The Paramount Importance of pH

pH tooth

The average pH of our saliva is 6.7 pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a logarithmic scale. The range is 0-14 and 7 is neutral. Greater than seven is a basic solution and less than seven is an acidic solution. The normal range in our mouths is 6.7 to 7.3, and through stimulation of our saliva by food and drink it will fluctuate. The foods we eat and the drinks we drink can impact the pH of our saliva.

The average pH in your mouth is important because bacteria grow and multiple better in an acidic environment. This is the same bacteria that causes destruction of tooth structure resulting in tooth decay.

Did you know that the degree and type of staining and discoloration of your teeth are impacted by the low pH of the food or drink as well as the food color rather than just the food color alone?

Food/Drink Range of pH

Milk - 6.7-6.9 pH
Eggs - 6.5 -6.7 pH
Coffee - 5.2-6.9 pH
White Wine - 3-3.3 pH
Red Wine - 3.3-3.5 pH
Sparkling Water/Seltzer - 3-4 pH
Soy Sauce - 4.4- 5.4 pH
Orange Juice - 3.3 - 4.2
Apple juice - 3.35 - 4
Cranberry Juice - 2.3 - 2.5
Vinegar - 2.4

Enamel loss occurs at the pH of 5.5 or below. The hydroxyapatite in the dental enamel dissolves when the saliva and plaque fluid can no longer absorb the calcium and phosphate. Our saliva is consistently being supplied with apatite (composition varies). The greater the absorption of calcium and phosphate the less tooth demineralization will occur.

So be mindful of what you are eating and drinking by exposing your teeth to the stimulant for shorter periods of time. For example, instead of sipping on a drink for several hours, it's best to drink it with a meal. And between meal times to regularly drink water, brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste.

For more information check out this study:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S030057121000196X

Author
Dr. Leelah Jaberi, DDS

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