Thursday, June 27, 2013

The X Factor

               There is an X factor in the dental world, and it has nothing to do with Simon Cowell or Britney Spears. What would you think of something that tastes as sweet as sugar, is all natural, and is good for your teeth?  I would think it is unbelievable, but it is true, and this magic X factor for your mouth is called Xylitol.


                 Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate, that looks and tastes just like regular table sugar. It is a natural sweetener that can be extracted from any woody fibrous plant material. Mostly it is extracted from corn cobs, and also from less environmentally sustainable sources such as hardwood. Pure xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar.

      Believe it or not, regular use of xylitol in oral care has shown remarkable effectiveness. Xylitol's five-carbon structure keeps it from being metabolized by bacteria, most importantly the bacteria that causes decay in teeth, Streptococcus mutans.  By using 100% xylitol products throughout the day, bacteria is prevented from creating the acids that damage the teeth and plaque is prevented  from gaining hold on tooth surfaces. I like to think of it like this – if this bad bacteria isn’t being fed by the Xylitol, because it can’t metabolize it, then the bacteria isn’t strong enough to cause trouble, like create cavities.

      So how should you use this Xylitol, and where do you get it?  The best thing is to expose your mouth to it a few times in a day.  Lately I have found it becoming more available in things like chewing gum . My favorite is Icebreakers Ice Cubes - lots of flavors, all with Xylitol.

         Mentos Up2You is another gum with Xylitol.


           Now I haven't seen these products promote that they inhibit tooth decay, but that's OK.  I am telling you if you chew a piece for 5-10 minutes a few times a day , you are doing something good for yourself.
               There are other ways you can get Xylitol. Just look at the ingredients and make sure Xylitol is the main sweetener. More and more grocery stores are selling toothpastes, gum and mouth rinse with xylitol, and you can buy an entire bag of it near the sugar too.  I am not sure about cooking with it, but you can add it to a drink.

            Another added benefit of combating this Strep mutans with Xylitol is cleaner teeth, which means whiter teeth.  Some professional tooth whitening products are adding Xylitol to them to increase their effectiveness.

             One side note - although the chewing of the gum with Xylitol is good for your teeth, be careful how long you chew it!  Too much gum chewing can cause soreness in the TMJ area, which leads us to an entirely different oral problem.

            So you see,  sweet things aren't all bad - especially if it is the X factor!  


Monday, February 4, 2013

A Bright Smile Is Always In Style


When I started this blog, as you can go back and read, my mission was to change the perception of The Dentist, and dentistry , one smile at a time.  I am thrilled to report that there have been over 1000 views of this blog, which hopefully means that is over 1000 smiles. Now I have been given an incredible opportunity in this quest to create smiles.

For those of you who have only read my words, now you will get to hear my voice!  In addition, you will get to see my own smile.  I will be on television.

I have joined a company called Go Smile, and I will be talking about their tooth whitening products on television. Go Smile is a tooth whitening company that sells their products  directly to the consumer. I put much thought and consideration into this venture. I read their research, reviewed their patents, but what really convinced me that this was a good idea was when I tested their products on myself.  Besides being a dentist, I am a scientist and researcher, and an inventor. My dental passion, if there is such a term, is tooth color. Call me a geek, but I have spent years, in my free time (when I had no free time) examining the complexity of tooth shade, and how to measure it. Through my own research, I patented a computerized camera system that breaks down the color of a tooth, pixel by pixel.

The beauty of this is that I measure tooth color before and after a whitening process and see how well it worked with real data, not just a look see and guess that those teeth appear to have gotten brighter. I get a report with numbers, bars and graphs, and every time I see a tooth in that much detail, I am thrilled!  Really.  So you see, if I say something really works to change a tooth color, I am not relying on my eye’s color perception. I am measuring it. I am reading the report. And I can say with a very high degree of certainty, this Go Smile stuff works.


So back to Go Smile.  It truly is effective. Now I don’t want to make this a commercial for all the products. You can go to their website and see it for yourself. However, you should know that the ampoules have a patented delivery system that is so easy, anyone would be skeptical, but again, it works. (No trays, no waiting, just rub it on your tooth and forget about it.) My teeth were white, at least on the standard measuring scale we use in dentistry, so when I started to use Go Smile, my staff laughed at me because they said my teeth couldn’t get any whiter.  Guess what? They did. My teeth are the whitest they have ever been in my life. They also have excellent toothpaste systems, which I love because it combines brushing your teeth with getting them white .

Now I will get to share this wonderful find with lots of people. My mission, again, is create more smiles, and this can do it. Anyone who has whiter teeth has reason to smile. Take it from me.  Over 25 years of dentistry, and I have loads of stories of people who whitened their teeth, and it gave them confidence, made them happier, and in some instances, changed their lives.  Some people did take it too far, and ended up with glowing teeth, but that wasn’t the usual case. Does anyone remember the Friends episode when Ross whitened his teeth for a date, only to end up with glow in the dark teeth?

You don’t have to get the Ross result. You can whiten your teeth safely and effectively, and hopefully the only thing your friends will say is that  you look good, did you go on vacation? Or you seem happier. You certainly don’t want them to say wow, you whitened your teeth, and you are glowing.

Now I will still maintain my private practice, and continue to see my patients. I can’t wait to hear how many more smiles come about because of this. And if you see me on television, it will be on QVC, because that is one of the ways you can get Go Smile products.

I will try to keep everyone up to speed on my QVC dates either on this blog or through my Facebook page. The first day you can catch me will be Feb 15 between 4-5pm EST.  People ask me if I am scared or nervous about it, but I tell them no.  Aside from the fact that I won’t be wearing my usual scrubs, I will be doing what I have been doing for the past 25 years- talking to people about their teeth, and encouraging them to smile!!