When I was 12, I had to have surgery during which the doctor removed skin from the roof of my mouth and grafted it onto my lower gums, which had been receding. It wasn’t pleasant. Despite my best efforts, I noticed that it appeared that perhaps my gums were again receding. I take excellent care of my teeth, or so I thought, and I couldn’t understand why this was happening. I feel like, in some ways, some people just have bad luck when it comes to oral health, and that I was one of them, sentenced to a life full of pricey and painful but temporary dental fixes.
I decided I’d make one last stand and try to take matters into my own hands. That’s when I discovered an entire world of dental care items online that you’ll never find at your local drug store or grocery store. Some of them fly in the face of conventional wisdom, and they’re all the better for it.
If you’re looking for an immediate difference, and you’re willing to let go of the idea that Fluoride is the be all, end all of mouth care, your new favorite word will be XYLITOL.
See, I didn’t realize this, what with our fluoridated-water and all, but there are two major schools of thought when it comes to dental care, and they’ve aligned based on...geography? It’s true!
Dentists and hygienists in the U.S. long ago decided, for whatever unclear reason, that Fluoride would be the dental “technology” that they would be backing. Meanwhile, their counterparts in Europe largely believed a different chemical compound known as Xylitol was the superior mouth-cleaning agent. These differing schools of thought have remained firmly entrenched, so much so that each “side’s” resolve seemed to have strengthened to the point where the opposing ingredient began to be viewed as suspect in some way.
So, for decades, or maybe half a century, even, Xylitol didn’t exactly have the best reputation in the U.S. Even today, I’m certain that the majority of dentists and hygienists think of Xylitol as some sort of joke.
And hey, Fluoride does work...to an extent, and it has different benefits, but it certainly does strengthen teeth, and the proof is in the pudding: less cavities. Of course, that’s got more to do with the Fluoride in our actual toothpaste as opposed to the industrial waste masquerading as fluoride in our water. But that’s another matter.
What fluoride is really great at doing is helping to repair enamel. Beyond that, it doesn’t have much use. So, it’s essentially a product that only works after the damage has been done. It doesn’t ever prevent the damage from occurring. That’s where Xylitol comes in. Xylitol helps make the tooth surface less sticky, thereby inhibiting the attachment of damage-causing bacteria. It’s preventative care, and when paired WITH fluoride, you can both repair damage and prevent more of it.
Personally, the real difference between the exclusive use of fluoride or xylitol is in how they help to reduce plaque and treat gums. In my decades of using exclusively fluoride, my gums only continued to deteriorate. In the one year I’ve added xylitol, and specifically the Periactil Precondition Kit (which I believe to be the most advanced formulation of a xylitol product on the market), I’ve had nothing but astonishing improvement.
While xylitol remains widely misunderstood and misrepresented, it deserves to be considered as a serious and effective tool in maintaining mouth health. It boggles the mind to think of the unnecessary cost, pain, and embarrassment it could help patients avoid if it were more widely recognized as such.
I never ended up needing another surgery, and my mouth feels healthier, and looks healthier, than it’s ever been. Stubborn plaque, tooth stains, and puffy gums all disappeared.