Health Tips - Mouth Care
The acidity level of your mouth is an indicator of the trouble and expense you may have at your dentist’s office. Acidity or alkalinity is measured on a scale from 1 to 14 called pH. A pH of 7 is neutral, neither acidic or alkaline. Lower than 7 is more acidic, while higher numbers indicate something more alkaline.
The pH of your mouth can easily be measured by using “litmus” paper. Litmus is a coloring material that turns red in acid solutions and blue in alkaline solutions. Litmus paper can be found in drugstores for under $15.00. You just tear off a little piece of the paper, slip it into your mouth, and use the color code on the container to see what the pH of your mouth is. If you get litmus paper specific for saliva and urine, the colors are easier to differentiate.
At a neutral pH of 7.0, no damage is being done to the teeth. Between a pH of 5.5 and 6.0, acid in the mouth can begin to destroy the roots of the teeth. If the pH drops below 5.5, the acidity starts to dissolve the minerals in the enamel covering the teeth and the tooth structure itself. The longer the pH remains lower than 5.5, the more damage will be done by the acid.
Sugar and a high volume of carbohydrate and factory-processed foods cause a mouth to become acidic. People who sip soft drinks or sweetened coffee throughout the day or who eat many small carbohydrate snacks will have an acidic mouth for most of the day.
Bacteria thrive in an acid mouth and multiply with sugar. The more poor quality food you eat, the more bacteria will grow. Bacteria create plaque and can destroy your gums and teeth.
- Read the Nutrition section of these health tips to make your body less acidic and to increase minerals for a healthy mouth.
- Floss and brush your teeth after every meal, when possible.
- Go to your dentist’s office twice a year for cleanings and at least once a year for a checkup.
- Buy litmus paper for saliva and check your mouth periodically to ensure that the pH does not drop below 7.
This health tip is a part of a series, read all the health tips on dental and mouth care here!
Make your mouth a happy home for your teeth and gums!
May 5, 2010