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Tips From a Family Dentist: Be Careful of the pH Levels in Your Drinks
Your family dentist always has your oral health in mind. Not only do dentists fix your teeth, but they can also recommend strategies in preventing cavities to keep your mouth as healthy. Steering clear of low pH drinks, those with high acidity, can extend the life of your natural teeth.
What is pH?
The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a specific liquid. The term pH stands for “potential of Hydrogen,” which measures the amount of free hydrogen in the water of a certain solution.
This commonly known scale is used across scientific and medical fields to determine whether an aqueous solution is acidic or basic. In the dental field, it is used to measure saliva acidity. The scale ranges from zero to 14, with seven being the neutral number. Everything testing over seven is considered basic, and everything showing a score lower than seven is acidic.
How does pH levels affect oral health?
Bacteria found in the mouth feed on leftover food and drink residue. These bacteria produce acid as a result of digestion. This acid then eats away at tooth enamel and can cause tooth decay, usually in the form of cavities. An increased level of acidity in the mouth has a direct link to an increase in plaque.
Drinks with a pH of six or lower can increase saliva acidity. At a saliva pH level lower than six, minerals in the enamel begin to deteriorate. This demineralization lowers the defense of teeth and puts them at risk for tooth decay.
Drinks that can change pH levels for the worse
Oral health is dependent on keeping acidity levels to a minimum, so limit your intake of harmful drinks that can negatively affect this balance.
Sipping on your favorite morning drink throughout the day may be harming your teeth. Coffee is a four or five on the pH scale — quite acidic. When sipped over a long period, coffee can erode the enamel. If you do enjoy this beverage, either hot or cold, make sure not to prolong exposure and limit yourself to one cup.
Most sodas rate between three and four on the pH scale, but some can rank even lower. Club soda is the least acidic, with sodium added to increase alkalinity. However, steer clear of dark colas as these have a pH level as low as two or three. For children, soda can be especially destructive to their developing teeth. A great benefit of going to a family dentist is that they can examine both you and your kids’ teeth.
In addition to a pH rating between three and four, alcoholic drinks like beer and wine can hinder your ability to produce saliva. Alcohol changes the content of your saliva and makes you produce less of it. Saliva is needed to clean the mouth and wash away excess bacteria.
See a family dentist to keep your mouth healthy
Thankfully, when your mouth has a pH over seven, your teeth begin to remineralize. Healthy saliva is in the neutral range at seven. Encourage your children to drink plenty of water. Water is normally a neutral seven, although bottled water can be slightly acidic. Milk is another excellent choice for keeping healthy teeth.
Call our office to speak with a family dentist about choosing the right drinks to keep your teeth healthy.
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