Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! We hope this finds you well. Thank you for joining us for another installment in our interview series. For this interview, we were able to catch up with Dr. Stephen Branam, creator of the Mom’s Choice Award-Winning product Dr. Branam’s Xylitol Toothpaste. Dr. Branam has created a truly remarkable product because not only is it great for children, but they also love it because of its great taste! The secret to Dr. Branam’s Xylitol Toothpaste is the amount of Xylitol that it contains, and it is almost guaranteed to prevent cavities within your children if used correctly. That is something we think every parent can get behind! Keep reading to find out more about this magical toothpaste and its creator, Dr. Steven Branam.
MCA: Hi Dr. Branam! Thank you for joining us today and congratulations on your Mom’s Choice Award! I would first like to start the interview by getting to know the man behind the toothpaste! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Dr. Branam: I am a pediatric dentist, I finished my residency in the mid-70s, so I have been doing this for over 40 years. I was trained in the children’s hospital and I opened my practice in Toledo, Ohio, in 1976. I have also been a faculty of three different hospitals and I teach at a pediatric dental residency program here in Toledo, Ohio. I have written a couple of professional articles where I have done a lot of research that helped me in developing my toothpaste and tooth gel.
I am extremely familiar with what causes tooth decay and how you can stop it. Frankly, that is why I developed toothpaste. The last two patients I just saw, both must go to the hospital to have their teeth treated. One is five years old and had ten cavities, the next one was six years old with eleven cavities. I perform 130 operating room cases a year, and I could do more, but I simply cannot get the operating room time now because of COVID. As dentists, our procedures considered elective surgery; so, we take a back seat position to medical surgeries, and my operating room time is limited. I will be in the operating room tomorrow, and treat five children, all under years of age, all with severe tooth decay and infection.
MCA: 130 operating room cases a year, that’s very intense! Was it your experience with those cases and severe tooth decay that lead to the creation of your company?
Dr. Branam: I created the company about 10 years ago. I first invented a pacifier and I also had chewing gum and a drink that was formulated with Xylitol. We realized that we had too many products and we could not maintain inventory. I discontinued all the other products and I started a new company about four years ago focused on making an effective toothpaste.
My goal is to decrease this epidemic of tooth decay in children which has been increasing over the last 25 years. There is a reason tooth decay has decreased in every age group of America in the last 25 years except one age group, which is children 2 to 5 years of age. There are many cases, but the cases we see are severe like the ones I’ve previously described to you. Dentists have watched it happen and I am almost taking it personally because this is the patient population that I treat every day. If I were treating children with leukemia for 25 years, and the cure rate was decreasing, I would be trying to do something about it.
Therefore I developed an effective toothpaste, which took me two years to create. It is properly formulated, which is the most important thing. Dr. Branam Xylitol toothpaste and gels have 30 percent Xylitol by volume. Any toothpaste that does not contain 30 percent or more Xylitol by volume will not be effective. I have studied all my competitors. They have 20 percent or less xylitol, and they often put xylitol in their products for marketing purposes. Dr. Branam’s Xylitol Toothpaste is not only properly formulated, but also the only one that has been clinically tested.
I teach at the University of Toledo’s residency program, as I mentioned earlier. I had a clinical trial performed on Dr. Branam Xylitol toothpaste with the hospital. Statisticians and microbiology clinicians were involved in the trial to verify the results After three months of use, my toothpaste decreased tooth decay-causing bacteria levels within a child’s mouth by seventy-two percent. So, my children’s toothpaste is the only toothpaste in the market right now that has been clinically tested. I tell my patients that toothpaste companies typically make toothpaste just to sell it. Their primary goal is making money. I make toothpaste to prevent tooth decay, and I would not be marketing and selling it if the products were not effective in improving the children’s oral and dental health. I can tell you in a heartbeat which patients use it and those who do not without even asking the parent because their mouths look so good.
MCA: I had no idea that tooth decay in children ages 2 to 5 had become such an epidemic in this country! That is amazing that you have created a product that is tackling this very concerning issue head-on. Can you tell us more about the needs you were trying to fill when creating Dr. Branam’s Xylitol Toothpaste?
Dr. Branam: I literally witnessed the rise in tooth decay as it happened. The American Dental Association does all this research, publishes multiple scientific articles, and they do nothing with it to make effective consumer products. Somebody must turn that research into a preventative product. Otherwise, it is of no benefit, and the responsibility really comes directly to the pediatric dentist. We are the ones who are supposed to be fixing these problems.
MCA: Well I think it’s safe to say that no one is more qualified than you to fix this huge problem we are facing! Tell us more about the research that went into Dr. Branam’s Xylitol Toothpaste and how you knew you had such a successful product?
Dr. Branam: The University of Toledo had sixty-two patients that began the study. We gave them the toothpaste, and brushing instructions. We measured the toothpaste, so they would have enough toothpaste to last three months. We weighed the tube and told them how much to use at each brushing. They were to return three months later. We also did a bacterial swab of their mouth before and after the trial began and recorded those results. After three months of using the toothpaste, we swabbed their mouths again and recorded the new bacterial levels. For a study to be viable, you must have at least thirty participants. We started out with sixty-two and only thirty-one came back because we didn’t have any type of reward system, but we had enough to have a viable clinical trial that was sanctioned by the hospital.
