Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Xylitol vs. Sugar: the Battle for Heart Health

When concerned about heart disease, most people will have their cholesterol levels checked, and then closely manage and monitor them with the help of expensive prescription medication - all certainly worth it when you’re talking about a health issue as serious and dangerous as heart disease.  But did you know there is another health indicator that may be just as effective as predicting coronary artery disease as cholesterol levels?

A Strong Connection

As incredible as it sounds, instances of periodontal (gum) disease have been shown to be strong indicators of risk of heart disease.  Respected medical associations have shown that patients with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease, and the fact that there’s a connection between the two health issues is commonly accepted to be true, although how the connection works is not fully known.  Since experts know that the bacteria in the mouth can make its way into the bloodstream, one theory is that those bacteria contribute to the hardening of arteries, or help to build blockages inside arteries.

Simple Changes with Big Impacts

In any case, a new focus and emphasis has been placed on oral health.  Fortunately, this is an area where some small - and very inexpensive - lifestyle changes can have a significant impact.  Brushing twice daily, with a fluoride toothpaste, along with flossing and rinsing regularly, are the obvious places to start, but many people are already doing these basics.

The next step is decreasing sugar intake, particularly the kind that might coat or stick on your teeth: soda pop, hard candies, and chewy sweets.  Naturally, decreasing or eliminating sugary carbonated drinks is a healthy choice for many reasons; in regards to oral health it removes daily instances of essentially rinsing the mouth and gums with sugar.

Candy That Promotes Dental Health (Therefore Artery Health?)

When it comes to addressing hard candies, caramels, or taffy, you can actually go one better than eliminating them: you can replace them with treats that actually promote dental health.  Dr. John’s Simply Xylitol candies are made with xylitol, a natural sweetener derived from the birch tree. 

Unlike sugars - even natural sugars - xylitol is not converted into acid in the mouth which then begins the decay process.  In fact, xylitol has been shown to inhibit the growth of harmful oral bacteria - what if switching to Simply Xylitol Pomegranate Hard Candy or Natural Caramels could keep both the dentist AND the cardiologist away?

While oral hygiene has always been regarded as important in terms of strong, healthy teeth, healthy gums is becoming more important than ever before in much more important areas of health down the road.

Shop for great tasting xylitol treats and use Dr. John's Simply Xylitol Plan for maximum oral health benefits.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top Three Ways to Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month This February

Did you know that the most common chronic disease in children is preventable? And yet occurrences of this disease in preschool children have been on the rise over the past few years?

The disease - tooth decay - affects more than 67% of children by the time they are 19.  February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a perfect time to examine why this is such a prevalent health issue for kids, and what steps parents can take to reduce their children’s risk factors.

Brush Early and Often


Parents can start wiping or brushing children’s gums even before all their teeth come in.  This is an excellent way to begin establishing a daily habit of oral hygiene - for both the parent and the child.  As the child grows, adding a fluoride toothpaste and twice-daily brushing is a very effective tactic, and of course flossing is essential to reducing or eliminating tooth decay causing bacteria between teeth. 

Reduce Sugar Intake


Making healthy choices isn’t always as straightforward as it seems.  Those popular fruit snacks made with real fruit juice seem like a great alternative to sweets and candy, but they are actually a dangerous snack for your child’s teeth - think gum drops.  Sugary AND sticky is a bad combination when it comes to children’s teeth.

Of course, eliminating sweets for kids would be the ideal solution, but that simply isn’t practical.  Instead, try replacing treats made with sugar - which converts into acid in the mouth - with treats made with xylitol.  Xylitol is a sweetener derived from plant sources such as the Birch tree.  Not only does xylitol not promote tooth decay, it actually helps to inhibit the decay process!  Imagine the next time your little one asks for something sweet, you could hand them a treat which helps protect their new teeth instead of harming them.  Talk about a win-win!

See Your Dentist Without Fail


It’s a catch-22: the dentist appointments no one likes are the ones with bad news, like cavities, fillings and extractions.  But the best way to avoid those appointments is to keep your regular, twice-yearly check-up and cleaning times.  Putting off regular check-ups only serves to dramatically increase your chances of facing the drill down the road - so if you, or your child, doesn’t like going to the dentist, the best thing you can do is...go to the dentist regularly.

Children’s Dental Health Month is the perfect time to commit to a great oral hygiene routine for kids, including brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist.  While you’re at it, swap out some of those sugar-filled treats for xylitol-based sweets that can help protect children’s teeth against tooth decay.  Your kids - and their dentist - will love you for it!