Do you know that there is a constant battle going on in your body to manage the pH level of your mouth? It’s true. Keeping the pH balance of your mouth in check can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Dr. Erpenbach sees the damage that happens when mouths become too acidic.
What is pH?
Potential of hydrogen, or pH, is the scale that is used to measure the acidity of solutions. The pH scale ranges from zero to 14. Substances that fall in the zero to 6.5 range are more acidic, and substances that range from 7.5 to 14 are more basic. Those solutions with a pH balance of 7 are neutral. Tap water can range between 6.5 and 8.5. Coca Cola and other sodas range between 2.52 and 4.75, making them very acidic. Fruit juice and sports drinks also are in the acidic range.
Why Does pH Matter to My Mouth?
The health of your teeth and gums is affected by pH. Foods and drinks that are acidic wear down tooth enamel, weakening it and making it susceptible to decay.
Bacteria that cause tooth decay also thrive in acidic environments. These acidic environments are created in the mouth when we eat foods high in sugar. Foods that are high in sugar don’t just include candies and sugary sodas, but also include fruit, pasta, and some vegetables. When these sugars meet bacteria in the mouth, the produce lactic acid, which further damage the teeth.
Managing pH to Protect Your Dental Health
Dr. Erpenbach suggests a few ways to manage pH to protect dental health. One of them is to limit consumption of acidic foods and drinks and to avoid foods high in sugar. Sugar alternatives, like xylitol, are beneficial because they do not contribute to acid production in the mouth.
Another way is to use baking soda to neutralize acidity. Baking soda has an alkalinity rating of 9 on the pH scale. Before bed, he recommends brushing and flossing, and then brushing again with a little baking soda and then rinse. During the night, our pH rises again, so Dr. Erpenbach recommends using a toothpaste with higher alkalinity to return pH to a more neutral range.
Do you have questions about how the foods you eat impact your mouth? Call Dr. Erpbenbach today at 865-584-8630