Did you know that the bacteria in your mouth feeds off of sugars in your foods? Over 700 types of bacteria have been discovered in the mouth. So when we eat, our food can feed bacteria which allows them to create lactic acid which causes tooth decay. According to the International Journal of Drug Testing, a healthy pH for saliva is between 5.6-7.9. If the pH level in your mouth is less than 5.5 you will become prone to dental caries because the acidity level will erode your enamel.
One of the ways we can control the growth of bad bacteria is by limiting consumption of sugary foods. If you have acidic saliva this can cause dental problems because your saliva could damage your teeth. You can end up with cavities, broken fillings, tooth sensitivity and receding gums even if you are brushing and flossing daily.
To fight bacteria, choose foods that balance the alkalinity of your saliva to create an unfavorable environment for oral bacteria. By lowering oral pH, bacteria that produce lactic acid thrive. Eating foods with a higher pH can help with alkalinity. Eating foods like spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, blueberries, mangos, and avocados raise alkalinity. Highly acidic and low pH food and drinks include energy drinks, sodas, coffee, artificial sweeteners, beef, bread, nuts, pasta, and pork.
A healthy oral environment is basically non-acidic, neutral, or alkaline mouth, with a pH 7.0 or above. The roots of your teeth begin dissolving when pH gets lower than neutral (at pH 6.5). In fact, when oral acidity drops to pH 5.5 or lower, teeth will start to erode, become discolored, and cavity prone.
While we know that acidity weakens teeth, it has more to do with the length of time that acids are in the mouth that makes it the most damaging to teeth. Sipping your drinks all day or snacking on acidic foods throughout is the most harmful, so limit exposure to acidity to protect your pearly whites.
Like most things, balance is key when regulating the pH of the mouth. Although an oral environment that is too low on the pH scale makes you more vulnerable to cavities, eating only foods with only high pH isn’t healthy either. In conjunction with a good daily oral hygiene routine and regular dental cleanings, balancing your oral pH keeps the mouth healthiest.
Give our team a call at Stonegate Dentistry if you have any questions or concerns about your oral health. We can be reached at 512-255-1025 today!