Xylitol: The Tooth Friendly Sweetner

Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and taste like sugar. It is found naturally and can be extracted from birch, raspberries, plums, corn and mushrooms. Technically it is not a sugar but a sugar alcohol that is sometimes called wood sugar or birch sugar. Our bodies produce up to 15mg everyday as part of normal metabolism.

Dr. Alvin C. Matthews' Dental BlogThe great benefit of Xylitol in preventing tooth decay was "discovered" in Finland in the early 1970's. Streptococcus Mutans, bacteria found in the mouth, produces toxins and acids that can dissolve teeth when foods with refined sugar [sucrose] are eaten. Xylitol is not fermented by oral bacterial, so it cannot cause cavities [caries]. It works its magic on many levels.

 It inhibits the growth of cavity-producing bacteria S. Mutans and lactobacilli. The number of these acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 90%

 It prevents the transmission of S. Mutans from mother to child

 It reduces the adhesion of plaque to your teeth

 It stimulates salivary flow creating a greater buffer capacity against acids and aiding remineralization of your teeth 

Therapeutically, Xylitol is added to chewing gum or candy. The dosage is critical. To receive tooth decay prevention benefits, you must receive 6-10 grams of Xylitol per day. When reading the label of a Xylitol containing product, Xylitol should be the first sugar listed and, ideally, the only sugar component. To be effective, the Xylitol gum must be utilized several times a day over long periods - 6 months, 1 year and 2 years.

Chewing Xylitol gum after meals is a great alternative when brushing or flossing is not an option. Anybody who is at high risk for dental decay such as people with dry mouths or those with exposed tooth root surfaces should consider this decay prevention therapy.

On a precautionary note - excessive chewing could lead to headaches and/or pain in the TMJ joint near your ear. Don't over do it! Call our office at 623-937-0267 for product recommendations.

 A Bite Out Of History

Phoenix Dentist Alvin C. Matthews, DDSPeople of ancient times believed that the stabbing pain of a toothache was caused by a toothworm, which either had appeared spontaneously or had bored its way into the tooth.  If the tooth pain was severe, it meant that the worm was thrashing about, but if the aching stopped, then the was resting. Cultures all over the world, many of whom had no contact with each other, held stubbornly to this myth. The folklore of the toothworm persisted from ancient times to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

 Folk Cures:

Bee: Honey, a product of bees, was used to coat an infected tooth in the Middle Ages. People smeared their aching teeth with honey and waited all night with tweezers in hand, ready to pluck out the toothworm.

  • Donkey:  In acient Greece, donkey's milk was used as a mouthwash to strengthen the gums and teeth.
  • Frog:  Besides spitting in a frog's mouth for toothache relief, these web-footed creatures were applied to a person's cheek or to the head on the side of the ailing tooth.
  • Onion:  In the Middle Ages a slice of onion was applied to the ear on the side of the aching tooth.

Take a minute to watch our video on the proper way to brush & floss.  

We, at Alvin C. Matthews, DDS Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, are here to help you achieve your health potential.  Feel free to contact us for more information on how to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.  623-937-0267. 



Only Floss the Teeth You Want to Keep 

MPhoenix Dentist Alvin C. Matthews, DDSany people forget to floss and some just don't do it at all.  If you are one of those people, you may want to get into the habit of flossing at least once a day (but twice a day is best).  The same bacteria, known as plaque, which is made of 100% germs that gets on your teeth and causes bad breath is also in between your teeth and under your gum line.  These are areas your toothbrush can only get so far with.  Flossing does not take much time, and picking up the habit will save you a lot of problems when you are older.  It only takes a couple of minutes and can prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.

Flossing needs to start at an early age, and it is important that children learn to floss correctly so that they have healthy teeth.  Children that have started to get their adult teeth need to floss, brush, and have regular teeth cleanings with a dentist too.

After you turn twenty-five, the main reason people lose their teeth is due to this disease.  It is a known fact that brushing your teeth and flossing can prevent this from happening. Even if you have never flossed before or feel it is too late, it is not! You can prevent future damage.  Once periodontal disease starts, it's hard to stop, so pick up some floss and start making it a habit to floss at least once a day.

 Take a minute to watch our video on the proper way to brush & floss.  

We, at Alvin C. Matthews, DDS Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, are here to help you achieve your health potential.  Feel free to contact us for more information on how to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.  623-937-0267. 



Risk decay! 

