Showing posts with label dental hygiene. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dental hygiene. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Dirt Tooth Powder: A Review for Those Tired of Toothpaste

What on Earth Is The Dirt?

I first saw The Dirt advertised on a website I was visiting and I was intrigued. I discovered it was a more natural way to clean my teeth than the Sensodyne toothpaste I'd been using for decades. I had never really liked all the chemicals it was putting in my mouth. The Dirt is different.

The Dirt Tooth Powder: A Review for Those Tired of Toothpaste
Get The Dirt Here!

Why Do I Like The Dirt Better than Toothpaste?

The Container: We could start with the tube. First, a tube is rather awkward to store. You want it handy, but it never really looks neat on the counter, even when you can stand it on its head. It isn't a great fit for a medicine cabinet, either. Then there's that old controversy about whether or not it should be rolled up or just squeezed. When you have old arthritic hands, either method can be a literal pain.

The Dirt container is just a little over two inches in diameter. It takes almost no space on the counter and the cap screws on and off. Easy-peasy! And it is also attractively packed. I prefer the three-month jar you see in my photo, but you can get a six-month supply in a little glass mason jar that also looks nice on a bathroom counter. Click through to the website to see all the sizes, flavors, and container styles for The Dirt, as well as a complete list of the ingredients.

The taste: The Dirt is clay-based and has all natural ingredients. The taste I chose is a pleasant but mild orange cinnamon spice flavor -- a bit like the original Constant Comment Tea I love so much. (By the way, Amazon has a great price on Constant Comment if you buy a four-pack.) I like the taste of The Dirt much better than the chemical taste of most toothpastes I've tried, including Sensodyne. If it makes a difference to you, The Dirt is also a Paleo tooth powder.

Remineralization: The Dirt helps remineralize your teeth. It also helps whiten them and it does this gently. There are more details when you click through to the product page. See link under photo below.

The Dirt Tooth Powder: A Review for Those Tired of Toothpaste
Get The Dirt Here!

How Do You Use The Dirt?

First you wet the toothbrush and shake off the excess water. I use the Waterpik Sonic Toothbrush that is part of this set.

I tilt the jar a bit so that I can easily dip the entire bristle surface into The Dirt. Then I gently dip the wet brush into the tooth powder and shake the excess back into the jar. Your brush will look a bit like mine in the photos. Brush your teeth as usual. When you are through brushing, rinse your mouth out with water to remove any remaining tooth powder from your mouth. While you're at it, use some of that water to rinse the tooth powder residue from the sink. Then enjoy how fresh your mouth feels. 

My Results

My dentist had told me when I was in college that I should use Sensodyne because of my receding gums that make my teeth really sensitive. At the time -- think back over fifty years -- there wasn't much else on the market to do the job. The Dirt wasn't around back then. I used Sensodyne regularly for all of these fifty plus years. My teeth are still sensitive and I still get cavities. Would it have been worse if I'd brushed my teeth with something else? Who knows?

In the four months I have used The Dirt I have not noticed my teeth getting more sensitive. I chose The Dirt because it is supposed to actually remineralize the teeth. I still need to see my dentist to see if my teeth have gotten any worse by changing. They don't feel any worse than they did before. But my mouth feels cleaner after brushing that it did before.

About a month ago I ran out of The Dirt and had to go back to Sensodyne while waiting for my order to come in. What I noticed was that my mouth got sore when I switched back. It's possible that I was sensitive to one of the chemicals in the Sensodyne. After a couple of days, though, the soreness went away.

What's Not to Love?

Actually, not much. One fault I might find is that the color of The Dirt traces still on my white sink after I brush are really visible. I take care of that easily with a quick rinse after brushing or a swish of a sponge. It doesn't stain the sink. It will, however, be likely to change the color of your toothbrush. You need to thoroughly rinse it after each use to remove all residue, but even then there still may be a tinge of color left.

The only other thing is that when you are almost out of tooth powder, it takes some creativity to get the entire brush surface covered with The Dirt. That's why slanting the jar is so important. If I'd thought ahead I could have taken care of that problem by reordering The Dirt before I ran out. Then I could have put what was left in the old container right onto the top of the new.

These are small inconveniences I don't mind  in exchange for the clean fresh feeling in my mouth after I brush using The Dirt. I hope you will try it for yourself. Why not order today while you're thinking about it?

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Xylitol Makes Life Sweeter As It Protects Your Teeth: A Review

Why Xylitol Is Now My Preferred Sweetener

Although I try to avoid sugar, I do like to make food sweeter sometimes. I don't want to use artificial sweeteners like saccharin because I consider them unhealthy and many have an unpleasant aftertaste. I was delighted to discover Xylitol. I can sweeten foods and drinks while improving my dental health instead of destroying it.

Jarrow Formulas XyliPure, Supports Gastrointestinal Health, 454 gJarrow Formulas XyliPure, Supports Gastrointestinal Health, 454 g

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that the body can metabolize without using insulin. It has the same kind of sweetness as sugar, and I've never noticed an aftertaste. 

It produces a lower glycemic response than either glucose or sucrose (table sugar.) That's why it is the sweetener of choice for many diabetics. 

Xylitol has 40% of sugar's calories -- about 10 calories per teaspoon, and about 95% of sugar's sweetness. The Jarrow brand I have shown you here is a non-GMO product and is appropriate for vegans and vegetarians. It is for humans only. It can be fatal to dogs or birds. 

For more scientific information on the chemistry of Xylitol, check this Wikipedia article on Xylitol. 

My Dentist Introduced Me to Xylitol because It Helps Prevent Tooth Decay

I had four root canals at the beginning of this year. My dentist knew I needed better preventive care, so she told me about the positive effects of Xylitol on dental health. Xylitol doesn't break down in the same way sugar does. It keeps bacteria from sticking to your teeth and also helps your mouth maintain a healthy neutral pH level. This makes it better for dental health than Stevia, another natural sweetener.

