A Smiling Kind of Summer- Xylitol

A smiling kind of summer NHR cover (use this one)by Chris Edwards, DDS

National Health Review

With longer days and the kids at home, summer provides the perfect opportunity for dental care. A good dental checkup will examine newly erupted teeth and evaluate the pits and fissures where cavities are likely to form.

Your dentist may use the Diagnodent Laser Cavity Detector to discover cavities before they can even be seen or felt with the dental pick. Early diagnosis enables the use of simple air abrasion restorations and sealants to prevent future decay.
 A deeper cavity means a larger filling, which means a weaker tooth and higher probability for future problems that may require procedures, such as crowns, root canals and extractions. Never wait for cavities to grow before taking care of them, for the best approach to fillings is to not need them.

Early detection is the key. As your children age, sealants need to be monitored, as they have a likelihood of chipping off.

For children, a good cleaning should include oral health instruction, since using proper techniques for brushing and flossing will help with plaque control. The less plaque on your teeth, the less acid there is in your mouth. The less acid in your mouth, the higher the pH. The higher the pH, the less chance for cavities.
Bacteria thrive on sugar and processed food products, which create the acidic situation in the mouth. This acidic state is very damaging to the teeth. Fruits, vegetables and Xylitol products promote a more basic pH, which promotes a healthy oral environment. A combination of daily brushing and flossing with a healthy low sugar diet is a recipe for success. Supplementing with a daily regime of Xylitol can also help with plaque buildup, raising the pH and even remineralizing the teeth.

Impacted wisdom (those that remain partially or completely entrapped within the soft tissue and  or the jawbone) are very common in teens and young adults between 15 and 21. A dental examination, together with a panoramic X-ray, will determine if these teeth need to be extracted. Again, time is of the essence here, for the optimal time for extraction of a wisdom tooth that will become impacted is when the root is half-formed, often years before there is pain. Because the extraction may require up to a week or two for full recuperation, summer may be the best time to undergo this procedure.

Summer is also an ideal time to start orthodontic treatment, giving the patient time to acclimate to the braces.

Visiting the dentist is probably not your child’s idea of a great time, but carving out some time for dental care during the summer will give your youngster something to smile about during the school year!


Dr. Edwards graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and Temple University School of Dentistry. He completed a general practice residency at the Queens Medical Center in Honolulu. To reach Dr. Edwards you may call 321-751-7775 or visit