Xylitol & Preventing Tooth Decay | Manhattan Beach Dentist

479328903Many patients like to take the extra steps to maintain good oral health and hygiene. Have you ever seen advertisements for sugar free gum that claim to help your teeth and wondered whether or not it actually works? It turns out, many of those products actually do work, and one of the reasons why is a common sugar replacement called Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, a natural, sweet substance often used to sweeten foods without the caloric impact of sugar. While Xylitol is sweet, it doesn’t have the same impact on your body as sugar. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including many fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine.

First, Xylitol starves the bacteria in your mouth of food. Where the normal bacteria on your mouth responsible for cavities (streptococcus mutans) feeds on sugar, it can not feed on Xylitol – chewing sugar free gum containing Xylitol not only doesn’t feed this damaging bacteria, but it allows your body to wash away the sugar. Over time, fewer and fewer bacteria will live in the mouth, and less plaque will form.

The most common sources of Xylitol in sufficient quantities for dental impact is in gum and mint products. While replacing sugar with any Xylitol will help avoid feeding the streptococcus mutans bacteria, if Xylitol is listed as the first ingredient, it likely has enough to actually decrease decay-causing bacteria over time if chewed regularly, perhaps 3-5 times per day for 5 minutes at a time.

Xylitol has been approved as safe by the US FDA and World Health Organization, but like most things in life, should be taken in moderation. While common in foods such as gum and mints, it’s also available over the internet directly – care should be taken, as too much Xylitol can be difficult for your body to digest, and can have  fiber-like laxative properties.  While chewing gum a few times per day may take effort, it’s a great, cheap, simple way to keep your teeth clean, and help fight off cavities.

Research has shown that the use of xylitol also helps repair damage to the enamel. Saliva in itself protects the mouth and teeth. Stimulated saliva in particular contains all the components needed to repair early cavities. The dental benefits of xylitol can have a significant influence on your oral health.

For more information about oral health call Dr. Anthony Yamada in Manhattan Beach, CA at 310-567-2595 or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com.

Dr. Anthony Yamada also proudly accepts patients from Manhattan Beach, Ranchos Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Torrance, Playa Del Rey, and surrounding areas.

Teeth Whitening Options | Manhattan Beach Dentist

close up smile red lipstickMany patients want a brighter smile but do not know how to obtain brighter teeth or even how to go about it.  Many brands of toothpaste claim to whiten teeth, and stores sell all varieties of tooth whitening products – trays, gels, strips, and rinses – over the counter.

The most basic form of teeth whitening is available as toothpaste – toothpaste, whether it’s labeled as whitening or not – typically contains small abrasive components that gently polish the surface of your teeth, removing discoloration caused by surface staining.

Teeth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look. Most dentists perform tooth whitening.

Other over the counter whitening products typically contain a bleaching agent – such as hydrogen peroxide – to lighten the color of your teeth by chemically bleaching them.  By applying the bleaching chemical to strips or trays, the peroxide can stay in contact with your teeth for 30 minutes at a time, often twice a day, providing quite a bit of whitening benefit.

Bleaching is a common and popular chemical process used to whiten teeth. Some people get their teeth bleached to make stains disappear, while other just want a whiter shade. Discoloration occurs in the enamel and can be caused by medication, coffee, tea and cigarettes. Discoloration also can be hereditary or due simply to getting older. Bleaching can be performed by your dentist in the office or, under dental supervision, at home. Many patients enjoy bleaching at home because it is more convenient. Treatment begins when your dentist creates a custom mouthpiece to ensure the correct amount of whitening solution is used and that your teeth are properly exposed. Typically, whitening at home takes two to four weeks, depending on the desired shade you wish to achieve. Whitening in the office may call for one or more 45-minute to one-hour visits to your dentist’s office.

Your dentist, however, can typically offer two different whitening options. The first is take-home tray based, using chemicals stronger than over-the-counter trays, but working on the same basic principle. Often times dentist provided trays are custom-molded to the patients teeth, providing a smooth, comfortable fit suitable for wearing for multiple hours each day – often even overnight.  Beyond the trays, dentists can often perform whitening in the office, using light and heat activated bleaching chemicals, providing a significant whitening in as little as 60 minutes. Because the procedure is supervised by a dentist, much stronger chemicals can be used, and much more dramatic results can be seen almost immediately.

No matter which method of teeth whitening you choose, the results will likely not be permanent. Your teeth are exposed to foods and drinks that will stain them over time, but your dentist can advise you on the proper procedure for repeating the whitening process at regular intervals.

If you feel your teeth would benefit from whitening, contact your dentist to discuss the available procedures.

For more information about whitening and oral health call Dr. Anthony Yamada in Manhattan Beach, CA at 310-567-2595 or visit www.anthonyyamadadds.com.

Dr. Anthony Yamada also proudly accepts patients from Manhattan Beach, Ranchos Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Torrance, Playa Del Rey, and surrounding areas.