About two weeks ago, I discovered your blog when I was searching for tips to help improve my son's oral hygiene--he has braces and has been having a difficult time getting the plaque off his teeth even with guidance from the ortho techs and with supervision from me. His gums had swollen to the point that they were almost over his brackets. In addition, at his last dental cleaning, the hygienist said there was some decalcification on his teeth due to poor brushing and flossing, and that he would have white spots on his teeth when his braces were removed. I began searching for any solution I could find to help prevent more damage (I had no idea we could possibly reverse the damage already done). I devoured your blog, and immediately revamped our medicine cabinet, replacing our "fancy" toothpastes with plain old original Crest, stocking up on the rinses, and ordering some xylitol--several brands/flavors so I could compare.
My family began using your Clean White Teeth system--the whole shebang--the Closys, the original Crest, the Listerine, the ACT, and the xylitol. I typed up instructions and taped them to our bathroom walls. For the record, I am substituting store brands for the Listerine and ACT, carefully comparing ingredients, in order to save money (which I will discuss more below). I am very pleased with the results I have noticed in so little a period of time. My teeth feel amazing, and my breath is much improved, especially in the morning (I thought "morning breath" was simply a fact of life). I had a dentist checkup yesterday and the cleaning wasn't nearly as bad (painful) as they usually had been, and I am confident that the next time will be even better. The hygienist asked me if I was flossing daily, and I said no (I do it maybe twice a week. My teeth are very close and getting the floss between some of them is a struggle, even with the Glide floss). She checked my gums on the inside of my top teeth after I told her I wasn't flossing every day, and the right side of my mouth had 3mm pockets, which she said was just in the normal range (I think the left side had 1 mm pockets). She insisted I needed to floss daily to prevent bone loss in my jaw. However, from what I have read, bone loss is caused by gum disease and gum disease can be reversed/avoided by your system, yes?
The progress with my son is slow, but I think we are getting there. It's still too early to tell with my son, as far as the appearance of his gums, but he did say his teeth felt cleaner and his gums didn't hurt as much after a few days on the system. He's still missing plaque when he brushes which the ortho tech showed me last week at his visit -- she scraped off some plaque and showed it to us. He brushes for 2 minutes, uses a soft brush and circular motions like the hygienist showed him, and pays special attention to the areas surrounding his braces, but is still having trouble! We'll keep working on it. I am hoping as we continue with the system, the amount of plaque will be reduced and he will have an easier time getting all of it off. My only concern about the system is the expense. I agree that prevention is preferable to treatment, and that my family's health is paramount, but the expense is quite prohibitive when one is treating a family of four that is concurrently digging itself out of debt. I have to balance physical health with financial health, and it is a challenge.
I mentioned substituting the Listerine and ACT with store brands, and as I said, I'm still having phenomenal results. I know you recommend the system exactly as stated, but as I said, I have to balance my family's physical health with our financial health. Perhaps in the future when our financial situation is better, I will upgrade to the store brands to see if there is any difference. I just thought you might like to hear from a "guinea pig" testing store brands on herself and having success ;-) As for the CloSYS, I wanted to share with your readers that Walgreens is currently offering it on sale through February 26th -- $3 off. The box I purchased contained a coupon for $2 off, which I applied to my next purchase, for a total of $5 off the second box. In addition, yesterday I discovered that the CloSYS website offers $3 off coupons that can be printed from your computer (up to 4 coupons per month). I plan to stock up this month to save.
As for the Zellies, I want to tell you that I have purchased several xylitol "mints" in different flavors and brands, hoping to find the best yet least expensive solution. Comparing Zellies, Spry, and Ricochet brands, I have to say, as far as texture goes, Zellies win by a mile. They are long-lasting and full of flavor. I liked the flavors of the others as well, but the Ricochet dissolve very quickly (thus not staying in the mouth as long), and the Spry are only moderately less expensive. I was lucky enough to find the mint flavored Zellies at a local grocery store for $9.99, which is quite a bit cheaper than online (taking shipping into account), but it appears this store will shortly stop carrying them, as yesterday I saw the remainder of the supply on clearance (so I purchased some at $6.99 per bottle, saving even more :-) ).
The recommended amount of Zellies is 13 mints per day (for 6.5 grams of xylitol). Multiply this by four, as there are four in our family, and that by 30, for a month's supply, and that comes to 1,560 mints per month, which would require 7 bottles of Zellies per month. At $12.50 a bottle, this comes to $87.50 per month, and that doesn't take into account shipping. Just for the mints, not including the CloSYS and the Listerine and the ACT. As that $87.50+ has to come out of our food budget, sadly I don't see us being able to afford the Zellies, or even the Spry. I'm looking for the least expensive solution.
