Books,  Reviews

Book review: Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye by Ellie Phillips

We had huge expectations regarding this book as it was marketed as an alternative approach to dental health problems. So rather than classic brush and floss (or drill and fill) approach, she recommends remineralization, which (if possible – when damage is still reversible) is always superior and less invasive than traditional dentistry. The main idea of the book is her System for healthy teeth, which (if followed carefully) should give you good long-term outcomes and in some cases could actually make you Kiss your dentist goodbye (actually we don’t recommend skipping any checkups).

But there’s a problem: This book should have been a pamphlet

The main problem with this book is that it could be summarized in one word: xylitol. In fact, the paperback edition is 248 pages long and the word xylitol is used 367 times! By no means we’re saying that xylitol is not beneficial for your teeth, it’s just that it looks like the whole book is written around this one concept. By the time you get to the chapter on xylitol, it feels like she has already recommended it ten thousand times. Please note that if you get into scientific papers xylitol does not appear to be a holy grail she preaches it to be – studies show it’s beneficial, but it’s not the only way to go.

“The system” aka. Dr. Ellie’s Complete Mouth Care System explained in detail

As mentioned before apart from xylitol the core part of her book is her system, which (if followed rigorously) will provide you ultimate dental health. Since her mouth care system is not a secret as it’s publicly available in her book reviews, interviews, on many blogs, and on YouTube, we’ll discuss it here briefly with our comments. She recommends using it twice a day – before going to bed and in the morning, after breakfast. It consists of using 3 different mouthrinses (yes, you read that one right – three mouthrinses!), brushing your teeth, eating xylitol, and keeping your toothbrush clean. It’s important to keep the order just as listed, as it’s not random – products with certain pH levels are to be used before and after brushing and changing the order would ruin the whole procedure.

  1. First mouthrinse to be used before brushing is CloSYS, chlorine dioxide rinse that’s aimed at neutralizing the pH level
    Our comment: it generally is a sound idea to neutralize your pH level before brushing as enamel weakened by acids can be damaged by abrasive toothpaste and toothbrush bristles, but we believe readers should be informed that’s it is better not to drink or eat anything acidic half an hour prior to brushing as pH neutralizing mouthrinse won’t harden your enamel in a matter of seconds. So while the mouthwash won’t do any harm, the information that once you use it your enamel is ready for brushing may be misleading.
  2. The second step is to brush your teeth with a small amount of Crest toothpaste using a small head (less than 1 inch) toothbrush, focusing on where the gums meet the teeth area with circular motions
    Our comment: we felt a bit disappointed she’s not a fan of flossing (it’s not in the protocol at all), we are also all for sonic or ultrasonic toothbrushes and feel that saying they are not more effective than a manual ones is simply not true {citation will be included here}, but this may have something to do with the fact that she is selling the latter ones on her website.
  3. The third step is to rinse with Listerine Regular, an antiseptic rinse which she calls “a liquid floss”
    Our comment: okay, so here’s our flossing that we missed so badly! We are REALLY not happy about this one – the whole idea of her system is to rebuild your mouth bacteria to keep the good ones and get rid of streptococcus mutans, but classic Listerine kills ALL the bacteria – good bacteria too! {citations to be filled} Also, a mouthwash is not a floss – it will not reach all the places within your mouth to remove debris. And the worst things you can have are starches or carbs between teeth all night long. We are also not happy she is recommending Listerine with alcohol, especially when there are scientific papers concluding it’s linked with oral cancer increased risk {citations will be included here}.
  4. Then you should rinse with fluoride ACT Anti cavity rinse
    Our comment: fluoride opponents won’t be happy here. We’re not all that against fluoride, but if you’re a conspiracy theorist regarding this matter we have your back – you can have healthy teeth without fluoride. The good thing is this mouthwash is alkaline so the idea to use it just before bed when your saliva levels drop is sound.
  5. Finally, you should clean your toothbrush using Listerine and place it away from other toothbrushes, in a standing upward position and store in a protective box to let it dry before next use
    Our comment: this is good advice, you should follow it.

To sum up – as you can see above her system is not really an alternative approach to dental health. It differs a bit from classic approach (that is: floss, brush, and use optional mouthrinse) but if it was not for the xylitol we would still call it mainstream dentistry, just with more pH level awareness. It may be that the book was published in 2010 and it simply grew old, but we feel that book like that should focus a lot more on probiotics, The book addresses problems like reflux or acidity but does nothing to solve these serious dental health hazards.

Make no mistake, we at DentalFreak are obsessed with teeth and always get super-excited to read books like this one. Yet, the reading process was tedious as we felt there are too many fillers – background stories, repetitions, information with no real value that we felt was included only to make the book longer. Also, she’s a DDS, but quite often she uses very unscientific language to describe outcomes like this one: “Shiny teeth become shinier, healthy gooms look better, and teeth feel cleaner”. This is a pop-science book, not a scientific paper, but still, we feel like these types of statements should be at least skipped. If you are interested in improving your dental health you won’t find in the book much more useful information that we mentioned above. But if you value every tiniest bit of dental knowledge get a copy and read it, there are interesting bits, you just need to get through the boring descriptive and repetitive parts. If reading this book was rather a pain than fun and its main tips are summarized on the author’s page as well as book reviews online.

What’s good:

  • her observations and recommendations are mostly sound and if followed carefully should give good outcomes (at least that’s what most of the customer’s reviews of her book say)
  • it’s good to see she focuses a lot on acidity and pH levels
  • there are many small hints that those not familiar with dental health may find useful
  • using xylitol is good advice

What’s bad:

  • her style of writing is irritating, the book is really repetitive and should have been way shorter
  • there are anecdotal evidence cases (ie. young man hitting a rail with his teeth) presented which is not scientific at all and should not be included in such books
  • despite its length, this book does not cover many important dental health topics
  • she is directly advertising her own xylitol products (brand name Zellies appears 11 times in the book)

The bottom line:

Overall we give this book 3 stars out of 5. Go read it if you like to learn as much as possible on dental health. If you’re on budget or just want to improve your health without spending extra time go ahead and try her system since it’s not a secret and let us know if it worked for you!

Disclaimer: this is late review as this book was published in 2010 and we are reviewing it in 2019. Ellie Phillips, the author has recently published new book titled Mouth care comes clean (released in 2018) and it will be reviewed separately. Supposedly the new book is more up-to-date but since Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye is still available we felt like we will review it anyway.

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