Using xylitol water to change oral ph

Back in Feb. 2008, I wrote about tips for improving dental health.  Many of these were from Rami Nagiel, before he wrote his book Cure Tooth Decay and became widely known in the traditional foods camp.  My problem with Rami’s approach is that I don’t feel it’s doable on a budget and that it’s somewhat extreme.  Rami’s approach is very absolute and doesn’t leave room for sometimes having grains or sweets.  That’s very tough and not realistic for many people, even those dedicated to their children’s health.  Since it’s based on high quality organic meats and vegetables, it’s also financially very daunting.  It was thinking of this that made me feel hopeless yesterday, since I know we don’t have the funds for his protocol no matter how frugal I am and I also know that I can’t follow his guidelines 100%.   What did encourage me was remembering about Dr. Ellie Phillips approach.

Dr. Ellie is a dentist who has worked with pediatric patients and others for many years.  She’s written a book called Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye (I haven’t read it) and is now writing another book that will have information about the importance of diet to your teeth.  I’m guessing this will be along the lines of the traditional foods approach.  What is very encouraging about Dr. Ellie’s protocol for kids is that it’s so doable, and she doesn’t tell you to stop having all foods with phytic acids or anything else.  Her approach is highly effective, affordable and doable.

The main issue with her protocol is consistency.  For kids, she says that giving them xylitol five or six times a day after any food that isn’t dairy or vegetables will reset their mouth bacteria from acidic to alkaline.  She recommends giving it in the form of xylitol water to drink.  The recommended amount of daily xylitol intake for maximum dental benefits is between 6.5 – 10 grams a day; I think that’s about two teaspoons a day.  No benefits have been demonstrated by giving more than that.

We were regularly brushing their teeth with xylitol for a while and then we got inconsistent and tapered off.  In any case, it seems that drinking xylitol water is better and having it a few times a day rather than just at night before bed is much better.  It’s also best to drink it throughout the day, ideally after each snack and meal to reset the ph balance of the mouth.  Here’s a great article about mouth bacteria that is a must read to understand why people get cavities – if you’re someone who brushes and is careful about diet but you still have issues with cavities, this will explain what is going on and you’ll understand how important it is to systematically reset the ph balance and how xylitol works to benefit that.  Reading this explanantion gave me a lot of hope since I already was convinced the issue was something about his acidic mouth fluids and I’m very optimistic based on her many years of experience that this can be the answer to helping ds5 reverse his dental caries issue.

Yesterday I started giving xylitol water to the younger boys (including Yirmiyahu even though he has no teeth, because he was in my lap when I was giving them drinks and he wanted some, too!) and they were very receptive.  They loved it!  So getting them to drink it won’t be the issue; the real concern is me keeping it in mind on a daily basis and making it into a family habit.  Since there’s always so much going on this is a challenge for me but I’m going to do my best!

To make xylitol water, all you do is mix a couple of teaspoons of xylitol in hot water to dissolve the crystals, mix it and then add cooler water.  This amount will be for one child for one day.  I tripled the amount and put it all in a mason jar that I’m leaving on the counter so I could give all three younger boys some during the day .

Today I’m going to make some of the xylitol water into ice cubes for them to snack on after meals as a ‘popsicle’ dessert.  Since I don’t want to mix them up with our regular ice cubes, I’m going to save some of the cooking water from the beets I’ll be boiling this morning and will add a little bit to the mixture to give it some color.  This won’t affect the effectiveness of the xylitol.

You can also make xylitol candies by mixing it with plain gelatin and juice, a project I once bought ingredients to undertake and never got around to.

By the way, Dr. Ellie’s website and blog are packed with useful information and she consistently comes across as an incredibly knowledgeable, nice, sincere and caring person.  She has produced xylitol candies that can be eaten after meals, but never does she give the impression that you must buy her products to have good dental health.  She has developed a protocol for tweens and up for reversing decay and eliminating pockets that is a must read, so check that out after you read the article about mouth bacteria that I linked above.


16 thoughts on “Using xylitol water to change oral ph

  1. Even a very small amount of xylitol gives me terrible stomach cramps and diarrhea. I can brush with it, but I have to be VERY careful not to swallow any. I wonder if other people have this problem, and if it’s an IBS trigger?

    1. Xylitol is known to have a cleansing effect if you have large amounts. I would say to start with a tiny, tiny amount – Dr. Ellie wrote somewhere that even one grain can be helpful for your ph balance – and then very very slowly build up. But that’s my intuitive suggestion, it’s not something I have specific experience with. Dr, Ellie answers questions at her blog, if this is something you wanted to get more expert feedback on.

  2. My 2 yr ds had really bad decay issues and I know his teeth are well brushed because dh or I do it. I looked into xylitol but found that a lot of it is not being produced from birch tree bark anymore but chemically in China. Did you find his to be an issue at all? Our mainstream dentist actually recommended it but I’ve been hesitant to try other than in our toothpaste.

  3. yes, you can get kosher birch xylitol, although some of the other xylitol, like now foods and xylo sweet, both are non GMO. We have also had success with xylitol and the kids are always happy to have it since it is sweet. One thing that also worked for us was to ground the xylitol into powder and add a little clay and let the little ones rub some on their teeth and leave it on before bed time.

  4. check if your son has celiac disease. Although this is not the usual way celiac first shows up it can cause these types of problems (enamel problems leading to multiple cavaties and even ph issues), especially since you have a reasonably healthy diet and brush routinely.

  5. :) I was going to suggest adding a little beet water to the ice cubes before you said you were doing it. Very glad you have found a natural way to deal with this issue. BTW if you ever need some thing else that reduces the acid level, just a spoonful of baking soda in the water works well. Honey even though it is sweet is also said to reduce cavities and help to heal teeth. So when you need something sweet that might be an option.

  6. QUESTION: I read that while the mouth should not be acid, it is very important for the stomach to be acidic and that we should not ingest too much alkaline because the stomach needs acids to break stuff down. ( unless you have stomach cancer in which case alkaline is better) So I sip one bottle of probiotic yogurty thing with a capsule of probiotic emptied into it during the day for my stomach balance and then I was also sipping the the xylitol but I am now wondering if the xylitol can cause to much alkalinity in the stomach? PETS: I read that Xylitol is highly toxic to pets and can be fatal. I think there should be big warnings on the packaging if that is true. This article is great as I have started mixing up small bottled water with xylitol and always carry a few with me. The ice cube idea is great! I also tried rinsing with bicarbonate of soda water before bed to leave my mouth PH alkaline. Not sure which is better so I alternate. I have stopped swallowing the xylitol though. Does anyone know how it is beneficial in the stomach and weather it definitely does not upset the balance and acids required to break food down?

    1. Hi, Sharelle, and welcome!

      You’re asking an interesting question about the ph balance in the stomach. I haven’t come across anything about this in my research on xylitol so I don’t really have an answer for you about this.

      Xylitol is definitely toxic to dogs, regardless of what they write on the packaging. They may not consider it important to add a disclaimer like that to food geared for people.

  7. I just started using xylitol. I work night shift, and worry about my stomach being acidic. So far my energy has risen. It was like good bye in attentive, hello hyperactive Me! Dancing in place like shreks donkey!

  8. My pediatric dentist suggested xylitol gum or lozenges because xylitol acts locally rather than systemically. Wondering how drinking xylitol water has worked for you.

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