Spry® Products Part of Dentist’s Safe, Healthy, Holistic Preventative Program
Mark Cannon, DDS, MS, knew early on that treating only the patient's mouth would not be his approach.
He began his practice 40 years ago, in 1981, in a suburb of Chicago, while also teaching full-time at Northwestern University Dental School and Children's Memorial Hospital.
"I wanted to provide advanced, compassionate oral care for young people and those with special needs," Cannon says. "We give patients the tools and education they need to be responsible for their own health and to stop the epidemic of modern disease."
Periodontal healthcare has progressed, of course, during the past four decades, he says, but perhaps most importantly, dentists' understanding of oral health and its connection to the body as a whole system has evolved.
"Oral pathogens create ‘leaky gums,' which becomes ‘leaky gut,' and then ‘leaky blood brain barrier.' This is why periodontal disease is linked to so many systemic diseases," Cannon says. "One particular oral pathogenic strain, Porphyromonas gingivalis fimA type 2, enters into epithelial cells and epigenetically turns off the tight junctions that hold our epithelial barriers together."
"Dr. (John) Peldyak and I published on how this creates a simplex of disease, affecting the cardiovascular system, oral gingival health, and neurological health. After P. gingivalis opens the barrier, all sorts of commensals follow that set off full systemic immune response leading to arthritis, diabetes, and other maladies."
As a clinician, Cannon has seen firsthand the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic incurred for both dentists and patients.
"Children especially have suffered due to a lack of oral and total healthcare. In addition, the lack of school has many children frequently snacking. We are seeing many dental abscesses and children being in pain for extended periods. These abscesses have been documented to cause permanent damage to the child's cardiovascular system."
For all these reasons and more, Cannon has taken great interest in researching and sharing his positive experiences with xylitol and Spry® products from Xlear, including gum, mints, and nose spray.
"Xylitol is a safe, healthy, and holistic part of our preventive program. It can be used at any age," he explains. "Total health means being proactive in teaching patients about the oral-systemic health link and providing them the supplements they need to achieve a healthy state. Having prebiotics, such as xylitol, and probiotics available is vital."
Cannon recommends xylitol toothpaste and xylitol oral mouthrinses to all his patients. Those on medications may also use xylitol sprays and moisturizing gels, he suggests. "Everyone, especially women of child-bearing age, should chew xylitol gum and mints. This is so important because xylitol gum, by combatting periodontal disease, helps to prevent miscarriages and pre-term birth," he says. "When pregnant and breastfeeding mothers chew xylitol gum, they transmit far fewer mutans streptococci bacteria to the children. This is so effective that even years later, those children have 73% fewer cavities than other groups."
The body produces about 15 grams of xylitol per day, but for the oral environment to combat systemic illnesses, Cannon explains, clinicians should encourage patients to utilize xylitol-based preventative products, such as Spry.
"Spry products limit the reproduction of ‘bad' bacteria while encouraging the development of a normal microbiome. Spry reduces cavities better than fluoride and also fights off periodontal disease," he says. "Xylitol, which is a calcium carrier, promotes remineralization, breaks up the pathogenic biofilm, inhibits all the pathogens, and is a dietary supplement."