Balancing the pH of the mouth may be one efficient way to reduce bacteria that can cause tooth decay. There are several ways to balance pH including consumption of alkalosis foods, reducing consumption of foods that lower the pH of the mouth, and of course regular dental care.
The International Journal of Drug Testing recognizes a healthy pH in saliva as falling between a 5.6 -7.9. A pH level of less than 5.5 can put a person at risk of tooth enamel erosion that can cause cavities; a higher pH can reduce risk. A standard neutral pH is 7, the balanced pH level found in water.
Bacteria feed off of sugars commonly found in foods including sucrose (table sugar), glucose, fructose, lactose and cooked starches. Foods such as candies, sodas, pastas, animal proteins and breads, as well as many natural fruits, provide oral bacteria with fuel to produce the lactic acid that causes tooth decay. Reducing consumption of these sugary foods is one method of controlling the growth of bad bacteria and production of acid.
Consuming foods that balance the alkalinity of saliva may be a method for creating an unfavorable environment for bacteria to thrive. When pH drops, bacteria that produce lactic acid thrive. Try consuming foods that have a higher pH value, and are higher on the alkaline spectrum. At the high end of the spectrum are spinach, broccoli, cucumbers, onion, sweet potatoes, green beans, blueberries, mangos, avocados and peas. Some surprisingly alkaline fruits also include lemons and limes, which despite their acidic taste are alkaline for the body. On the highly acidic, low pH end of the spectrum lie sodas and energy drinks, beef, bread, nuts, artificial sweeteners, pasta, pork and coffee.
Balance is important when deciding on foods for regulating the pH of the mouth. While having a mouth that is too low on the pH scale can put one at a higher risk for cavities, consuming only foods with only high pH can be too much of a good thing. Consumption of the proper vitamins and nutrients required for good health, and good oral health, is most important.
It is important to brush, floss and rinse twice daily, as well as visit the dentist every six months for dental exams and cleanings. Consult with your dentist about your oral health and any concerns that you have. Paired with a good dental health routine, balancing the pH of the mouth can be one method to keep the mouth healthy and reduce cavities.