Soylent - Maltodextrin and serious tooth decay after trip to dentist


I’ve been using my DIY soylent for the past few months that contains 100g of maltodextrin as a carb source.

I went to the dentist this week and she was totally shocked at the level of tooth decay from the last six months.

She asked what my diet was and I explained that I was drinking maltodextrin. She said I need to stop because as a sugar it’s rotting my teeth fast. I needed four fillings and she said there was signs of decay on more.

My dentist said that with regards to sugar, it’s not the quantity you have but at the frequency you have it. because every time you have something with sugar in it, it takes one hour for your saliva to neutralise the sugar. So if you’re drinking soylent containing maltodextrin throughout the day, you’re not giving your mouth any chance to neutralise the sugars, so it can be constantly decaying your teeth.

Has anyone else found this? And what can you recommend as a carb source that doesn’t contain sugar?!

Do I have to brush my teeth if going Soylent 100%?

Also, I need a high level of carbs as I weight lift.


@rob This seems to be pretty important to me.


I was going to be flippant and suggest she just pull them all out, as you don’t need them for soylent anyway.

But that would just be being a little too flippant.

I assume you drink water as well througout the day? how about “rinse and swallow” clean water after each soylent meal, and brush with toothpaste also, if it’s convenient.

For what it’s worth I have terrible teeth, but they were terrible long before I started DIY. I probably need fillings but haven’t seen a dentist in years, so maybe don’t take advice from me.


Yes I do drink lots of water to stay hydrated, probably more than the average person, and I do generally drink water after the soylent just because I don’t really like the residue of it in my mouth.

With regards to brushing afterwards, I’ve read that you shouldn’t brush your teeth straight after food as it can end up causing more harm than good, removing the protective coating from your teeth and leaving the acidic sugars to work on your teeth easier. I assume it would be the same whether consuming solid or liquids but I’m not 100% sure.

Also, brushing all the time after every shake will make things a bit more difficult if you’re out or at work.

I guess you could drink all your soylent in one go on the morning, to minimise the effects of your saliva constantly trying to neutralise the sugar, but I think I’d struggle to drink 2500 calories in one go. Also, drinking daily, this is still seven incidents of exposing your mouth to a lot of sugar each week.

My dentist said she advises parents of children that instead of giving them small amounts of sweets throughout the week, that just to give it to them all in one go on one day, to minimise the harmful effects of sugar.


I think the bit about not brushing immediately after food is nonsense myth; someone trying to rationalize not wanting to brush after reading.

I’d hazard:

  1. Don’t sip it slowly; drink reach meal at a good place
  2. Immediately after, rinse with water. Not just drink, take a mouthful, rinse hard, swallow, repeat
  3. consider following a meal with either tooth brushing or an apple, whichever is more convenient


Wouldn’t chewing xylitol gum after every meal help with this? Chewing gum stimulates saliva and xylitol is supposed to be good for oral health.

I haven’t tried this but this is what I would do first.


I would like to suggest a general plan which is not an easy short-term fix to the maltodextrin issue but, if followed, might help a lot.

Visit Dr. Ellie’s site:
and/or purchase her book:

The details of the entire program are available on her website, so purchasing the book isn’t strictly necessary.

The products used in the program are generally easy to find in a drug store (or health food store for the Xylitol). The program involves a specific set of mouthwashes used in a specific order; a simple fluoride toothpaste; and the use of Xylitol supplements as chews, gums, rinses, etc. (She also discourages brushing immediately after eating; she recommends chewing a Xylitol product after eating instead.)

Here’s a pdf with instructions on the program:

The person who gave me the book was told he needed several fillings, and was resistant to it and did not have them filled immediately. He did some research and found the book. After several months of following the system he returned to the dentist and was told he did not need as many fillings as initially stated. It may be possible to reverse tooth decay and remineralize enamel with the use of over-the-counter, moderately priced products as outlined in the program.


I find this statement hard to believe…in the context of a liquid like soylent, after each sip how much of it actually hangs around long enough to cause a problem?

Especially since most {yes I know, not all} people also drink water or coffee or something else with soylent…An hour to break down food stuck in my teeth sounds believable to me, but a liquid, even sipped though out the day…Don’t think so.


It is my understanding that it is not actually the sugar that causes any of the damage, but the bacteria that consumes it. It doesn’t cause acidic damage and so on. It is the by product of those bacteria that does.

Brushing teeth afterwards can cause damage if it is acidic damage as it basically softens the outer layer. You could chew gum, that could help I think after a meal instead of brushing (sugar free) as the gum would then basically do the brushing in a way.

I didn’t think that these bacteria liked eating the maltodextrin as much as pure sugar, I guess I was wrong if that was truely what was happening


Doesn’t the Maltodextrin in Soylent have a very low DE so it’s acting almost more like a starch than a sugar?

The don’t brush right after eating only applies if you are eating acidic foods. Does anyone know what the pH is of Soylent?

I found this article that says that sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are more damaging than maltodextrin

Second Bacterium Confirmed As Cause Of Tooth Decay, Shows Different Pattern Of Virulence Than S. Mutans

To assess the cariogenicity (cavity-producing potential) of these two sugars, the researchers supplemented the drinking water of their study animals with 10 percent sucrose, 10 percent high-fructose corn sweetener, or 10 percent maltodextrin (a caloric, digestible complex carbohydrate) supplemented with an artificial sweetener to insure comparable taste and caloric intake. Solid diets and nutritional status were the same for all groups.
Some of the animals on each regimen were inoculated with either Streptococcus gordonii or Streptococcus mutans, while others remained uninoculated.
Results showed that uninoculated animals had relatively few cavities regardless of the diet sweetener. Inoculated animals developed higher levels of tooth decay if they drank water supplemented with either sucrose or high fructose corn sweetener than if they drank water supplemented with the artificial sweetener and maltodextrin.


