Fight cavities with sweet Valentine's Day treats

March 21, 2012
Stan Goff
Issue 2

Go ahead and get that special someone in your life a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. And while you’re at it, you can do so with your dentist’s blessings.

Go ahead and get that special someone in your life a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. And while you’re at it, you can do so with your dentist’s blessings.

That’s right. You can treat your sweetie or teacher or friends – or yourself – to some tasty chocolates and not worry about your teeth in the process. Dr. John’s Candies®, from Grand Rapids, Mich., makes it possible to have a box of creamy chocolates that not only taste great, but are also a sugar-free healthy treat.

Founded by Dr. John Bruinsma, a dentist, and his wife Debra, a dental hygienist, Dr. John’s Candies’ SimplyXylitol products are specially prepared with xylitol, the all-natural sweetener that according to hundreds of scientific studies helps to break down and remove harmful oral bacteria and prevent cavities. The company features a dentist and gourmet candymaker working together to express their passion in creating new and unique confectionery treasures, and the line of products includes boxed decadent treats like chocolate covered peanut butter, chocolate covered mint squares, chocolate covered pecan caramels (turtles) and chocolate covered coconut.The company offers more than just chocolate. Dr. Bruinsma said years of research and development on xylitol-based products was needed to perfect methods of using xylitol in candies that would be embraced by both dentists and their patients. Getting significant amounts of xylitol into a line of hard candies is a difficult process that may have scared some manufacturers off. “It’s very difficult to work with but we figured out a way to do it so we’ve got it in our lollipops, caramels, taffies and so on,” he said. “And while we were at it, we made these all natural as well.”

The couple made national headlines in 2008, when they launched their line of Cavity Fighting Herbal Lollipops. This landed them an appearance on national TV. John and Debra agreed to answer some questions for DPR to let our audience know more about their products and the benefits these products can have to both dentists and their patients.

DPR: Are your products geared more toward practices or consumers? Or designed for both???

A: Both! Our packaging include bulk treats in resealable bags for placement in decanters, mugs and cups, or give-away dispensers for after appointment treats. The SimplyXylitol line of treats are also in a retail ready display case, conveniently available for patients that wish to purchase cavity preventing treats when introduced to the them in the dental office. Also, the display case can be used for counter display in pharmacies, hospital gift shops, dental clinics, grocery stores, and other locations.?

DPR: With Valentine's Day just around the corner, why is it important to make the public aware of this "healthier" option of sweets???

A: Because healthier treats are what people are looking for. We believe that if the public knew about these healthier choices, they would choose them. Our challenge is letting people know these healthier treats exist and taste great! There may a misconception that "healthier" treats don't taste as good, but sugar free choices have come a long way. Our new line of chocolates actually taste better than some of the mass produced, artificially flavored "real" chocolates that are being sold. Our treats sweetened with Xylitol contain no artificial sweeteners and we use the best flavorings and ingredients that are available. We use a "hands on", old fashioned gourmet style cooking process so it shows in the great taste. People would be amazed to taste these in a blind test up against candies with sugar. And, when they find out they are actually good for you, we think it's the best choice. Today, people don't have to sacrifice great taste for healthy treats! That is our message and we're trying to convey that the best way possible.??

DPR: Tell us about some other projects you have been involved with, the Cavity Fighting Herbal Lollipops for instance. How have those been accepted???

A: The Cavity Fighting Herbal Lollipops have gained worldwide interest particularly after ABC's Good Morning America broadcast featuring Diane Sawyer enjoying the lollipop "live on air" and declaring it would change dentistry. At the time, product development was completed but the clinical studies had just begun. Clinical studies take time and the first completed pilot study was published December 2010 in the European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry. The results demonstrated that pre-school children at high risk for caries became moderate risk by measure of salivary strep mutans count.  The Abstract is available at The European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry web page: http://www.eapd.eu/B759F6EF.en.aspx

Many dental offices have implemented the herbal lollipop regimen in their treatment plans along with the SimplyXylitol products. We are very encouraged by the feedback we've received from dentists, hygienists, and patients. Some have said this is the first prevention plan that has actually worked!  Of course, we recommend the The Dr. John’s Cavity Fighting Herbal Lollipop and SimplyXylitol product regimens as a supplement to dental office visits and controlling the consumption of sugar frequency.

??DPR: How can practices learn more about the importance of offering Xylitol products and what can they do to get started with offering your products???

A: Visit our website at drjohns.com to learn more about Dr. John's and our products. You may also sign up for our newsletter and read about the most up-to-date information and studies regarding the Dr. John’s SimplyXylitol Plan and products, The Cavity Fighting Herbal Lollipop, and other articles of interest to dental professionals. Ordering can be done directly on the website, or by phone 888-375-6462.  Dental supply companies may carry a few Dr. John’s offerings as well.?

More background

At the February 2010 Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting, Dr. John's Candies® introduced their breakthrough SimplyXylitol® line of preventative sweet treats, using a beneficial serving of the all-natural sweetener Xylitol. Dr. John's Candies® has perfected recipes for tasty lollipops, chewy caramels, luscious chocolates, drinks, and more. This product line is not only the first of its kind but also delivers exceptional taste and oral health benefits.? ?In addition to the SimplyXylitol line, the company offers herbal, xylitol, and sugar free candies. Not to be confused with the efficacious servings in SimplyXylitol, these candies with xylitol include a wide array of hard and soft candies that contain less xylitol. Because xylitol provides exceptional sweetness, Dr. John's Candies that contain xylitol do not require artificial sweeteners. ? ?Dr. John's® orange flavored Cavity Fighting Herbal Lollipops are a very exciting breakthrough in the field of dentistry. UCLA dental researchers have isolated a specific herb from the licorice root which has scientifically demonstrated effectiveness to disable the primary bacteria that cause tooth decay. ? ?For more than 25 years, the company’s confectioner has continued a family tradition of making "gourmet" sugar free candies. Together, they create blends that you will not find anywhere else, using only the finest flavorings and ingredients.