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Bringing Xylitol Benefits through Delicious Candies

Our Mission: Dr. John's Candies® develops unique,
great-tasting health-based sugar free products that deliver valuable preventative health benefits for all people.

Award-winning dentist of 30 years, Dr. John, and wife, Debra – a dental hygienist – are passionate about crafting innovative sugar free sweets with no artificial sweeteners that are good for you. Sweets that are good for you? We know. This goes against everything your momma taught you. But, Dr. John and Debra clearly aren’t your typical dental professionals. Understanding the who, how and why of Dr. John’s® is an inspiring tale of a happy couple’s love for making smiles brighter and their pursuit of inspired, delightful sweets.

First, there was love.
Besides having worked together for more than 30 years, Dr. John and Debra are also best of friends. The Midwest couple’s story began on a blind date and in just three short years they were married and off to start a dental practice together.

Dr. John graduated from University of Michigan and loves to follow all sports associated with the Wolverines, especially football. Both of his parents were educators in the public school system and were always available to lend a helping hand to families in need. He credits his parents for teaching him compassion and the responsibility to give back to his community. Dr. John continues to help those in need by providing dental services and preventative health education in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), Michigan Dental Association (MDA), and West Michigan Dental Society (WMDS) for more than 31 years.

Debra grew up working in her father’s dental practice, where her mother was also a dental hygienist. Her parents practiced dentistry together for more than 40 years in West Michigan. So, dental health was in Debra’s DNA very early on. Her parents also demonstrated to her that treating the patient ‘as you would like to be treated’ is the most important aspect of being a dental hygienist. She has been a member of American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), Michigan Dental Hygienists’ Association (MDHA), and Grand Rapids Dental Hygienists’ Society (GRDHS) for more than 30 years.

Today, Dr. John and Debra live in West Michigan where they raised their three children. All three have grown up with the candy business and the two youngest still work with Dr. John and Debra while attending college. Together, Dr. John and Debra are a family-oriented, Great Lakes loyal, music-loving, bicycling, fly-fishing, outdoor-loving, outside-the-candy-box thinking kind of couple who share a passion for dental health and tasty sweet treats.

Then, came a marriage...of ideas!
The fearless duo took their passion for dental health to a whole new level when they teamed up with a sugar free candy manufacturer and discovered that not every candy is created equal. They came up with a unique method to create decay-fighting treats – in a delightful way. So, after being in practice together for more than a decade, they decided it was time to craft specialty candies that were just like them: oral health conscious and pretty darn sweet! The dental duo set a guiding vision early on. They were determined to figure out how to ensure their treats could be pleasingly sweet and sugar free, assuring that the ingredients tasted great while improving oral health. With a lot of research and development, they accomplished it with great success! They knew they had discovered something unique and special when other dental professionals shared in Dr. John and Debra’s excitement about offering their patients a new and delicious way to fight tooth decay.

And, then came...the lollipops!
It started with a lollipop and a simple concept of wonderfully sweet and naturally healthy proportions. This was the birth of a line of tantalizing candies and treats that are inspired, tasteful and sweet and made with active ingredients sourced from nature.

1995: Introducing...
Dr. John shares his first sugar free lollipop with other dental professionals and soon after, develops his first D2D (that’s dentist-to-dentist) product line, Sweet Originals™, which still exists today. The candy is offered to patients as a tasty and cavity fighting option, giving the words dental ‘treat-ment’ new appeal!

1997: Orders Galore
The orders began to flood in and Debra left clinical practice to run the candy business full-time.

2002: Herbal Impact
UCLA scientist, Dr. Wenyuan Shi, and prominent lecturer, Dr. Maxwell Anderson, contacted Dr. John’s; asking to add a proprietary, cavity-fighting herbal extract to the Dr. John’s sugar free lollipop formulation. This started a six year research & development phase which produced the first cavity-fighting lollipop.

2008: Hello, World!
ABC’s Good Morning America told the world about the Dr. John’s Herbal Lollipop, calling it the “Lollipop that licked decay!”

2008: A Home for the Candy
Dr. John’s moves out of their home office and into a commercial building to keep up with the growing candy demand.
2009: Rising to the Challenge
After being told it couldn’t be done, Dr. John adds a substantial amount of the natural sweetener, xylitol, to his treats, allowing for the successful elimination of artificial sweeteners and the creation of new decay-fighting treats.

2010: Discovering America’s Beautiful Birch
Dr. John’s launches the Simply Xylitol® line of products (available today as Inspired Sweets™, Sweet Advantage™, Simply Decadent™ and Simply Xylitol®) containing American birch xylitol, which is the key ingredient in their current collection of sweets.

2011: Peer-to-Peer Applause
Dr. John was selected as the ‘New and Emerging Speaker’ at the American Dental Association Annual Session.

2012: Off to Tokyo
After moving to an even larger location in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dr. John and Debra travelled to Tokyo, Japan, where Dr. John’s® opened its first brick-and-mortar candy store.

2012: The Proof is in … the Candy
European Academy of Pediatric Dentistry publishes a study by University of Michigan and Delta Dental scientists, which included children from the Head Start Program in Lansing, Michigan. The study verified Dr. John’s Herbal lollipop as a method with significant potential for reducing the risk of tooth decay.

2013: Star Power
Jim Gaffigan, stand-up comedian, actor and author, gives Dr. John and his lollipops a nod in his New York Times best seller Dad is Fat.

2014: Exponential Growth
Dr. John’s took to the road, traveling to Anaheim, California for the Natural Products Expo West Show, where they introduced their xylitol products to the natural food market’s world stage.

2015 T-minus …
Like a rocket, Dr. John’s rebranded and launched their new and expanded line of naturally sweetened hard & soft candies, chocolates, gums, mints, and bulk sweetener at the Chicago Dental Society Mid-Winter Meeting and Sweets & Snacks Expo. This product line can now be found online and in natural food markets – remaining one of, if not the only, sugar free candy line in the world that includes natural sugar free products without artificial sweeteners, flavor or colors. Dr. John’s continues to attract loyal followers from natural food expos and dental meetings across the country.

2015 and Beyond
Dr. John’s team is constantly conducting research and development to further evolve their lines of sweet treats, still committed to the pro-health vision they set early on their business. With the exception of the Sweet Originals™ line of products, their treats are currently made with the natural American birch xylitol sweetener and nearly every one of their products is gluten free, sugar free, dairy free and nut free. Their vision is a guiding force as their sweets are now, and will forever, remain healthier sweets as all of Dr. John’s products are designed to assist with dry mouth, be diabetic friendly, and fight tooth decay. Dr. John’s goal (and they are almost there) is to eventually eliminate artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners from all of its tasty treats.

Dr. John’s – Making News with Xylitol Oral Health

Incorporating Xylitol Into Your Practice Dentaltown Magazine – Dr. John Bruinsma discusses how easy it is to promote and deliver Xylitol and its oral health benefits to your patients.

Click here to read the article online.
Click here for a PDF of the article. (PDF)

Second opinions are common in health care; whether a doctor is sorting out a difficult case or a patient is not sure what to do next. In the context of our magazine, the first opinion will always belong to the reader. This feature will allow fellow dental professionals to share their opinions on various topics, providing you with a "Second Opinion." Perhaps some of these observations will change your mind; while others will solidify your position. In the end, our goal is to create discussion and debate to enrich our profession. — Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, Editorial Director, Dentaltown Magazine