Your Mouth's pH Level (A Balancing Act)

Have you ever thought about what goes on in your mouth when you eat?  What if we told you that every time you eat there is a battle raging in your mouth between good guys and bad guys.  We know this sounds a little far out there but in a way it’s true.  There is a constant struggle between your saliva and the acid produced by the bad bacteria that cause cavities.  But before we get into this, let’s get an understanding of what a healthy mouth looks like. 

A healthy mouth has a natural pH level of about a 7 which is right in the middle of the scale.  The pH scale ranges from extremely acidic at 0 all the way up to extremely basic or alkaline at 14.  As you can see on the scale, certain foods are more acidic or basic than others and can move your mouth’s pH level up or down accordingly. 

pH Food Scale

The mouth's pH level is also affected by the acid that is produced by a strain of bad bacteria called Streptococcus mutans.  These are the bacteria that cause cavities in your teeth.  They breakdown the sugar from your food or drink and as they do this they produce acid that erodes your teeth.  That’s the beginning of the tooth decay process.  The more acid that is produced by these bacteria, the more acidic your mouth becomes, and an acidic environment is the perfect place for them to thrive and grow. 

It’s not all bad though, your mouth does have a great defense mechanism: your saliva.  Your saliva’s job is to neutralize the acidity in your mouth and bring the pH level back to a 7.  It takes about 20-30 minutes for this to happen after you finishing eating or drinking.  But if you are snacking or slowly sipping all day, your saliva can’t fully do its job and the clock restarts after each bite or sip.  So it’s not just what you are eating that can be bad for your teeth but how you are eating it. 

For example, a quick bite of a candy bar is much better for your teeth than sucking on a lollipop. The candy bar is done and gone pretty quickly but the lollipop is savored in the mouth for an extended period of time. As you enjoy that lollipop for 5-10 minutes you are prolonging the exposure of your teeth to sugar. And the longer that sugar sits in your mouth the more the bad bacteria get to enjoy it and prevent your saliva from rebalancing your pH level creating the perfect environment for cavities to form.

There are a few things you can do though to help your mouth neutralize it's acidity level quicker.  One way is to chew sugar-free gum containing xyltiol or erythritol after eating.  These sugar alternatives have been scientifically proven to stimulate saliva flow and fight cavities. You can also swish your mouth with water after you eat or drink to help wash away leftover food particles, including those unseen sugar molecules. Water also has a pH of 7 so it will balance your mouth's pH as well.  Lastly you can incorporate a daily dental probiotic into your oral hygiene routine daily. SUPER TEETH Dental Probiotic contains 3 bacteria strains that have been clinically studied to improve oral health. 

 

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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4598214/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182294/