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What’s Your pH?

For those of you that don’t remember learning about pH in school, we are going to give you a refresher and talk about the role it plays in the oral cavity. The pH scale is a scale used to measure how acidic or basic a substance is when compared to another one. The pH of the saliva plays an important role in a person’s decay rate. The diet has a huge factor in determining pH, but a person’s genetics may also play a role. Thankfully, there are ways to help balance and neutralize your pH to help fight off those nasty cavity bugs.

I’m sure most of you could pinpoint out what is acidic and what’s not when it comes to foods and drinks. The obvious ones, for example, are energy drinks, sodas, juice, and coffee being the most acidic. More basic beverages include milk, spring water, and green tea. You should be surprised to hear even some bottled waters are acidic. I know, I know, our hearts are broken too. Even diet sodas and those squirt things you add to your water to give it flavor are super acidic. Foods that are more basic or create a more balanced pH in the mouth are nuts, eggs, yogurts, and cheese. Add some coconut and asparagus, and you’ll have the healthiest mouth ever. The point is, you want to be conscious of what you are putting in your mouth not only for your body but your teeth as well.

Xylitol can be your mouth’s best friend. This can be found in many mints and gum you find at your local grocery store. What happens when you consume things with xylitol? The bad bacteria eat the xylitol, and they can’t metabolize it, so it kills them off. Sounds awesome, right? You can find xylitol in some sugar-free candy, Orbit and Mentos gum, and those little Ice Breakers cubes. There are a bunch of other products out there that contain xylitol as well, just check the label. Xylitol basically (literally) creates a balanced pH in your mouth. It is great to use after snacks or that soda you couldn’t live without in the middle of the day.

At Dental Reflections Dublin, we check the pH of all of our patients’ mouths that come to visit our team. We want to let them know if their saliva is more on the acidic or basic side so that we can give them the right tools to use at home to help prevent cavities and maintain good oral health.