Advertisement

How can I maintain a healthy pH level in my mouth?

A food's pH level indicates how acidic or alkaline (non-acidic) it is. The lower the pH, the more acidic the food. Some research indicates that a diet emphasizing foods and drinks with low pH levels can contribute to the erosion of tooth enamel. Foods and drinks with a low pH include lemons, other fruit and fruit juices, soft drinks, pickles, and fermented products such as yogurt.

You don't need to eliminate these items from your diet, especially fresh fruit (though cutting out the soft drinks in a good idea). But if you eat or drink a lot of them, try rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds after eating, or chewing sugar-free gum to rinse the acids away.
Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
Prosthodontics
All foods have a pH level. Low pH foods have high acid levels (dangerous when abundant); higher pH foods are the alkalinizing ones (and better for you).  The more acidifying foods you eat, the more loaded your mouth is with bacteria that cause plaque and decay. The right balance between the two should be a diet majoring in alkalinizing with a minor in acidifying. The sad truth about the average American is that he or she eats mostly acidifying food, with minimal alkalinizing intake. You want to aim for the complete opposite: seventy-five percent alkalinizing, twenty-five percent acidifying.

Alkaline foods include:

  • Fruits: most fruits are alkalinizing: apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, cherries, oranges, grapes, peaches, pears, pineapples, strawberries
  • Veggies: beets, broccoli, carrots, celery, eggplant, garlic, green beans, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, peppers, sprouts, squash, tomatoes
  • Nuts: almonds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds
  • Proteins: eggs, chicken breast, tofu, yogurt
  • Beverages: fresh and unsweetened fruit juices, regular and herbal teas, vegetable juices, water
  • Seasonings: apple cider vinegar, chili peppers, cinnamon, curry, garlic, ginger, mustard, salt, all herbs
  • Oils
  • Dairy products
  • Sweeteners: stevia
Smile!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Smile Beauty

More About this Book

Smile!: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Smile Beauty

Renowned dentist and creator of the GoSMILE product line Dr. Levine offers this complete guide to getting a whiter, brighter smile. 15 photos & illustrations.

Continue Learning about Healthy Oral Hygiene

To Floss or Not to Floss?
To Floss or Not to Floss?
W.C. Fields once said, “Horse sense is the thing a horse has, which keeps it from betting on people.” For some reason that came to mind when we read n...
Read More
How does desensitizing toothpaste work?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth -- the part above the gum line...
More Answers
Is bacteria in the water at my dentist's office harmful to my health?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
Biofilms are microscopic communities that consist primarily of naturally occurring water bacteria an...
More Answers
Sip Green Tea for Healthier Teeth
Sip Green Tea for Healthier Teeth

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.