Phoenix Dentist Alvin C. Matthews, DDS


Americans are consuming foods and drinks high is sugar more often and in larger portions that ever before.  It’s clear that “junk” foods and drinks gradually have replaced nutritious beverages and foods for many people. The average teenage boy drinks 81 gallons of soft drinks per year.  The average teenage girl drinks 61 gallons.  Alarmingly, a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks, including sports drinks, can ruin teeth, especially among those who snack throughout the day.  Common activities may be contributing to the tendency toward tooth decay.  These include “grazing” habitually on foods with minimal nutritional value, and frequently sipping on sugary drinks.


Sugar mixed with bacteria in your mouth produces acid.  This acid attacks your enamel for up to 20 minutes. When sugar is consumed over and over again, the harmful effect on teeth can be dramatic.  And when a tooth decays, the enamel does not grow back. The only option once decay occurs is to see your dentist to have the tooth treated.



Reduce your risk of tooth decay:


·        If you consume sugary foods and drinks, do so with meals.  Saliva increases during meals and helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.


·        Limit between-meal snacks and sugary beverages.  If you crave a snack, choose nutritious foods.  If you chew gum, choose sugarless gum. Sugarless gum increases saliva flow and helps wash out food and neutralize decay-producing acid.


·        Drink water.  Consuming optimally fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay.  If you choose bottled water, check the label for the fluoride content.


·        Brush your teeth & floss twice daily.


·        See Dr. Matthews regularly.


If you are currently experiencing any dental discomfort, don’t put it off any longer and call Dr. Matthews’ office at 623-937-0267 to make an appointment.   


Getting The Point About Oral Piercing

Take good care of oral piercing.

Body piercing has become a popular form of self-expression, especially for but not limited to young adults. Oral piercing is becoming trendier but is not without risks and complications. The tongue is the most common site with the lips, uvula (soft tissue hanging from the back of the palate), cheeks and a combination of these sites also being utilized. Be sure the procedure is performed by qualified professionals who use disposable gloves, disposable or sterile instruments and sterilized jewelry. For several days after the piercing, you can expect swelling, pain, increased salivary flow and sometimes infection. There may be prolonged bleeding from punctured blood vessels.

The healing period is usually 3-6 weeks before the permanent device (hoops, studs, barbells) can be placed. During the healing stage, avoid spicy foods, alcohol and smoking. Use antiseptic or warm salt water mouth rinses; keep talking to a minimum for the first few days; and refrain from French kissing and oral sex for at least 2 weeks to minimize infection risk. Complications arising from oral piercing include chipped teeth, allergic reactions, change in the way your food tastes from interfering with taste buds and problems with speech, chewing and/or swallowing. After healing and to minimize complications, people should remove their jewelry once a day for cleaning and irrigate the hole with water. For those with tongue piercing, the tongue should be brushed every day. Proper care or removal should be taken during strenuous, contact sports.

If you are experiencing any of the the complications from oral piercings, come in to see Dr. Matthews.  Call 623-937-0267 to schedule your appointment or visit us on our website www.SmilesByDrMatthews.com.  


Healthy Patient at Phoenix Dentist, Alvin Matthews DDS

The Mouth - Body Connection

There is a connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy body.  Bleeding gums, visible root surfaces and loose teeth are not normal at any age.  These are usually signs of an infection called periodontal (gum) disease. Increasing medical evidence suggests that an unhealthy mouth may worsen serious medical problems, like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  Simply said, we know that oral health is important for overall health and vice versa.

Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria in dental plaque, which if not removed through daily tooth brushing and flossing, results in red or swollen gums that bleed easily.  If plaque remains on teeth too long, a hard deposit called tartar or calculus forms.  This deposit is removed by your dental hygienist or dentist when your teeth are professionally cleaned.  Left untreated, periodontal disease can destroy the gum tissues and bone around your teeth and eventually teeth can be lost.  Periodontal infections can be serious and can affect not only the mouth, but potentially your overall health.

If you want to feel good, stay healthy and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.  By adopting healthy habits at home, making better choices about diet and lifestyle and seeking regular professional dental care, many older adults are keeping their teeth, staying healthier and looking better than ever.

We, at Alvin C. Matthews, DDS Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, are here to help you achieve your health potential.  Feel free to contact us for more information on how to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.  623-937-0267.

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43rd Northern Dental
Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Creating Beautiful Smiles in Phoenix

Phoenix Dentist, Dr. Alvin Matthews is dedicated to excellence in general dentistry providing dental care such as crowns, bridges, veneers, & teeth whitening. Our office serves Phoenix, AZ, including Glendale, Surpise, Sun City, & the Greater Pheonix area.

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