The Power of Hydrogen (pH) scale is of great importance as it relates to your smile’s health. And anything that supports healthy teeth and gums is generally beneficial to the “rest of you.” Clearwater, FL area residents, may ask what the connection between pH levels and oral health is. We at Natural and Cosmetic Dentistry can answer that!
What does pH measure?
pH measures how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance is, on a scale from 1 to 14. “1” refers to the “most acidic” substances (battery acid), whereas “14” refers to the “most alkaline” substances (lye). Smack-dab in the middle (at “7”) is pure water. Acidic chemicals are typically corrosive and sour-tasting. They “donate” or release hydrogen atoms. In contrast, alkaline compounds neutralize or effervesce with acids.
At a pH level of 5.5, teeth can lose minerals in the enamel and skeletal bone, putting your teeth at risk of decay. Likewise, teeth begin to remineralize or build up depleted mineral content with a pH of 7.5. So, a healthy mouth generally has a neutral pH level.
How pH helps (or hinders) oral health?
All acids weaken teeth, but the extent of damage depends on how long the acids “sit” on your teeth.
We don’t recommend sipping on coffee, sodas, or sucking on candy.
Why? Because when these acids aren’t removed with frequent brushing, they “bathe” your teeth and gums persistently, which can be very destructive. If you must sip or savor, we encourage you to rinse your mouth regularly with water. Then, thoroughly brush and floss as soon as you can.
Promoting alkali production can have great dental benefits by also promoting remineralization or recalcification. This process flies in the face of the destructive chain of events that leads to mineral loss. Demineralization occurs when the bacteria in our mouths metabolize carbohydrates (sugars and starches) and produce acids.
Dietary choices and the products that Dr. Beata A. Carlson and Associates recommend, such as mouthwashes, support healthy pH levels on teeth surfaces and inhibit the rate by which calcium phosphate is dissolved in acids. Calcium phosphate makes up the mineral content in the tooth’s protective enamel covering, the cementum that overlays the roots of the teeth, and the dentin layer that forms most of each tooth (underneath the enamel surface). This process helps to remineralize tissues.
A few of these alkalizing (or neutralizing) options include:
- Fresh vegetables
- Gum (with Xylitol)
Additionally, smoking and the use of other nicotine-containing products are associated with a significantly lower salivary pH than those who don’t smoke or chew. So, it is best to abstain – for the good of your smile, and everything else!
As a holistic practice, we account for that “whole you” – not just your teeth and gums.
So, we also assess and regularly monitor those conditions that can throw the pH balance in your mouth out-of-whack. During visits, we will discuss how existing conditions are being managed, and changes in your overall health that affect pH levels and, in turn, the integrity of teeth, gum tissue, and supporting bone.
Often the medical conditions that affect pH levels in your mouth are associated with Xerostomia (dry mouth). Your body’s ability to make naturally cleansing saliva is inhibited, and there isn’t enough saliva to properly dilute oral acids. So, dry mouth is a risk factor in the development of plaque, cavities, and tooth loss. There are 200-plus medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. Likewise, many conditions that are treated with these drugs cause dry mouth.
We’ll monitor for the likes of:
- Diabetes control
- Salivary gland disorders
- Sjogren’s syndrome; other autoimmune disorders
- Oral cancers
- High blood pressure
- Asthma and other conditions linked to mouth-breathing (sleep apnea)
- Chronic digestive diseases, such as celiac disease
Our holistic dentists are ready to take care of you!
Call 727-888-6523 to schedule your appointment at Natural and Cosmetic Dentistry in Clearwater, FL.Back to Blog Page