Xylitol Before Birth
YOUR CHILD’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT SHOULD OCCUR BEFORE BIRTH
As terrifying as that statement may sound to prospective mothers, let me explain. Studies prove that mothers need a healthy mouth BEFORE their babies are born. It’s the best guarantee Junior will have little or no cavities. Experts commonly agree that the mother’s health often determines the baby’s health. Mothers are their baby’s main source for acquiring oral bacteria. Kissing, sharing food and even “cleaning” a pacifier that falls to the floor, introduce bacteria into the infant’s mouth. In my Italian family every newborn was ceremonially coated with saliva of adoring mothers. Now, that’s a good thing as long as they are GOOD bacteria that are being swapped. Let’s face it, kids are germ collectors. It’s what kids do best. Mankind lives in a symbiotic relationship with billions of micro?organisms. We wouldn’t survive without them. 80% of our immune system is located in the G.I. tract. Our intestinal micro?organisms, the GOOD BUGS, play a vital role in its development. Bacteria help us digest our food, make hormones and enzymes. Good bacteria actually suppress the growth of disease causing bacteria! That is, until we do something to upset that balance. The common overuse of antibiotics, especially at an early age can raise havoc with the child’s developing immune system. Protecting the friendly bacteria population in the gut and mouth is critical. Yes, antibiotics do kill the bad guys but the collateral damage kills a lot of good bugs too. Without question, antibiotics can be a lifesaver. But snacking on them like M&Ms can definitely wipe out entire populations of friendly bacteria. Allow your doctor to decide!
Now, getting back to Junior’s before?birth dental visit. Implications are that pregnant moms need a mouthful of GOOD bacteria. Moms?to?be should begin chewing xylitol?sweetened gum and BRUSHING WITH xylitol?based toothpaste, beginning in the third trimester of pregnancy. This will reduce the transmission of bacteria to their babies through the saliva. Xylitol is a NATURAL sugar; it is not an artificial sweetener. It tastes like table sugar and it’s safe for diabetics. It has half as many calories as sugar. Xylitol interferes with the bacteria’s ability to produce acid. And acid is what dissolves your teeth. Acid means lots of cavities! In a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, mothers who use xylitolsweetened products are five times less likely to transmit cavity causing bacteria to their child! Xylitol is also great for those folks with periodontal disease. It makes the teeth slippery so plaque doesn’t stick. A bonus… xylitol reduces ear infections (otitis media) by 42%. A two?year study from Finland reports an 85% reduction in cavity activity simply by replacing all table sugar with xylitol. I like to think of xylitol as an “antibiotic” that targets cavity causing bacteria. And as with all antibiotics, we need to minimize collateral damage. Eating large amounts of xylitol can lead to gas, bloating, and diarrhea. It takes a week or so for the body to adjust to larger quantities of xylitol. However it’s very safe when taken in small amounts throughout the day. The ideal prescription is a quarter teaspoon 5 to 10 times a day. More than that offers no additional benefit.
If you’re expecting a New Addition to the family, and you’ve read this far, consider this bit of information your baby’s first dental visit. Now, how’s that for really painless dentistry?
Stay well…Dr. Bill Ardito, Sunshine Dentistry AZ
855 W. Bell Road, Suite 600
Nogales, AZ 85621