In order to maintain a healthy smile and deter tooth decay, it’s important maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth. You can help balance your mouth’s pH in several ways:
- Reduce consumption of foods that lower your mouth’s pH
- Balancing the alkalosis foods in your diet
- Regular Dental Care
Healthy pH Balance
First let’s learn how the pH scale works. The pH scales goes from 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acidic, and 14 being the most alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral and water is typically a pH of 7. For a health mouth you want to maintain a neutral pH between 5.6 and 7.9. Once the mouth pH hits 5.5 or lower, teeth begin to demineralize and you risk developing a cavity.
Reduce Consumption of Acidic Foods
To keep your teeth healthy, you must keep oral acidity to a minimum. The bacteria that causes tooth decay feeds off of sugar, this includes:
- Table sugar
When you eat foods like candy, pastas, sodas, animal proteins, and many breads, as well as natural fruits, you’re fueling the bacteria that then creates lactic acid, which leads to tooth decay. By reducing how much you eat of these foods, you can curb the bacteria and resulting acidity.
Keep in mind there are some factors that can impact the acidity in your mouth beyond diet. Health conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease can impact your mouth’s pH by increasing the acidity.
Medical conditions, like diabetes, and medications, like antihistamines and antidepressants, can also reduce your flow of saliva. Because of this the buffering saliva provides to counterbalance acidic food can be diminished.
Consuming a Healthy Balance of Alkalosis Foods
To create a pH balanced environment where bacteria won’t thrive, trying incorporating foods that balance the alkalinity of your saliva. When you eat food that have a higher pH and are higher on the alkaline spectrum, the overall pH of your mouth drops, balancing any lactic acid.
Some great foods on the high end of the pH spectrum include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Beans
- SURPRISE! Lemons- While lemons and limes taste acidic they are actually alkaline for the body.
Some foods that have a lower pH and are more acidic include: soda, beef, bread, artificial sweeteners, pasta, pork, and coffee.
Be wary of going to either extreme in your diet choices for a health mouth pH. It’s important to find a good balance between acidic, neutral, and alkaline foods in your diet. While too much acidic food can increase your risk for cavities, you don’t want to instead eat only foods with a high pH. Be sure to get all of the proper nutrients and vitamins needed for good mouth and overall health!
Proper Dental Care
Beyond diet, one constant factor in a healthy mouth pH is proper dental care. Always brush, floss, and rinse twice a day. It’s also important to have a dental check up every six months for exams and cleanings. Fluoride cleanings can inhibit the rate of acid solubilization of calcium phosphate, which makes up most of the mineral in enamel, cementum, and dentin, while aiding in remineralization of these tissues. When paired with a balanced diet, a good dental health routine will help balance your mouth’s pH and reduce cavities.
If you have any questions about your mouth’s pH, or would like to schedule a dental exam or cleaning contact us today! We provide a range of preventative dentistry. from oral cancer screenings to routine cleanings. Through these services we can help you stay ahead with your dental health. A routine cleaning typically only takes one hour of your time in the office, or an hour and a half for brand new patients. During your dental cleaning we perform what is known as prophylaxis, which removes plaque and tartar build up above the gum line.
Good oral hygiene is the key to healthy teeth, let us help you keep your smile healthy!