Remember the pH scale? You may have some vague recollection of it from your grade-school science classes. Let’s jog your memory a little bit. Things that are below pH 7 are considered acidic while things that are above pH 7 are alkaline. The stuff you eat has a place on the pH scale, but your saliva also has a pH range and it’s important to keep your mouth’s pH in balance.
Your Saliva’s pH Balance
There’s no single normal pH number, but it’s good for it to hover around or a bit above pH 7, which is considered neutral. When your saliva starts sliding down on the acidic side, that’s when the acids in your mouth can start breaking down your tooth enamel and leave you more vulnerable to cavities.
What Affects Your Mouth’s pH Balance?
The foods you eat and the beverages you drink can alter your saliva’s pH level. For example, if you consume a sugary, acidic drink like soda, that can cause a drop in your saliva’s pH, or in other words, increase its acidity. There are also other factors like how old you are, if you smoke tobacco, and whether or not you have certain medical conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease.
How to Manage Your Mouth’s pH Balance
If you want to keep your saliva’s pH at a healthy number and prevent things from becoming too acidic, there are a few simple things you can do. First, get in the habit of rinsing your mouth with water after meals. Additionally, you can try to eat things with calcium, like cheese, since that’s a counter to acid and actually good for your oral health. Another easy way to manage your mouth’s pH is to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
Smiles’s Dental is Here to Help
Want more tips? We’re always happy to help! Smiles Dental has locations across Washington and Oregon, so just call whichever is closest to you to set up your visit. We uphold a high standard of care at all of our offices, and we’d love to welcome you into our practice family!