It’s something that had troubled Dr. Stephen Branam for a long time – despite advances in dental care and an overall decline in tooth decay in the American population, the rate of tooth decay among children under 6 continued to spike.
A pediatric dentist for more than 30 years, he recommends parents bring their children for their first dental visit at age 1, however, many kids don’t have their teeth cleaned and checked until they’re much older. Often it’s a cavity or other problem that prompts the appointment.
“The goal is to make going to the dentist a positive experience for kids,” Dr. Branam said. “If the first visit involves treatment for cavities or an abscessed tooth, that can create fear and anxiety that can last a lifetime. It’s much better to prevent problems before they happen,” he said.
His “ounce-of-prevention” theory led the Oregon dentist to develop a line of oral care products and dietary supplements designed to promote dental health and take a bite out of the growing epidemic of dental decay in kids.
His Ortho-Gibby pacifier, an orthodontic teething pacifier, promotes proper oral alignment and tongue positioning, while soothing and providing teething relief for babies. He developed and patented the design in 1997 after he noticed an increasing number of bite problems, tongue-twist habits and ear infections in his young patients – problems often associated with pacifier use.
While researching for the Ortho-Gibby, he came upon dental research being conducted in Scandinavia that intrigued him. “It showed that when mothers used xylitol products for the first two years of their babies’ lives, babies can potentially have 70 percent less tooth decay throughout their lifetime,” Dr. Branam said.
Xylitol, a natural sweetener derived from plant and fruit fibers, has been shown in clinical studies to combat the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and chronic ear infection.
In 2007, Dr. Bramam founded Branam Oral Health Technologies, Inc., with assistance from Regional Growth Partnership and Rocket Ventures, a venture capital fund. The company’s mission – to create a line of naturally formulated dental products that would provide parents with the tools to protect their families from harmful cavity-causing bacteria.
Armed with the research, Dr. Branam began working with scientific labs throughout the country to develop the line of products formulated with a rich supply of xylitol from a variety of U.S. suppliers. The products are also gluten free, diabetic friendly, sugar free and casein free.
The line includes all natural tooth gel for babies, toothpaste and chewing gum. They come in flavors such as Go Go Grape, Yum Yum Bubblegum, Snappy Apple, Tutti Fruitti and Peppermint Kiss. “Though they’re geared toward kids, anybody can use the products,” Dr. Branam said.
Last year, Branam expanded distribution with products available online and stores across the country, including locally-owned natural and health-food stores, and major chains including WholeFoods, Good Neighbor Pharmacies, and Tunies. The company just celebrated its best month ever, with sales of more than $25,000, Branam said, and a new distribution agreement will put the products in Stop & Shop stores across New England. The company is on track for $1million in sales by the end of 2014.
Locally, they can be found at Branam’s Oregon office, as well as at Walt Churchill’s Markets, Claudia’s Natural Food Market in Sylvania; Health Yourself in Perrysburg, among other outlets. To find a location, visit www.BranamSmile.com and use the store locator.
For more information, call 1-877-327-2626 or visit the website.