Our website has a summary of this study on it, so I’m going to encourage people to go onto the Dr. Branam Xylitol website and they can click on the study and see the results for themselves. If it was not good, I would have gone back and started over, but it was good. The whole goal was to make an effective product.
MCA: It sounds like you have made more than just an effective product, you are changing the face of children’s dental health! Can you elaborate on the problems of tooth decay within children and why it was so important for you to create a product that combated that?
Dr. Branam: The patients need to understand that tooth decay is a DISEASE, it is not a condition. It is a disease caused by bacteria. Mothers and fathers transfer their bacteria to their newborns when they are infants because they interact with them such as kissing and touching. The babies will stick their hands in their parent’s mouths then put them in their own, transferring the bacteria. So, it is impossible not to transfer bacteria unless you never touch each other. It is a disease of the family, so I am having my parents use my toothpaste before their child is born. The Dr. Branam Xylitol toothpaste lowers their bacterial level; so, they do not transfer their bacteria to their child.
In general terms, three factors cause tooth decay, and this is also explained on my website in a YouTube video presentation by me. Number one is the acidity of your salvia, which is inherited. People do not have hard teeth or soft teeth. They have hard teeth that are softened by bacteria and plaque. People with a lot of acidity in their salvia are going to be more cavity-prone. Number 2 is the transfer of bacteria from the parent to the child which I had previously mentioned. Number 3 is sugar consumption. Tooth decay has gone up in young children because of increased eating of sugar, which is also documented by the American Dental Association. If you put those three factors together, you are going to have a perfect environment for
This generation of children is being raised by the “Pepsi generation.” That’s not my phrase, I went to a seminar in Chicago about 10 years ago about early childhood tooth decay. A dietitian made the presentation and talked about sugar intake. Many companies are loading these products with sugar, and they do not tell you, because they do not want you to know how much sugar is in their product. They are now required to tell you, but nobody reads it. To really connect the dots as to why this is an epidemic, you need to know that only thirty-eight percent of adult Americans go to the dentist annually for a checkup. Yes, thirty-eight percent! That means that sixty-two percent of all children are born into families with minimal value dental care, and it is only going to get worse. Of that thirty-eight percent, the lowest demographic is 21- to 35-year-old young adults. So it is less than thirty percent. What are 21- to 35-year-old young adults doing? They are having children. It is only going to perpetuate itself, and I am trying to break the cycle. That is why I am so excited about Mom’s Choice Awards because I want to offer my product to moms who really do care. I want them to know about it, and I want them to be able to share it. This is what needs to be done. I have always been an outlier. I try things, I make things, and I do things that are different. It is so important to get this information out there for parents if they want to improve their own dental health as well as the dental health of their children. Tooth decay is a disease of the family; not just one child.
MCA: What kind of feedback have you received about Dr. Branam’s Xylitol Toothpaste?
Dr. Branam: We started selling it four years ago in our office, and like any new product, it takes time for patients and parents to see the benefits. In the beginning, we were selling about 30 tubes a month. Now we are selling 160 tubes a month. Now, people are coming back, because they see what it is, what it does, and they are buying it more. We have a lot of repeat business, a lot of repeat customers. I am at the point in my career now where I want to minimize treatment and not drill into teeth. I am telling my parents, if you use my toothpaste and get regular checkups before their child gets their first cavity, I can virtually guarantee I will never have to fill a tooth in your child.
The most common feedback I get is they can literally see the tooth decay rate going down; and that their kids love it too. Parents will tell me that occasionally they will catch their child in the bathroom eating their toothpaste out of the tube! When they buy the toothpaste, we tell them it should last for about four months, but they end up coming back before that time because their kids just love it. I also see a lot of special needs patients with autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, ADHD, ADD, and sensory issues. It is often difficult for the caregivers of these patients to brush their teeth for multiple reasons. The difference in the success of Dr. Branam’s Xylitol toothpaste and gel is to leave it in your mouth after brushing the
teeth. You do not want to spit it out right away. If a child is difficult to brush their teeth, and they do not spit it out anyway, it is natural and good for them. Xylitol is also one of the few sugars that diabetic patients can use safely to reduce the bacteria in their mouth. I always call my toothpaste a “no brainer” because it does so much for your dental health with minimal effort. Just get it in there and leave it, that is the most important thing.
MCA: Sounds like a “no brainer” to us! What is next for the Dr. Branam Xylitol Company?
Dr. Branam: I am considering coming out with an adult version of my toothpaste. It is going to be basically the same formula, we are just going to change the flavor of it. Most adults like a mint toothpaste or something conventional, so we will probably make a mint flavor adult toothpaste.
In summary, use Dr. Branam’s Xylitol products at home daily, get regular dental check-ups no more than 12 months apart, and take your child to a Pediatric dentist at 12 to 15 months of age.
MCA: That is wonderful and I can say for certain that I will have my order in as soon as the adult version is available, be sure to keep us posted! Thank you for a great interview, Dr. Branham.
You can learn more about Dr. Stephen Branam and his award-winning product, Dr. Branam’s Xylitol Toothpaste by visiting his MCA Shop pages.