Still learning about teeth!

Zellies! 100% xylitol! Yum!!

I'm still on my quest for knowledge regarding dental care. In the past couple of months, I've read a few books, done loads of reading online, talked with a hygienist, invested in a Water Pik (oral irrigator) and consulted with my dentist (we actually talked on the phone for 15 minutes this afternoon -- I love getting to ask lots of questions!).

This evening I spent a couple of hours reading through the archives of this blog from a dentist, Dr. Ellie Phillips. (I volunteered her ad on my sidebar right now -- take a look!)

Dr. Ellie has spent lots of time answering questions and sharing her thoughts from her 35+ years as a dentist. What she says intrigues me: I see a lot of common sense, and a more natural preventive approach. Reading through page after page of her advice has helped me get the bigger picture of what good oral hygiene might look like.

Dr. Ellie's recommendations for good oral health include xylitol. While she does sell xylitol mints and gum, any good-quality 100% xylitol will achieve the same results. And the rest of her recommendations can be bought at your local store. (For the curious: We ordered some granulated xylitol through a co-op; it can also be found at bulk food stores, health food stores, or online.)

Dr. Ellie is down-to-earth, encouraging, sometimes-skeptical of big-businesses' motivations, and generous -- read her blog and you'll see what I mean.

Zellies' kids' gum

And yes... Zellies mints and gum are fabulous. I won't lie -- they aren't exactly "cheap". But they are good quality and taste wonderful. We've tried the mint and the fruit flavors, and they are seriously the best mints we've ever had. Ever!

Unlike normal breath mints (which usually either contain sugar or an unhealthy artificial sweetener), the 100% xylitol mints leave my teeth feeling clean and fresh. It is amazing; I was NOT expecting to like the mints so well. (We were researching them for their tooth benefits, not taste!) :)

I'm trying out Dr. Ellie's recommended "system" for daily teeth maintenance: Rinse with Closys, brush, rinse with Listerine, rinse with Act. (I am also using the Water Pik at the beginning to clean out the deep cavity I still have.) I'll update in a few months with my thoughts.

Anyway. I'm not trying to sell you on anything here... but if you are interested in learning more about dental health, Dr. Ellie's blog is a great resource! And you can ask her your own questions, as well. :)


Xylitol and teeth are a great combination!

I make homemade toothpaste with xylitol. My son got his first no cavity check up last time since he was two. I think the xylitol switch really helped!(My daughter has never had a cavity so I do not think it is diet related as we eat a low sugar diet and very very little juice.)

We also have baked with xylitol, even taken the baked goods to house church and everyone thought they tasted great.

Note do not put it drinks. I put some in my homemade grape juice and got a nasty tummy ache. It did go away with no side effects, just felt bad for a few hours.

Tammy have you checked out the WellTellMe threads on cavities?

They say black walnut tinctures heal cavities. You should read it if you haven't.:)


That's great to hear, Ruhamah! :)

We basically never drink juice (we do love fresh fruit though!)... after looking at the sugar content... yikes! I know it's all naturally-occurring, but it's still really sweet. :)

We like a little xylitol in our iced tea! :)

I haven't been to WellTellMe lately... I'll have to head over there when I have some more free time for researching and reading. :) 


Q17: Is there any beverages with xylitol that are for sale anywhere, I drink diet right now and it has splenda which I really don't want to continue to drink.
A: As far as we know there is not a beverage that is sweetened with xylitol. The problem with sweetening a drink with xylitol is that the amount of xylitol necessary to sweeten the drink would give a person diarrhea.


If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? –Milton Berle

I guess we must not put too much on our iced tea, since we haven't had any problems. :) But I have read that if a person eats xylitol, they need to start out slowly to allow their body to adjust to it to avoid diarrhea. :)

chewing the Xylichew gum for awhile now.My MIL is into all the natural things and got me hooked on it. I love that it helps clean your teeth after you eat pop a piece of gum in(If your out and not home where you can brush your teeth after eating).It has a good flavor too.It is sugar free but not with all those bad things that sugar free things have in it.My MIL researched it before starting to use it her self.A lot better than regular gum.

We haven't tried Xylichew yet, but we want to! :D

Did you know that xylitol for preventing caries is a Finnish invention originally? :-) Here we get basically all of our chewing gums sweetened with xylitol. We also have all sorts of candies sweetened with it.
Researches also show that xylitol can prevent children from ear infections!

Is it from a plant? Is it man-made or somehow naturally occurring? I have never heard of it! Thanks for writing about it :)

Here's Wikipedia's page about xylitol, and here's another site, (click on FAQs). :)

In short, xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol, and often derived from corn, birch trees, and I'm not sure where all else. :)

And as my friend Pinja mentioned in a comment above, xylitol has been used for many years in Finland; unfortunately, here in the U.S. companies usually turn to inferior or artificial sweeteners (which are cheaper than xylitol) for gum and candy.

