Eat Happy!

Eat Happy!

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**The information provided in this BLOG is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness. This information should never replace the advice of a doctor. Please use this information as you see fit. This information will pertain differently to each child, each adult, and each family.**

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mucous........ Retching......... Xylitol

I would like to take a moment to talk about Xylitol.  I have decided, as a dental hygienist, that it is time for me to share some information that is not nearly as public as it should be.  I have taken numerous courses on this topic and feel that it has a multitude of benefits to mothers, children, asthmatics, allergy suffers, those with recurrent infections, as well as the average individual who gets the occasional cold.  In a sense, xylitol can help all of us.
Over the years of schooling and continuing education courses, many leaders in the field, including Anne Guignon and Amy Nieves, have brought forward information pertaining to xylitol and biofilms that other hygienists and medical personnel have placed in the corner.
**This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness.  This information should never replace the advice of a doctor.  As a dental hygienist, I am well versed in the medical realm and the world of xylitol; however, as a dental hygienist holding a license in the state of Virginia, I am not licensed to diagnosis.  Please use this information as you see fit.  This information will pertain differently to each child, each adult, and each family.**
***Please also be aware that this information is gathered from a collection of resources throughout my education.  Anne Guignon, Amy Nieves, and the authors of the booklets are listed below as resources.  This information is copyrigted and should not be used without the acknowledgement of their research.***
And now, on with the information...
Xylitol was founded back in Finland during WWII.  During the war, Fins needed a sugar that was easily available and affordable within their own country.  Within the birch trees, they discovered a 5 carbon sugar called xylitol.  Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, much like sorbitol and mannitol.  This particular sugar, while tasting as sweet as sucrose, it metabolized differently and is much healthier for the body: upper respiratory, systemic, and dental.
Here are some interesting facts:


1) Helps prevent bacteria from forming Biofilms
**Biofilms are three dimensional gatherings of bacteria that adhere to a surface within the body.  They continue to irritate and grow as they flourish.  They are multi-layered and create “slime.”  They are present in 60% of chronic wounds and infections.  They are resistant to antibiotics and create a barrier to healing.**
The bacteria that form these destructive biofilms process xylitol poorly, and hence promote the flourishing of healthy bacteria throughout the upper respiratory tract and the mouth.  The xylitol disrupts the biofilm integrity and creates a more neutral and healing ph.


2) Cleansing Properties
The xylitol also help to wash and cleanse the upper respiratory tract.  The xylitol inhibits the growth of certain bacteria, such as streptococcus pneumoniae, that cause ear infections and other respiratory infections.  By washing the passageways, the bacteria are unable to stick and create biofilms.  Thus, the eustachian tubes, throat, and nasal canals remain clearer.
While helping the sinuses, the xylitol helps to “unstick” bacteria and naturally washing away the biofilms.  The biofilm is the slime that creates upper respiratory troubles in many cases.  It can also remove other pollutants, thus helping asthma and allergy sufferers.  It is also important to mention that these types of bacteria are usually antibiotic resistant.  These bacteria that are removed by xylitol are anaerobic, meaning they thrive without oxygen.  Antibiotics do not kill anaerobic bacteria.  This is why some people with recurrent upper respiratory problems and/ or recurrent ear infections are unable to find relief with antibiotics.
**The above statement is in no way intended to poo-poo antibiotics.  They are a wonderful part of medicine and certainly have their place.  However, I feel that often times they are “over-used” and are considered a “blanket” to cure all things.  Please be aware that both xylitol AND antibiotics are important in medical illnesses.**


3) Blood Sugar and Diet
Another awesome fact about xylitol is it has an extremely low glycemic index, which ranges from 1-100.  The glycemic index of xylitol is 7.  This means that it is a great way to help hypoglycemia, and stabilize blood sugar.  Diabetics, of course, should always check with their healthcare provider before adding, or substituting xylitol into their diets.


4) Dental Benefits
Xylitol is also an important way to fight cavities.  As a 5 carbon sugar, xylitol is processed differently by the bacteria inside your mouth.  It helps keep teeth strong and helps with dry mouth as well.  The xylitol reduces the biofilm build-up on the teeth, often referred to as “plaque.”  IN such, it decreases the occurrence of cavities.
NOW, as it pertains to Ian and some special needs children...
Ian was recently diagnosed with chronic sinusitis.  He had previously been treated for colds and the likes, but apparently, they left behind biofilms that continued to grow.  He then, gathered acute bacteria on top of that.  While taking the antibiotic helps with the acute infection, xylitol can also offer benefits to the more chronic biofilms that form in the passageways.  If only taking the antibiotic, the body “heals” by getting rid of the acute problem at hand, but leaves behind the growing biofilms that make him more susceptible to catching the acute trouble-causing bacteria.
We started giving Ian xylitol through a nasal spray and it has helped tremendously.  We used to do it occasionally, but regular use is the best way.  It helps Ian keep his passageways clear, since he already struggles with both mucous formed by his hypersensitive vagus nerve and issues with post-nasal drip not getting past his Nissen stomach surgery.  As a result, all the “dripping” backs up in his throat and creates retching and gagging, and vomiting of mucous.
The xylitol helps keep biofilms at bay, and helps to clean out all the “gunk” that has formed in the back of his upper respiratory tract that the antibiotics are unable to remove.  We also use a toothpaste gel that has xylitol in it to help with his acid levels from vomiting.  The xylitol helps give him a neutral ph and helps prevent erosion of his teeth and cavities from all the vomit.
Xylitol comes in many forms.  I have listed some sites below and company names.  Feel free to browse around and let me know if you have any questions.  Overall, I feel as thought xylitol has helped reduce Ian’s retching and gagging, and decreased the amount of mucous forming that has been causing him so much trouble.  As a dental hygienist, this information had been in front of me all along, I simply never placed all the pieces together.  I hope this information can help others.
**Once again, this information is not appropriate for every person and should be used in conjunction with diagnosticians.  However, please be aware that many medical personnel are “behind-the-times” on xylitol and may offer resistance.  Xylitol is not harmful and the only side effect is a laxative effect over 60+ grams daily usage.**
gums, candies, sprays, mints, supplements, medications, vitamins
4-12 grams daily is sufficient
it should be listed within the first 3 ingredients
*can be fatal in dogs and ferrets*
Resources:
Omnii Products
~ Xylitol pamphlet from wright and lenard
~ Xylitol, an amazing discovery from makinen, jones, an peldyak
~ MID: Minimal Intervention Dentistry. A Vision of Caries Management in the 21st Century Wendy Fitzgerel-Blue RDH, BSDH Amy Nieves, RDH
~ Anne Guignon: what does biofilm have to do with chronic disease, persistent wounds, and recurrent infections... VDHA 4.17.2010 presentation, Richmond, VA~ COPYRIGHT