Diet and Oral Health Go Hand and Hand
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Balance your pH for a Healthy You!
Maintaining a balanced, healthy diet is important not only for oral health, but your overall health. Our cells need to be slightly alkaline to function properly. A diet consisting largely of acidic beverages and foods, such as soft drinks and processed foods, has a negative effect on the body’s pH level. When pH levels are not balanced, we are unable to process essential minerals and nutrients correctly. Bacteria, viruses, and disease thrive in an acidic environment. When the pH level of saliva becomes acidic, teeth begin to decay—a pH level of 5.5 is an ideal environment for harmful oral bacteria to thrive. However, an alkaline environment makes it difficult for disease and illness to survive. Therefore working toward a balanced pH level will help to combat bacteria, viruses, diseases, and work towards a healthy you.
How Acidic Are You?
Testing your pH level is quick and non-invasive. Check the pH level of either your saliva or urine for your acidic/alkaline level; however saliva is a better indicator of acidity level. Test strips made of litmus paper change color based on your pH level. A scale chart will help in identifying your level.
The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14 with neutral being 7.0 (the ideal level). When the pH of body fluids is at 7.0 (alkaline) it indicates an oxygen-rich environment-this is an ideal state for good health. However, when the pH level is below 7.0 (acidic) this indicates an oxygen-deprived environment—ideal for disease, and for cavities and the de-mineralization of teeth.
Where do I find testing kits? pH testing strips are available at most drug stores-this makes it easy and convenient to test in your own home.
Diet and Oral Health Go Hand and Hand
The pH level is a reflection of the foods you eat. A diet rich in sugar, dairy products, and animal fats produces acid in the body making an ideal environment for bacteria that cause tooth decay. A diet that incorporates alkaline-forming foods is not difficult—there are plenty to choose from.
Take a look at your diet to understand if you have a good balance of acid and alkaline producing food. A daily diet should consist of 20-25% acid forming foods and 75-80% of alkaline forming foods. An oral pH level of 7.0 (neutral) or slightly above 7.5 (slightly alkaline) actually allows the teeth to become stronger and re-mineralize.
A good way to begin your path to pH balance is to opt for fresh alkaline “friendly” produce. There are many alkaline-forming foods to choose from, here are just a few:
Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne peppers give you more than a spicy taste! It is one of the most alkalizing foods. It is high in vitamin A, making it a helpful agent in fighting off the harmful free radicals that lead to stress and illness.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Choose from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and many other cruciferous vegetables that help make the body more alkaline. They are also a good source of fiber, and are beneficial in reducing oxidative stress and regulating hormone levels.
Leafy Greens: Kale, chard, collards, and spinach are rich in folate and vitamin K. Spinach tends to be on the acidic side (1.38 – 4.28) and may contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel. When cooked, spinach becomes fairly neutral and is unlikely to erode teeth. Do note, if you are on blood thinners, such as Coumadin, greens should be avoided as they interfere with medication.
Watermelon: Not only is watermelon a great alkaline-forming food, it is a great diuretic and has no damaging effects on teeth!
Apples: Apples are not only high in fiber making them great for digestion, they have a high pH level of about 8.0- and excellent high alkaline food!
Lemon: Lemons have many health benefits and may be the most alkaline food around for the body. However due to their low pH level they are very acidic in the mouth and can destroy teeth. So if you do choose to drink lemonade, try to drink it through a straw and try to brush your teeth after to neutralize the acid in your mouth.
Keep in mind that not all vegetables and fruit are alkaline-producing. Some fruits and vegetables are acidifying, such as corn, lentils, olives, winter squash, blueberries, and cranberries. If you are too alkaline, eat some acidifying foods to balance your levels. However if you are having difficulty balancing your acid pH, you may want to look into the homeopathic remedy Natrum Phosphoricum–it is excellent for producing alkaline shifts.
Did you know? When the body is acidic, the ability to absorb essential nutrients or detoxify is greatly diminished.
Dr. Aver is now offering pH level screening. Have your pH level tested at your next appointment. Call our office for more details – 847.998.5100.