria happen to be.

That was my hypothesis, and it appears, at least for n=1, to be correct.

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Nickdanger
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@Drifter,

I thought that baking soda was too abrasive, based on what my dentist was saying. However, I've been using this combo for more than 5 years and have no problems. If year search for "baking soda abrasiveness" there are charts posted that show it is lower than any toothpaste on the market. I was going to attach one here, but could not get it small enough to meet the 100kb max size and still be readable.

I do like the suggestion of coconut oil (for whitening) and xylitol, and will try that because I have been using the baking soda for its whitening properties.

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Tickerguy
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The problem with use of any common formulation of "toothpaste" is that it is more-likely to wind up caked in places that are hard to get out of in your mouth (e.g. between teeth, etc) and then turn into great places for bacteria to adhere and start causing trouble than it is to actually polish or clean anything.

The reason for this is that a TOOTHBRUSH has no "scouring" capability when loaded with a paste. Try it. Take toothpaste, which is commonly used (successfully) for polishing small scratches out of soft plastics, and attempt to do so using a toothbrush by applying it to the brush and then scrubbing with commonly-used tooth-cleaning levels of pressure. It won't work.

Now use an old T-shirt or similar as your applicator and polisher. It works quite well!

If your "toothbrush" was similar to what a dentist uses for polishing (the rotary rubber-tipped tool) then it would likely work quite well for removing things with a very mild paste-style abrasive, but the more-likely impact when using a toothpaste is to actually PREVENT mechanical contact of the brush bristles with the tooth than it is to enhance said contact's cleaning properties!

It is that mechanical contact that ACTUALLY removes the things you want off of the teeth. No mechanical contact, no removal, and if any of the paste remains in contact with the teeth it's a net negative.

Powdered Xylitol doesn't have this problem because it almost-immediately dissolves in the saliva, and thus you now are brushing in a liquid medium that does not inhibit the contact between the brush tips and teeth, and the remaining Xylitol has the desired impact of altering the balance of oral flora in a beneficial fashion.

You will note that there are NO ads for toothpaste that make the claim that they remove plaque and bacteria better than a bare brush. That's because they don't, and making such a claim for a personal care product that is not backed by scientific evidence would get you in trouble. So instead they talk about fluoride and similar, or how it makes your teeth FEEL, but nowhere have I EVER seen a claim about the efficacy of actual CLEANING .vs. a bare, unadulterated brush.

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Ged1591
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Mt Vernon, OH
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Xylitol has been long known to reduce dental caries. Dentyne chewing gum used to have xylitol; no more but there are other brands today that contain xylitol. I buy the Spry brand.

Xylitol can also reduce sinus infections. The Xlear sinus spray is a saline/xylitol solution. It's a bit pricey side but one can add xylitol to a 0.99 cent bottle of saline spray from the drug store for the same effect.

Oh yes, watch how much xylitol you ingest. Too much xylitol can affect regularity.
Burya_rubenstein
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Well, soon afer your first article on this I started looking for the stuff where the sugar and artificial sweeteners are kept. I checked Meijer, Walmart, Kroger, and ne or two other places. Nothing labeled as containing Xylitol. Does it have any other names? I really hate buying stuff remotely.
Tickerguy
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Nope. Try somewhere like a GNC, although you're going to overpay for it in a place like that (possibly quite-dramatically; all those "health food" stores******you blind for common things like vitamins and similar.) Then again with the tiny amounts used to brush teeth with I'm not sure it matters much when it comes to cost.

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Gauntlet33
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Burya, I bought 5 lbs of xylitol for about $25 from a Canadian company who I believe shipped it for free. Not a bad deal since it'll last forever.
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