Xylitol gel for the dental care of people with special needs, disabilities etc.

Xylitol gel has been newly developed and consists of xylitol sugar and other ingredients (water, glycerinum, hydroxyethyl cellulose, silicea1 and natural aromas). Thanks to xylitol gel, the beneficial effects of xylitol can now easily be extended to people unable to take care of their own teeth and with whom normal dental hygiene measures cannot be administered from the outside. This can be persons with mental or physical disabilities,  stroke victims, people living in nursing care facilities, or unconscious hospital patients.

In all these cases, xylitol gel can be used as a toothpaste and brush substitute by spreading 1-2 cm of xylitol gel between cheek/lips and teeth, i.e. on the outer and if possible inner surfaces of the teeth, 2-3 times a day (you can move your finger for instance from left to right and all around, for hygienic reasons you may wish to put rubber gloves).

The high xylitol content of the gel together with its viscous and sticky consistency which allows the xylitol to adhere to the tooth surfaces for many hours, enables the same positive xylitol effects to be reached that we already know from "normal" xylitol applications. In this way, xylitol gel provides a most simple way of stopping the tooth decay which otherwise would  be unavoidable in the above segment of the population.

This simple and easily learned but highly effective procedure can also be administered by nursing staff, care workers etc. and will be crowned by magnificent success. The invention of xylitol gel with high xylitol content has allowed to solve another serious problem concerning many people in the above categories, since without efficient dental care, they will develop tooth decay at the edge of their gums within 6 to 9 months, which frequently results in their teeth breaking off.

Beware: xylitol gel is relatively extremely expensive, so attempts at making your own could be worth your while. Incidentally, in a pinch one can simply apply xylitol sugar or powder to the teeth which likely is much less effective due to its lack of adherence, but will help some.

Xylitol for cleansing dentures, positioners, mouthguards and orthodontic appliances (dental braces)

Mouth protectors and similar devices can be superbly cleansed and kept odour-free with xylitol, for instance by allowing them to soak in a 10 to 20 percent xylitol water solution.
If you have xylitol gel available, you can apply it to the device before putting it into your mouth.

Put xylitol in a bottle (or your teapot) to sip during the day

In addition to rinsing with xylitol, a wonderfully simple and effective way of incorporating xylitol into your daily routine is adding it to your daily pre-pepared ration of water or herbal tea. So whenever you have a sip, you not only hydrate yourself and your mouth (an important anti-caries measure in itself3), but you also treat your teeth and gums to the added dental benefits of xylitol.

Xylitol as appetite suppressant?

There is indeed a study on the appetite-curbing effect of xylitol ("Evaluation of the independent and combined effects of xylitol and polydextrose consumed as a snack on hunger and energy intake over 10 d.", found at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16022761?dopt=Abstract). Anecdotal observations seem to indicate that even the "standard dose" of half a teaspoon of xylitol recommended by dentist Dr. Bruhn will frequently suffice to stop the hunger for sweets.

Sour fruit: make them more tooth-friendly with xylitol

Sour foods and drinks attack the tooth enamel2 and many will be those who can actually feel it immediately after eating by their tooth necks having become sensitive. This could well be entirely avoidable by eating sour fruit only with some xylitol added.

Make your own mouthwash and tooth powder with xylitol

A particularly delicious variation of using xylitol consists in making your own mouthwash using xylitol, water and essential oils (such as peppermint, fennel, rosemary etc., whenever possible in certified organic  quality), then dipping your finger in and applying several times a day to teeth and gums. Mmmmh! If you make your own tooth powder (or use one bought at the store), you can sweeten  for instance bitter-tasting herbal powders with xylitol  and thus make them more palatable. (This is not meant as a substitute for rinsing and brushing with xylitol, but as an addition.)

Footnotes

1 "Silicea" is a proprietary liquid preparation in which microscopic particles of silica are so finely dispersed in water that a gel is formed.

2 Compare Foods and drinks that can damage your teeth.

3 Compare Tooth remineralisation & demineralisation, saliva & pH.

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