Thanks Tammy!

I love xylitol. I've been using it for several years (although I stopped using the toothpaste during my last pregnancy because it would make me nauseaus)... I've found a really good xylitol toothpaste made by Xlear and it's about the same price as a regular tube of Crest if you purchase it at They also carry xylitol gum, mouth washes that taste great and granulated xylitol and are reasonably priced. Vitacost is a great low-cost source for these kinds of things, they tend to be MUCH cheaper than any other site or store I can find.

We have been using Dr. Ellie's system for 6 months now and it really does work. My hubby's plaque has melted away and all of our teeth are less sensative and a lot stronger.
There is nothing like the zellies mint. we have tried a lot of different xylitol mints and gums and to us they just don't taste as good as the zellies gum or mint. We are currently getting ready to order our next batch of mints and gums.
You can buy the xylitol sugar at the health food store, we don't use it in our cooking or anything we just eat about 1/4 tsp after each meal or at least twice a day.

Hi Tammy, Thanks so much for sharing this information! I'm going to incoroporate this into our dental care after doing some homework of my own as well.

I've recently become fascinated with herbs, thanks to the good folks at the Initially, I was interested in aquiring information on herbs for medicinal purposes...which naturally led to a deeper interest in understanding what 'real' nutrition and diet should look like. :)

One of the books the bulkherbstore recommends is a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions. The woman who wrote it is on the board of the Weston A. Price Foundation. And this is how we land on teeth...Weston A. Price was a dentist in the 1930's who became concerned (obsessed?) with the bad dental and physical decline he was observing in his patients. He traveled the world in search of people groups who were still eating their traditional diets. There is more on his website, including photographs of the people that he encountered, with a special emphasis on the dental health of the people with ethnic diets vs. people groups around them who had switched to 'modern' diets. His research included taking samples of the foods that these tribal people ate, and evaluating them in his lab when he returned home. The website is I would recommend starting off in Basic section under Traditional Diets. The first article called "Ancient Dietary Wisdom for Tomorrow's Children" will give you a good overview.

Of course, much of the information that is presented in the areas of nutrition and science is from an evolutionary standpoint. I choose to interpret that data through my personal beliefs (the Genesis story of creation) which changes the perspective greatly. I see ancient diets, including their processing methods and food and herbal choices (minus the empty spiritual overtones) as having closer relation to the original God given design. Which is just really way too cool!

I love reading about it, and the information has helped me to make better food choices for my family...which I feel will definitely help us to have stronger and healthier teeth!

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? –Milton Berle

Oh, I love the bulk herb store! :)

I have read some of the Weston A. Price info, but have more reading still to do. :) I definitely think that diet plays a part in dental health (and I think nutrition/diet is absent from Dr. Ellie's system -- but I understand her focus is on helping people with a manageable way to keep their teeth healthy despite their abilities to completely change their diets -- something that most people would not/could not do). :)

Have you ever read The Maker's Diet? :) 

I ordered some Zellies today...I also like the information on her website and blog. I've just finished reading 'Herbal Antibiotics' by Stephen Bruner. I saw a connection between how bacteria works and Dr. Ellie's system. I am impressed enought to try it! I've lived for years without dental insurance, and I am a big believer in preventative medicine. ;)

Haven't tried the Maker's Diet, but I have heard of it. I looked it up, and it just looked to pre-packaged and slickly marketed/pricey (I have a strong aversion to some marketing techniques). Having to pay for menus and shopping lists felt like starting from scratch. We already eat rather healthy, and have no health problems, so I was not looking for a total overhaul. That, and I'm a 'why' girl. I never outgrew this stage :) I would rather read a 'why' this works book than a 'do it this way' book.

I just figured that I already have 'THE Book' that he based it on. :)


If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? –Milton Berle

I have only read the book -- so, no slick marketing... just reading and learning. I do remember going to their website a long time ago, though, and they wanted you to pay for info... never went back for more... :)

Thanks for letting us in on Dr Ellie's system, I ordered some mints even though for overseas it makes it very expensive gum/mints! But after reading up on Dr Ellie's site, and the information she sent me, I feel a lot more secure about the wellbeing of my child's teeth.

I know this is an old post but just wanted to leave a quick not for anyone else who stumbled upon it and didn't know. Xylitol, while great for our teeth, can be extremely and rapidly toxic to pets so if you use it as part of your dental hygiene regime (we do) make sure to keep it well out of their reach if you have house pets! :)

Some people talked about GSE and TTO. I worked out the TTO tea tree oil but the GSE escapes me. Is it the name of a commercial product.

I believe GSE commonly stand for Grape Seed Extract.

Hi Tammy~Would love to find out more from you regarding if you are still doing Dr. Ellie's system and what your review is at this point in time. I recently started what she recommends. Thanks!

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