pH Levels And Tooth Decay
VISITING OUR ORTHODONTIC PRACTICE REGULARLY HAS PROBABLY HELPED YOU LEARN everything there is to know about mouths, right? Well, there’s always more than meets the eye when it comes to the little things we can do to keep our mouths healthy, especially for those of us with obstacles like braces in our way. Even those of us who are diligent brushers and flossers sometimes find ourselves with tooth decay when those braces come off. Here’s one more little snippet of information that may help you.
While it is true that things like flossing, brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day, visiting your dentist, coming in to our orthodontic practice for regular checkups, using mouthwash, and avoiding sugary foods DO help prevent cavities, there are other things we can do. New discoveries show that the pH levels in our mouths actually have A LOT more to do with tooth decay than we may realize, and maintaining normal pH levels can be helpful in fighting off cavities and gum disease.
Exactly What Is pH?
To put it simply, pH is a measure of acidity… The lower the pH, the higher the acidity, and the higher the pH, the higher the alkaline levels. The pH scale runs from 1 to 14, and in the middle of the scale is the neutral number 7, being most like water.
This is where we want our mouths to be. While we know that sugar feeds the bacteria that produces acids and turns into cavities, it is actually prolonged acidic oral pH that can cause tooth decay and a demineralization of your enamel.
Confused? Let us break this down…
Heading off the domino effect means intercepting those pH levels before they get out of hand. Ever heard of a pH test strips? They’re like the sticks you dip into your swimming pool, except they’re for your mouth. You can buy them at your local pharmacy and then try these remedies at home!
- Fresh Lemon and/or Lime Juice: Lemons and limes are acidic until they react with the sodium bicarbonate released by the pancreas. Upon entering the intestinal tract lemon and lime juice have alkaline properties. However, since both lemons and limes can erode tooth enamel, if you spice up your water with these delicious flavor accents, make sure you drink with a straw placed at the back of your mouth!
- Take your multivitamins: Take a high quality multivitamin that contains both the essential vitamins and minerals.
- Eat those leafy greens: Dark green vegetables and “green drinks” contain a high abundance of chlorophyll—a strong detoxifier and immunity–building agent.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar: Eliminate all processed foods, and when you opt for grains, make sure they’re “whole.”
If you have any additional questions about how to keep your mouth healthy while we help straighten your smile, set up an appointment to talk to Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg. Let’s do all we can to prevent tooth decay!
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