On today’s episode of Ask the Dentist, Dr. B breaks down the myths and misconceptions surrounding glycerin in toothpaste. He unpacks the question:
“Does glycerin in toothpaste coat the teeth and prevent absorption of minerals?”
Here is the short answer: Glycerin’s solubility factor is actually quite high, and it does not seal your teeth off from all the important ingredients in saliva.
Unfortunately, there is a current of misinformation surrounding glycerin, amplified especially by social media.
Dr. B reminds us that, as new research comes out, many of the things that society as a whole has deemed “true” can change. What was once thought of as harmless is proven otherwise, and what was once demonized is shown to, in fact, be beneficial.
In discussing the benefits of glycerin, Dr. B highlights two groups. The first is the elderly and those who are suffering from cancer.
When treating either of these two groups, it is important to keep the pH of the mouth as neutral as possible—between 6.8-7.2, to be exact—and without saliva that is impossible. Dr. B recommends using Biotene, which contains artificial saliva in gel form, made up of 100% glycerin. Biotene addresses low saliva flow and has a neutral pH. While it does not have all the wonderful ingredients that saliva has, it can save you from getting cavities and the consequences that follow.
Artificial saliva, says Dr. B, is absolutely key if you are low on saliva and getting a lot of decay, or if your dentist tells you that you have a dry mouth.
He adds that chewing gum, particularly xylitol, helps in certain cases when it comes to stimulating saliva flow. But, if your saliva glands are temporarily shut down, it is much more preferable to use a product that is loaded with glycerin.
Dr. B closes the discussion with a three-ingredient recipe list for his ideal toothpaste: water, hydroxyapatite, a prebiotic, and silica as the binder (rather than glycerin).
He reminds us that, as an overarching goal, we need to nourish and feed—not weed—the oral microbiome.
Key Points From This Episode:
● Introducing today’s topic: Addressing common myths surrounding glycerin, and how social media has exacerbated misinformation [00:26]
● Does glycerin in toothpaste coat the teeth and prevent the absorption of minerals? [02:32]
● The benefits of artificial saliva for the elderly and those suffering from cancer [03:32]
● In conclusion: Glycerin is not harmful. In fact, it is crucial for dental health. [05:11]
● When is it time to weed your oral microbiome? [08:50]
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