By V. Kim Kutsch, DMD, founder and CEO of CariFree
With dental decay being the leading disease among America’s youth, an innovative approach must be taken to redeem children from their sometimes less-than-satisfactory dental hygiene. It can be a battle to educate children about oral health, and even more of a struggle to get them to brush and floss. However, even with superior brushing and flossing, a child infected with dental caries would still have a high acid-producing bacterial population, which thrives in acidic environments. The most efficient way to battle this infection is to raise the mouth’s pH level to reduce acidic bacteria in the oral biofilm, making the mouth less acidic. One company, Oral BioTech, has taken a unique approach to dental care and wellness by developing the CariFree and Xyli-Tots product lines, which provide educational and effective options for children who may be suffering from chronic cavities. Xyli-Tots Lollies are lollipops designed for kids, yet enjoyed by all. They are designed to control the bacteria involved in dental caries and help keep kids cavity-free for a lifetime. The active ingredient is the sugar substitute xylitol. Unlike the marred reputation of other sugar substitutes, xylitol is truly in a class of its own. In fact, xylitol is actually produced naturally within our own bodies and can also be found in birch trees and certain fruits and vegetables.Long-term clinical studies over the past several years have declared xylitol safe for people of all ages, making the substance widely popularized in dental products. Its unique properties provide a myriad of dental benefits, making it difficult for harmful bacteria to thrive and encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria. Xylitol resists fermentation, unlike other sugar substitutes, so the environment in the mouth maintains a healthy balance. While fluoride is commonly used to strengthen teeth, research has found that xylitol actually aids in this strengthening and allows for the remineralization of teeth that have become damaged due to dental caries and/or tooth decay.Many families are under the impression that it is actually sugar that causes cavities, when in fact there is a much more direct culprit. The acidic breakdown of sugar, which creates an environment where harmful bacteria may prosper, is the true cause. This means other acidic foods and drinks, such as diet sodas and fruit juice, may contribute to tooth decay.CariFree’s Xyli-Tots Lollies are completely sugar-free and non-acidic. Each lollipop contains .5 grams of xylitol, which helps slow plaque formation while stunting the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. CariFree recommends that children enjoy the lollipops throughout the day so that when combined with other xylitol-containing products, a therapeutic dose of xylitol (between 6 and 11 grams per day) can be attained. Because of this original approach to oral hygiene, the age-old battle surrounding parents vs. candy can come to an end. The idea to create lollipops was an exciting concept for the child patient, but more importantly an effective one. By dissolving the lollipop in the mouth’s saliva over time, it provides a sustained release that aids in the therapeutic benefits. The mission is to make oral health fun at a young age. By incorporating products such as the Xyli-Tots Lollies, children are becoming involved in their dental hygiene early on, which prevents them from having to tackle that hurdle later in life.Remember visiting the dentist as a child? To ease the worry dentists would often have a treasure chest filled with stickers or small toys for the patient to choose from. Other dentists offer a complimentary toothbrush and floss after the visit. Over the last decade, the research on dental caries has triggered an industry-wide movement toward preventive and non-invasive methods. Xyli-Tots Lollies are just one more step toward dental wellness and getting children to rethink the negative connotations associated with visiting the dentist. Not only can children be rewarded after their visit, but the lollies also provide parents with the reassurance of a healthy smile. The lollipops are offered in five flavors: Cherry Chuckles, Citrus Smiles, Grape Giggles, Lime Laughs, and Raspberry Riddles. The goal is to educate patients and keep children proactive when it comes to their dental health. Outdated drill-and-fill methods do not prevent cavities from coming back, nor do they have much effect on the caries infection itself. As long as caries-causing bacteria are prevalent in an individual’s mouth, that person will most likely continue to be faced with tooth decay. Companies like CariFree pride themselves on a forward-thinking attitude to educate and cure the No. 1 disease affecting America’s youth.
Dr. V. Kim Kutsch serves as chief executive officer and chief technical officer of Oral BioTech, manufacturers of the cavity prevention system known as CariFree. He received his DMD degree from the University of Oregon’s School of Dentistry in 1979. Lecturing extensively on an international basis, he also acts as product consultant and inventor for air abrasion, lasers, and adhesive and cosmetic dentistry. A well-published author, Dr. Kutsch has written dozens of articles and abstracts on minimally invasive dentistry, laser dentistry, dental caries, and biofilms in dental and medical journals. He has also contributed to several texts, served as an editorial staff member for Reality, and sits on the editorial board of several dental journals. In addition to his editorial work, Dr. Kutsch is a graduate and mentor for the prestigious Kois Center in Seattle. As an inventor, Dr. Kutsch holds numerous patents for air abrasion devices, powders, nozzles, and methods, as well as patents on cosmetic dental materials and methods. He is the former president of the International Academy of Laser Dentistry and the Academy of Laser Dentistry. Holding a Category III mastership in lasers in dentistry, he is a fellow of the American Society of Lasers in Medicine and Dentistry. He is also founder, fellow, diplomat, and first president of the World Congress of Minimally Invasive Dentistry. Additionally, Dr. Kutsch sits on the Board of Directors for the World Clinical Laser Institute and as a member of the ADA Dental Materials Laser Committee. He has served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and University Relations Committee. Dr. Kutsch acted as founder and president of Kreativ Microdentistry Systems, which developed the first minimally invasive dentistry system. He also serves as an expert witness and regularly mentors dentists and dental study clubs on a variety of topics. He is a founding member of the Rendezvous annual dental meeting in Baker City, Ore. Dr. Kutsch is truly a pioneer in the dental industry, making constant strides toward the dental revolution, all while maintaining his patient-oriented dental practice in Albany, Ore.