I'm sure many others would like to commit fully to your system, but when it's cheaper (with health insurance) to get a filling each month than to buy a month's worth of Zellies, the expense just doesn't seem feasible. However, having tried your system and having noticed such a huge difference already, I am committed to doing as much as we can reasonably afford.
What do you think of simply taking a 1/2 teaspoonful of pure xylitol crystals (which would be 2 grams of xylitol), and kind of swishing it around in the mouth after meals, rubbing it onto the teeth with your tongue? That would get 3 exposures of xylitol per day, and another 1/4 teaspoon could be consumed after a snack or at some other time of day, to get a total of 7 grams per day. I found NOW xylitol crystals on amazon.com for $17.39 for 2 1/2 lbs. (if 2 bags were purchased, it would qualify for free shipping). A 2 1/2 lb. bag would supply a total of 1,130 grams of xylitol, enough to supply a family of 4 for 43 days. It tastes almost exactly like sugar, so I don't think I'd have any trouble getting the kids to take it. The kids are at school during the day, so dissolving it in a glass of water for them to sip all day isn't possible. Perhaps as time passes, xylitol will become more popular and the cost of it will decrease, allowing your company to reduce the price of Zellies enough to make it affordable for people in all financial situations. After all, sugar is less than $5 for 5 lbs! Until that day, however, I have to make do any way I can. I'll reserve the Zellies for when we are away from home and for an occasional "treat." They really are good, very high quality mints.
At any rate, I was just hoping to share with others some ways of saving money while sticking as closely to your system as possible. I am truly grateful to you for sharing this information with the public.
A couple of questions, if you don't mind. I have noticed some white discoloration on my teeth just at the gum-line. I am assuming these are areas of demineralization due to my previous poor dental hygiene habits? They are not tartar, as I just had my teeth professionally cleaned and they are still there. Should I expect these areas to return to their "normal" color over time as I continue on the system? Also, after checking my x-rays and my mouth with the probe, the dentist said I had no cavities, but I have noticed some dark spots on the chewing surface of one of my molars, and on the side of another (in that little crevice on the side of the molar). Are these areas of cavities that are beginning to form? I didn't think to ask at the dentist, and neither he nor the hygienist mentioned them, which suggests they aren't concerned by them. Might I expect those to go away as time passes on your system? Thanks so much!
I think you are doing an excellent job !
You will read in my book that using granular xylitol will be fine - you can mix and match to your heart's content - and of course, suit your lifestyle.
It sounds as if your son is in great need of good xylitol - so make sure he has enough exposures and frequency.
I am also wondering what he drinks? Soda, sports drinks?
It would be good if he could have a Zellie to eat after every drink he has - even at school.
Until his gums return to normal it is essential that he has enough xylitol each day.
The granular xylitol can certainly keep costs down -
A one pound bag will give you about 100 teaspoons - enough for one person for three months!
Be warned - check the labels - some companies add silica ( sand) to their xylitol and others mix it will cheaper sweeteners - not pure xylitol.
Zellies xylitol is from birch trees and is US derived - the very best - of course!
Truly - find whatever you can that works for your xylitol - but don't scrimp on the ACT nor on the Listerine.
ACT is usually cheapest in Target - and Listerine can be purchased by the gallon in some of the superstores like BJs or the equivalent.
Cut down on the amount you use each time - only half as much will still work as well as filling the little cup to the brim.
But use the right stuff or you will be missing out.
Although the active ingredients are the same, the inactive ingredients are not - and you will have a lesser effect.
(my book explains why).
Try the real thing - then you will notice the difference with the store brands.
If you start with the substitute - you will never know the difference.
I have tried to digest your entire story and do a little investigative thinking as to why your son is not being successful.
I think you need to ensure he has a good toothbrush.
Also he should keep this brush very clean - and be aware that toilet bacteria can infect gums.
This is why you MUST keep your toothbrush away from any toilet area - and clean brushes daily - never store in bags.
Allow the brush to dry completely between uses.
Finally - If you want Meijers to keep Zellies I will need your help.
I would love to keep the product in Meijers - but it did not sell well enough when it was first introduced last summer.
I wish they had put mint and fruit Zellies - but they only stocked the mint mints.
I need you and all your friends, dentists and anyone else to write notes to Meijers. Do you have a Facebook page? Let's ask them NOT to stop Zellies!
You are obviously in need of my help - and I need yours to stay in Meijers!!
Let's work together and get your oral health perfect - and pressure Meijers to keep Zellies on their shelves!!
Thanks so much for your message,
Dr. Ellie Phillips DDS
Solutions for Oral Health