Other Benefits of Xylitol

When I first started using Xylitol, I thought it was only helpful for improving dental health. I've since learned that it may also increase collagen synthesis and make bones stronger and skin smoother.  Those are really great side effects.

I was quite surprised to discover that Xylitol also has decreased the rates of acute ear infections in some children who attend day care. It appears that this happens when the children chew Xylitol gum. Why? Because it decreases the bacteria in the mouth that can contribute to these infections.   

How I Use Xylitol

I get my Xylitol in four ways:

  1. Xylitol Powder
  2. Xylitol Gum
  3. Xylitol Candy
  4. Basic Bites
The first Xylitol products I used were the expensive ones my dentist recommended. Once I discovered that I could get other brands cheaper on Amazon, I decided to try them. I've not been disappointed. I am perfectly happy with the Jarrow Brand of Xylitol power and I've signed up for automatic shipments on Amazon. Others may prefer the Xylitol brands made from birch. I'm assuming that mine is made from corn, but it's non-GMO, so I don't care.

 I like to mix about a cup of Xylitol power with a couple of tablespoons of cinnamon and keep it handy to sweeten toast and cereal. I sprinkle this mixture on the power breakfast I eat almost every morning since I often leave the dates out now. The dates used to supply most of the sweetness. See the recipe I invented here.

Xylitol Makes Life Sweeter As It Protects Your Teeth: A Review
My Homemade Power Breakfast of Oatmeal, Fruit, and Nuts Topped with Xylitol and Cinnamon,                             © B. Radisavljevic

I sometimes put plain Xylitol in an especially sour herbal tea. Normally, though, I don't sweeten tea. 

My dentist recommended Dr. John's brand Xylitol powder, gums, and candies, so I tried that brand first. I've not yet used it all. I am not in the habit of chewing gum but do it now for my dental health. Dr. John's gum flavor only lasts for about the first minute of chewing. I've also tried Dr. John's Luscious Licorice™. but it's quite expensive compared to the other brands on Amazon I'd like to try next.  It's good, but just too expensive. I'm not fond enough of hard candies anyway to keep buying them. Other brands of Xylitol powder, candy and gum appear to be a better value, and when I run out of my current supply I'll be trying them. As you can see above I've now switched to Jarrow Xylitol Powder. It's cheaper and I notice no difference in flavor. 

Both my husband and I use Basic Bites chocolate chews because my dentist recommended them for use twice a day after brushing and flossing. They contain Xylitol, but it's the last ingredient, not the first. Cocoa powder is the third ingredient. It's soft and chewy and designed to coat the teeth to protect them against bacteria and to prevent dry mouth. It's also quite tasty. It's now a different formula than when we first bought it and is now packaged in a bag instead of the container I pictured. I transfer it into that container when I open a bag.  Click the link for the complete ingredient list of the new formula. We liked the old formula, which also had coconut oil and more Xylitol, better. 

My husband uses OraCoat XyliMelts at bedtime to keep his mouth moist as he sleeps. He uses a CPAP machine and that dries out his mouth. Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay. At night he sticks one of the XyliMelts on a molar or a gum and it increases saliva, freshens breath, and keeps his mouth moist. He skips the Basic Bites at night most of the time now and uses the XyliMelts instead. He still uses Basic Bites after breakfast.

 XyliMelts are designed to be used when you sleep and they last about 3-8  hours when used at bedtime. They last about half that time when used during the day. They are discreet and don't affect clarity of speech when you are awake. you can even use them if you have dentures or braces. 

Xylitol Vs Sugar

Xylitol has many advantages over sugar for people who need to watch their weight or lower their glycemic response to food. It's not quite as sweet as sugar but is sweet enough to satisfy me as a sugar substitute. It has less calories than sugar, and as noted above it can help prevent tooth decay whereas sugar can cause it. 

Sugar is cheaper in the short run, but over the long haul, it may cost thousands of dollars in dental expenses that consistent use of Xylitol products might make unnecessary. I wish I'd been using it over the past few years. I might have saved the over $20,000 we spent on my four root canals this year.

Since I started using Xylitol, I haven't touched my sugar bowl. Although I rarely bake anymore, I could substitute Xylitol for sugar in my baked goods in equal amounts. According to National Geographic it is one of the two best substitutes for sugar in baking. It cannot be used in recipes like candies where it would need to liquify or caramelize.

Xylitol Makes Life Sweeter As It Protects Your Teeth: A Review
Image Created in PicMonkey by Barb Radisavljevic

If You Try Xylitol, I Think You'll Like It

I hope I've convinced you Xylitol may be a good way to enjoy sweetness while helping to prevent cavities and promote healthy teeth. Use instead of sugar to sweeten beverages and cereals to reduce calories. Chew a bit of Xylitol gum or suck on a hard Xylitol candy after eating snacks between meals when you don't normally brush. Use Basic Bites after you brush and floss at night, and use ZyliMelts to prevent dry mouth while you sleep -- especially if you use a CPAP machine.

Xylitol has become a sweet part of our dental hygiene regime. Why not order some to try now and see what it will do for you? It's made a big difference to us. 

A Parting Word of Caution

Although Xylitol has many benefits, as I've shown above, we can still get too much of a good thing. The label on my Xylitol container states that if I consume more than 25 grams a day, I might get diarrhea. This is because Xylitol doesn't completely break down during digestion. One can gradually build up to a higher tolerance level, but one probably doesn't need so many sweets anyway. 

Xylitol is not toxic to humans, but it is TOXIC TO DOGS. You need to be sure you don't put it into foods they might be tempted to eat. You would not want to use it in a hummingbird feeder, either.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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