Fluoride is a wonderful way to protect your smile, but it’s not the only product out there that can help keep your smile healthy and beautiful. There are several other products, both over the counter and available through our dentists that, when used in conjunction with fluoride, promote a healthier smile.
Xylitol is one of the first sugar substitutes used. It is derived from birch trees and can also be found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables.
Xylitol helps promote a healthy mouth in several different ways. The bacteria that cause dental caries cannot metabolize xylitol. These bacteria try to consume the xylitol, but they are starved. The more common method of killing these caries causing bacteria using an alcohol mouth rinse can dry out your mouth as well as kill any good bacteria. Xylitol can help stimulate saliva flow which helps remineralize your teeth.
Eating xylitol after a meal or snack helps return your mouth’s pH to a less acidic state. After eating, your mouth’s pH lowers to an acidic state which can weaken your teeth’s enamel. Weakened enamel is more susceptible to erosion and decay. By bringing your pH up using a little bit of xylitol, your teeth are better protected.
Our Evanston dentists Drs. James and Robert Stephens recommend eating 6 grams of xylitol a day to get the most benefit from it. Xylitol comes in many different forms that make it fun and easy to eat 6 grams. Try replacing the sugar in your coffee or tea with Xylitol. Or visit Dr. John’s Candies to see the range of xylitol candy available. (Contact our office to learn how to save 7.5% at Dr. John’s!)
Recaldent contains casein phosphopeptides – amorphous calcium phosphate. Calcium and phosphate are used to remineralize tooth enamel. Recaldent allows more of these minerals to be bioavailable for your salvia to use. Relcadent can be found in combination with fluoride in MI Paste, but it is also found in Trident Xtra Care gum.
Cervitec is an antibiotic varnish applied by your dental professional. Cervitec contains chlorohexidine and thymol to help control bacteria and alleviate sensitivity. It is applied in a varnish, which allows it to be applied to specific sites that may be at increased risk, such as exposed root surfaces. The varnish also allows the Cervitec to be longer lasting than a mouth rinse, as the antibiotic is sealed close to the tooth and is able to enter the tubules in your enamel.
Adding some of these products to your oral hygiene routine in conjunction with fluoride treatments can help to increase your oral health. Drs. James and Robert Stephens are always happy to discuss your risk for dental caries and help you get on the track to a healthy happy smile.