Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why pH of Your Toothpaste Matters

Saliva has very important functions for the mouth.  It helps break down food with enzymes, helps protect the mouth against tooth decay, and makes it easier to chew and swallow food.  In general, a healthy mouth has adequate amounts of saliva.  The pH of your saliva can make an impact towards the health of your mouth as well.  The more acidic the saliva, the more likely of the tissues breaking down leading to gum disease and tooth decay.  Healthy saliva has a pH level of 6.8 to 7.8.

Certain factors can lead to acidic pH of saliva:

  • Using alcohol containing mouthwash
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dry mouth
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Chemo therapy, by damaging salivary glands
  • Radiation therapy of head and neck
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol drinks
  • Acidic foods and drinks such as: tomatoes, citrus fruits, carbonated sodas, coffee
  • Sugar
  • Toothpaste with certain ingredients, such as fluoride or sodium lauryl sulfate

Saliva with a neutral pH and adequate flow, can help you prevent poor oral health.  There are certain factors that can help you maintain a neutral pH of saliva.
  • Toothpaste with baking soda
  • Toothpaste with xylitol
  • Toothpaste free of fluoride
  • Toothpaste free of harsh abrasives
  • Alcohol-free mouthwash
  • Chewing gum or breath drops with xylitol
  • Healthy foods, low of sugar or simple carbohydrates
  • Proper oral hygiene
  • Drinking adequate amounts of water
  • Regular visits to your dentist for professional cleanings
Cleure natural toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum with xylitol have the right amount and types of ingredients to maintain a neutral pH of 7 to 10.  With regular use, and as directed visits to your dentist, you can enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chew on This for a Healthy Smile

Your healthy, beautiful smile should be free of tooth decay.  The latest studies reported in dental journals have found xylitol to have several benefits towards a cavity free mouth.

What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar and is used as a sugar substitute.  As a sugar alcohol sweetener, it does not affect blood sugar levels.  It also has a low glycemic index of 13 and lower in calories than sugar.

How Xylitol Works
Bacteria that cause tooth decay, love anything that ferments on the teeth.  Fermentable sugars include simple carbohydrates such as table sugar, meat and white flour products.  The bacteria that cause cavities are mostly mutans streptococci.  These bad bacteria turn the sugars into acid and start the process of destroying tooth structure.  

It appears that xylitol inhibits mutans stroptococci from sticking to the tooth surface and causing damage. (Journal of Dental Research; 85:177-181).

Most of the studies so far have been with xylitol containing chewing gum.  Chewing 2 pieces of xylitol gum after meals for 5 minutes, means lowering tooth decay risk by up to 70%. (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; 2006: Policy on the Use of Xylitol in Caries Prevention).

Summary of Xylitol Benefits 

  • Xylitol is safe if swallowed, unlike fluoride which FDA (Food & Drug Administration) requires a warning for.
  • Is a sugar alcohol and will not affect blood glucose levels.
  • Helps with dry mouth by increasing saliva.
  • Helps neutralize pH of saliva, and helps prevent damage from harmful bacteria.
  • Helps remineralize (repair) areas of enamel that have just started to be damaged.
  • Helps prevent ear infections in children. (Pediatrics; 1998; 102:879-884)
  • Early studies are suggesting xylitol may also help prevent periodontal disease (gum disease).  (Spec Care Dent; 1996; 16:104-115).