DID YOU KNOW it was found that the PH level in which enamel tends to dissolve is 5.5. Why is this important? Well because enamel is the first line of defense for your teeth against many different chemicals from food, drink and even our bodily fluids. When we focus on regulating the PH in our mouth, we can reduce the risk of cavities, decay and gum disease.
Enamel is the outer surface of the tooth structure which is very tough and protects the tooth. What we eat and drink on a daily basis can affect that outer shell of the tooth and cause decay (cavities). When what we consume contains high levels of citric acid and phosphoric acid over time it can cause our enamel to erode and in turn cause staining and sensitivity. Enamel erosion over time can cause yellow stains, fractures, chips and even look translucent along the edges of where the enamel as worn down. Once tooth enamel is gone it can not be regrown, only fixed by your dentist.
Our Saliva also acts as a weapon against erosion. It works hard to balance out the PH level in our mouth when we consume foods with acid. Saliva neutralizes the acids in our mouth and washes them down to our stomach. PH balance is a scientific term that refers the the level of acidity in a liquid. PH is ranked on a scale from 0-14, with zero PH being the most acidic, the perfect PH level is seven. Water has a perfect 7 PH, which is why it is so important that we drink it. Our saliva generally follows with a 7.4 PH which is why it is strong at neutralizing the acidity in your mouth.
In Order to help maintain a proper PH balance in your mouth there are certain foods and drinks we should try to avoid. We all know that our soda drinks are on the list of things to avoid, but its not just the sugar in these drinks that can cause damage, the carbonation alone can cause the PH balance to be high. While the new thing is the “at home healthy soda machines” that may contain 50% less sugar they still have a high PH because of the carbonation that is produced in them. Some fruits and vegetable’s are also acidic so its important to do some research.
Other causes of enamel erosion can be Chronic Acid Reflux (GERD), low salivary flow, eating disorders or genetic disorders. All of these issues can cause the PH balance within the mouth to be thrown off and can affect your teeth.
What can we do to help our PH balance? While we would like to tell you to never touch acidic drinks and food again, we know that is not possible. So here are some helpful tips.
- When drinking a sugary beverage try not to sip on it all day, drink it quickly instead and follow it up with a water rinse. It will wash away the sugar and help restore the balance.
- Try chewing gum that contains Xylitol, it is believed to help prevent bacteria from clinging to teeth and chewing gum encourages saliva production.
- Eat cheese! Some cheeses are known for rebalancing PH levels.
- Do not brush teeth right after consuming anything sugary or acidic. Enamel is soft at this point and brushing can cause damage.
- Drink lots of water.
- Talk to your Doctor if you are struggling with acid reflux issues.
If you think you have issues with enamel erosion, book an appointment with your regular dentist and discuss the best best preventative and treatment options that suit your needs.