• Studies have shown that a prolonged acidic (low pH) oral environment can cause an overgrowth of acidic bacteria
• Acidic bacteria cause tooth decay
• Keeping a neutral pH in the mouth can prevent acidic bacterial growth
• New dental products with pH balancing agents, xylitol, and fluoride are now available
Why is pH so important?
pH is a measure of acidity. The lower the pH, the more acidic something is, and the higher the pH, the more alkaline something is. The pH scale goes from 1-14, 1 being the most acidic, 14 being the most alkaline, and 7 being neutral (like flat water and healthy saliva).
For years we have focused on the role of sugar in causing cavities. While we know that sugar feeds the bacteria that produce acids, which in turn causes cavities, it is a prolonged acidic oral pH that is responsible for promoting these cavity-causing bacteria, and an acidic pH that is responsible for the demineralization of the enamel required for cavities to occur.
It breaks down like this…
Prolonged low pH in the mouth results in an overgrowth of cavity-causing bacteria which in turn causes death of healthy bacteria which equals CAVITY!
If you want to stop the end result in this chain, you have to intercept the lowering of the pH, which you can do either by avoiding acidic and sugary food/drink and/or by using alkaline and neutralizing dental products.
If we can keep the pH of the mouth neutral between meals, we can maintain health. If the caries infection already exists, we can use neutralizing products to promote the re-growth of healthy bacteria.
• Limit sugary/carbohydrate containing items in your diet.
• Limit sugar containing beverages as well non-sugar containing acidic beverages (i.e. diet soda, coffee, tea, sparkling water, alcohol). It is these items in the diet that can cause intense or long-lasting acidic pH in the mouth that then causes healthy bacteria to die and cavity-causing bacteria to thrive, thus leading to a caries infection.
• Acidic beverages to avoid: coffee, tea, sugared soda, non-sugared soda, sparkling waters like La Croix, Topo Chico, Soda Stream and water additives like Crystal Lite.