A Sugar That Is Good For Your Teeth?


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I think it is safe to say that for many of us, going to the dentist can be one of the least favorite things to do.  As a kid growing up in the 60’s, I never have forgotten that horrible taste of  fluoride, nor those bulky metal clamps with the cotton swabs attached to the jaw, yikes…those were the days!

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America’s Dental Hygienist, Shirley Gutkowski

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing America’s Dental Hygienist, Shirley Gutkowksi on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio. Shirley is a career dental hygienist and a champion of Minimally Invasive dental hygiene. Her outlook is years ahead of the leading edge and has proven staying power.  Shirley has written  a series of articles on oral care for Diabetes Self-Management. Shirley knows teeth…Just look at her great smile! 

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Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos

With the advances in medicine, there has been tremendous advances in dentistry too.  Having good dental hygiene is paramount to controlling other potential health calamities, especially in seniors.  Yet there was one product that Shirley mentioned that really threw me for a loop, Xylitol.  Using Xylitol or as Shirley calls the product, “magical sugar’ reduces the amount of “bio mass’ on the teeth.  By reducing  one’s ‘bio mass’ on teeth can decrease the occurrences of: 

One of the other benefits of using Xylitol is that it often helps with hydration, which we know is critical to  everyone good health and well-being!

As Caregivers, we know that sometimes it can be difficult to take your Caree to the dentist, especially when you and your Caree might be struggling with Dementia or Parkinson’s.  Shirley suggests:

  • Schedule appointment during a time of day when you know your car will respond well
  • Inform your dental hygienist prior to your appointment of the state of your Caree’s teeth so the proper amount of time can be scheduled for proper cleaning
  • Be proactive in your Caree’s dental hygiene

In order to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver‘ we have to be open to new experiences.  Sometimes that means thinking outside the box and our comfort zone.  Today’s dentistry is nothing like it was when I was a kid, so our thought process has to be different, too.  I never thought I would ever hear a dental hygienist use the word sugar and teeth cleaning in the same sentence; but I did this week  and learned about a new product that can help everyone!

To hear my entire interview with Shirley, simply click here!

Listen to Shirley on Cross Links Radio, simply click here! 

After some research on Xylitol I found: 

Xylitol’s preventive and therapeutic benefits

  • Helps prevent tooth decay by reducing plaque formation
  • Blocks the acids that demineralize tooth enamel
  • Halts the growth of acid producing bacteria
  • Reduces gingival inflammation
  • Has a glycemic level of 7, which does not trigger an insulin reaction in the body, making it useful for diabetics
  • Has 40% fewer calories than sugar.
  • Raises the pH level to be more alkaline

Listen to

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Tuesday’s at 1:00 pm & Thursday’s at 8:00 pm.  To access all of our episodes of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ simply click here! 

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Filed under Be A Healthy Caregiver, Dental Hygiene

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