pH, as you know, stands for the potential of hydrogen present in any chemical compound. In layman’s terms, it measures the hydrogen-ion concentration of a substance. Logically speaking, the pH scale typically measures and classifies a substance’s acidity or baseness in a solution.
You should know that a healthy mouth usually has 7.1 approx as per the pH scale. This figure may be slightly above the neutral pH of 7. However, when you introduce acidic foods through your diet – they constantly lower this figure. As a result, you endanger your teeth and dental health. That sounds interesting, right?
Therefore, you should know the pH of any food item you eat. Keep reading to learn more on the topic and how the pH scale can affect your dental health.
Does the pH Level of Your Mouth Matter?
Do you know the pH level of your mouth is essential as it affects the health of your teeth and gums? You may also have heard about the pH level of your body that affects your health.
Studies show that lower or more acidic pH levels in your mouth are associated with a greater risk for severe health conditions. Examples are obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Similarly, higher pH levels, or more alkaline – are connected to improvements in memory and cognition, reduced pain, and lower risk of hypertension and stroke. That sounds interesting, right?
So you may ask, how is pH connected to your dental health? The pH level in your mouth will directly or indirectly affect the health of your teeth and gums. Therefore, the best practice is maintaining a healthy pH level in your oral cavity through the foods you eat.
By consciously regulating the pH in your mouth, you can quickly help reduce the harmful bacteria. As a result, it will reduce your risk of gum disease, gum infection, tooth cavities, and tooth decay.
Bacteria feed on sugars commonly found in table sugar or sucrose. Therefore, foods like pasta, candies, sodas, bread, and even natural fruits may give bacteria in the mouth more stuff to feed on. Thus producing lactic acids, which leads to tooth decay.
Tooth Decay and pH Scale
It is essential to know that one common way tooth decay can occur – is when the pH level in your mouth starts to fall below 5.5. The neutral pH level is 7.0, but this will drop when you begin to consume acidic foods and drinks. When your mouth gets exposed to long periods of low pH – it will allow cavities causing bacteria to develop.
We all know that sugar is terrible for your teeth. Exposure to sugars frequently may cause the pH of the dental plaque to fall below a healthy level. However, if you can keep your plaque on teeth at a level of 7.0 or greater, you will not be at risk for cavity-causing bacteria, even when exposed to sugars.
Some foods, such as sugary beverages and snacks, increase your mouth’s acidity. Hence the pH can change dramatically with the types of foods you consume. Highly acidic foods, like lemons, often lower your pH, while other foods, like melons, may increase the pH.
The saliva secreted from your salivary glands in the mouth helps to neutralize these acids to a large extent. Acidic foods can also increase the acidity of saliva. If the pH does not cancel quickly – it may allow the harmful bacteria to deteriorate the condition of your mouth. As a result, it may lead to cavities or even the need for a root canal treatment in the long run.
Acids in Your Mouth – pH Scale
The word acid has several negative meanings, typically conjuring up images of a dangerous liquid effortlessly eating through some solid substance. Think of these acids in your mouth are pretty different from those found in labs, like hydrochloric acid.
But these acids can still erode whatever substance they come in contact with. It may be the outer layer of your teeth. You often consume some foods and beverages that are naturally acidic, like apples, oranges, and other citrus fruits.
Several food items contain sugars and carbs that the bacteria or oral microbe in your mouth consume and finally convert into lactic acid. The presence of this lactic acid lowers the pH scale of your mouth. Meaning it indicates higher acidity.
It is important to note that when the pH scale of your mouth drops below a level of 5.5, your tooth enamel may start to dissolve under the acid attack. In such a scenario, the tooth decay process progresses unchecked. Finally, the acid damage will make your enamel too weak to protect your teeth from harmful bacteria. These bacteria can easily slip past the enamel and infect the inner tissues of the teeth.
How to Keep Your Dental pH Scale Under Control?
Cutting acidic foods out of your diet may be possible, though it can be challenging. Moreover, it might also deprive you of essential minerals and nutrients. Unfortunately, ceasing to feed the oral bacteria in your mouth means not feeding yourself.
Therefore, the best option is to brush and routinely floss your teeth. Probably as it is among your best defenses against the invasion of organic acid. Oral bacteria are more harmful as they produce acid in more significant numbers.
If left alone and untreated, these harmful bacteria may create plaque, which hardens into tartar. This plaque on teeth and tartar increase your chances of developing a cavity. If you want to eat something acidic or sugary, do so as part of a large meal. The reason is that the other components of your feast may help balance out the acidic invasion on your tooth enamel. Finally, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water when you are done eating.
How Can You Increase The pH Level of Your Mouth?
In order to maintain a healthy pH level in your mouth, the first step should be to increase alkalinity. It is essential to understand that improving your oral cavity’s pH scale may have several advantages. You could do it simply by maintaining an alkaline-friendly diet.
Below are some tips to help you get started:
1 Eat More Vegetables
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is healthy for your body and dental health. Green vegetables are rich in minerals and vitamins that help increase alkalinity. In addition, fresh veggies could help fight off bacteria and infections too.
Experts say that the more vibrant colored fruits and vegetables you eat, the more beneficial it is. Not only for your dental health but for your overall health too. Some good choices may include bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, kale leaves, asparagus, and green beans.
2. More Beans & Seeds
Most beans are often high in alkaline, such as navy, soy, and lima beans. Other good options to move to alkaline food include caraway, fennel, cumin, and sesame seeds.
3. Cut Back on Bread to Maintain pH Scale
Note that most grains and bread fall under the acidic range of foods. Limiting bread in meals may be the most challenging part of any diet. But you need to understand that there are healthier options, such as almond flour bread, which is slightly alkaline.
4 Artificial Sweeteners Be Careful
Alternatives to sugar, as you know, are often very acidic, like xylitol, honey, and beet sugar. You might be safer using Stevia as it is high in alkaline.
5 Avoid Condiments
Do you know condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, miso, and peanut butter are highly acidic? Of course, eating a hot dog or burger plain without a sauce is difficult. The best option is to offset condiments’ acidity with other alkaline stuff. Your good choices are mango, melons, cantaloupe, apples, or carrots.
6 Limit Alcohol, Dairy, and Coffee
Wine, cheese, and coffee are all very acidic. You would also agree that this stuff can be challenging to give up. You may try to reduce your intake of these items simply.
Checking Your pH Levels
There are a couple of methods with which you can test the pH levels of your mouth. Did you know that hydrion pH test paper – can be used to test your saliva? You can do the test in the comfort of your home. You can purchase the kit from your local health food store. In addition, you can also get your pH level tested by your dentist at the clinic.
When should you test your pH level? The best time to test your pH levels is first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything. If the levels are low, know that it is never too late to take the necessary steps to reach a healthy level.
pH Level Testing
If your pH level is below 7.0, acidemia might occur. Acidemia is the abnormal acidity of your blood. In such a condition, your mouth will be more susceptible to decay, recurrent decay, periodontitis, and even halitosis.
Are your pH levels low? Remember, it is never too late to take steps to bring your body chemistry back into balance. Avoiding alkaline-producing foods and limiting acidic foods help balance your body chemistry – towards a more alkaline condition.
Other factors are also responsible. It may include removing excess concentrations of carbon dioxide in your body. To reduce deep breathing exercises – you can reduce stress too. The process will help maintain the pH balance in the body.
It is important to note that balanced body chemistry will also help protect your body and your teeth and gums from bacterial infections and other severe medical conditions.
Contact our team if you have any further queries about the pH level in your mouth or anything relating to oral health. They can also help you better understand what you need to know about the pH levels of your oral cavity.