@Tordenskjold - if you’re right - it should listen to the advice of dentists often change the type of toothpaste that the bacteria were unable to adapt.

Only in this case does not need to change the paste (not just pasta) - but also the type DIY-soylent. One type for breakfast, second for lunch, third for dinner (as it does with regular food).

@sam - what formula do you use? Did you try to switch to something else?


OK, so I did a little research (as I am prone to do)…

There are dentists and responsible organization that advocate not brushing teeth for an hour after an acidic meal. But if you have an acidic meal (something sour), it can soften the enamel on the teeth, and it takes your saliva an hour to neutralize that effect. If you brush then, especially if you brush vigorously with a hard brush, you may gradually wear down the enamel.

Sugar is not acidic, nor is maltodextrin. Sugar contributes to cavities when it stays behind on teeth, generally between teeth and in crevices, and then bacteria eat the sugar… and the bacteria produce acid which eats away at the enamel.

The main ingredients in Soylent are not especially acidic, as far as foods go - nor are the main ingredients in most DIY - but I don’t find the pH of “made” Soylent listed anywhere. I haven’t got mine, yet, so can’t even try to test. It is probably not so acidic that the advice against brushing after acidic meals would apply, so brushing is probably safe.

It’s hard to find information on the actual acidity of foods, because there is a lot of pseudo-scientific “information” out there about alkaline/acidic foods which purports to identify those foods which make “your body” more acidic or alkaline, but this doesn’t pertain at all to whether the stuff is acidic in your mouth. For example, protein is considered “acid-making,” because proteins are made of amino acids… But protein is not acidic by itself, and does not break down into the component amino acids in the mouth - that happens when they’re digested in the stomach by the powerful acids in there.

It’s easier finding the acidity of a baked good made with oat flour, or even cooked oatmeal, than the find the acidity of a slurry of oat flour and water which sat overnight. It might actually be quickest to just ask - does it taste sour, or tart, at all? If not, it’s not very acidic.


Someone could go buy a pH paper and try out on a glass of Soylent, my bet is that it would have about the same pH as your water you used, at worst it could vary + or - 1 pH by my guess (drinking water can vary the same depending on where you get it from)


Hmmm, I had to do some googling on this. According to the linked Wikipedia article, sucrose (table sugar) has a DE of zero. So it seems that DE is not a valid indicator of whether a substance will promote the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

If the test group which was given sucrose or HFCS developed “higher levels” of tooth decay, it does suggest that the group given maltodextrin and bacteria developed “some” tooth decay (“more” than the groups that received no bacteria, at any rate, since those had “relatively few cavities”). I trust the general outcome of the study, but it’s difficult to fully comprehend the significance because subjective amounts are cited in the article instead of hard figures.


Ah, but Soylent 1.0 has sucralose added to mask the unpleasant taste. Ergo, possibly it’s sour in its natural state.

Non-chewable multivitamins are extremely sour if you try to chew them; vitamin C for one is extremely sour/acidic (ascorbic acid). It’s possible that adding the equivalent of a daily multivitamin to a macronutrient shake makes the whole thing acidic.


The bacteria in your mouth THRIVE on pure sugar; however they can eat pretty much any carbohydrate source, short of vegetable fibers. Sugarless gums actually contain sugar alcohols which starve the bacteria and kill it off.

Many people report better tooth health when they drink black coffee and unsweetened teas which contains compounds that kill or suppress bacteria, preventing them from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid.

If you chew plenty of sugarless gum and drinks unsweetened teas and coffee that will greatly help tooth health. An alternative would be to carry some anti-cavity mouth wash and reduce meal frequency.

Get some fluoride mouth wash as well and make sure you rinse with it right before bed to give your tooth enamel at least 7-8 hours to absorb the fluoride and harden, that should stop cavities in their tracks.


When going over this idea and recap my Joylent test. I actually had to remind myself to go the 3-4 times a days brushing as you are not doing one meal + brush and go about your day. You are going about your day the whole time.
So it could just be the less frequent brushing.
I will definitely add that to my todo to check and hopefully not forget to brush.


Sucrolose is a sweetener. Sweet doesn’t usually mask sourness; you can usually tell if something is sweet and sour, or just sweet.

I’m going to be making DIY based on Soylent (Schmoylent) this weekend, so can try some without sweetener. Also, some actual Soylent will arrive. Will see if I can borrow a pH test kit.


Yeah, I’m not a fan of maltodextrin, honestly. The dust gets everywhere, it’s expensive (at least for non-industrial-scale buyers like me), it tastes disgusting when paired with whey protein, it promotes the growth of yeast, and now it also accelerates tooth decay? :stuck_out_tongue: The only reason I use it in some of my recipes is because people want something like Soylent, and even then I use only half as much (in Schmoylent). I try to reduce it or eliminate it as much as possible in custom recipes.

Thanks for the reporting. This helps give credence to my OCD-ish “brush after every meal” routine, haha. :stuck_out_tongue: