People who regularly visit their dentist must know everything about oral hygiene, right? Brush twice a day, floss once a day, gargle, and scrape your tongue once a day. While admirable, those scratch the surface of what oral hygiene encompasses, and what comes next may surprise you, so be prepared.
Did you know that pH levels are directly connected to tooth decay? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), they do! Thus, maintaining the proper levels can protect you from harmful cavities and gum disease.
Find out how by reading on.
Basically, pH measures acidity, which is usually rated on a scale from 0 to 14, with the most highly acidic solutions having a pH of 0 and the most highly alkaline solutions having 14. At a neutral pH level of 7, in the middle is pure water.
Although sugar feeds the bacteria that produce acid in our mouths, we want to keep our mouths at a neutral pH. On an otherwise acidic diet, prolonged exposure to an acidic oral environment can cause tooth decay and demineralization of your enamel. Bet you weren’t listening to your dentist when they talked about that, huh?
Still confused? Keep reading.
Have you ever heard of pH strips? They’re like paper strips you can dip into your swimming pool, except for your mouth. Buy them at your local pharmacy so you can try these pH-balancing solutions at home!
- Fresh lemon or lime juice: Lemons and limes are acidic until they react with the sodium bicarbonate released by the pancreas when they enter the intestinal tract. This can result in an alkaline reaction, but lemons and limes can erode tooth enamel; if you use them to flavor your water, make sure you drink out of a straw placed at the back of your mouth to reduce the contact area with your teeth.
- Take multivitamins. Take a high-quality multivitamin that contains both the essential vitamins and minerals.
- Eat those dark green vegetables. They contain chlorophyll, which is a potent detoxifier and immunity–building agent.
- Don’t eat refined carbohydrates and sugar: Avoid processed foods when you can, and opt for whole grains when possible.
Preventing Improper pH Levels and Tooth Decay
You’ll be amazed at how simple the remedies prevent improper pH levels. Aside from the practices mentioned above, the basic oral hygiene principles still apply:
- Using ADA-compliant toothpaste: The fluoride in the toothpaste will strengthen your teeth and help prevent tooth decay.
- Brushing your teeth twice per day: Brushing for two minutes each time helps prevent tooth decay.
- Flossing your teeth: Food particles and bacteria build up between your teeth, leading to tooth decay. Flossing can help prevent this.
- Snack less: It is important to note that any acidic foods eaten in addition to water (neutral pH) will lower the pH level in your mouth and contribute to tooth decay. Avoid seeking out snacks and snack less if you can to prevent that from happening. Eating less often will also allow your mouth’s pH levels to normal.
Time pHor a Visit to Your Dentist
Each time you drink or eat something sweet or sour, your body will release chemicals to process it. And since digestion begins in the mouth, higher acidity levels will erode your teeth and gums unless you stabilize it with good oral hygiene or simply drink a glass of water to flush it away from your oral cavity. Regardless, talk to your dentist about maintaining the proper pH levels in your next visit so you can learn more from an expert and learn how to protect your teeth from tooth decay best.
Book your visit with a dentist in Sudbury, MA, at Sudbury Dental Arts! We provide patients with general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry solutions that improve their oral health. We’re here for your loved ones’ smiles, so set your schedule with us now!