Did you know that the saliva in your mouth is vital to good oral health? Here, we explain why saliva is so essential to maintaining a healthy mouth and how its pH level could impact your oral health.
Why Is Saliva Important?
Your mouth produces around two to four pints of saliva every day. Though that may seem excessive, your body produces this copious amount because it’s crucial to your oral health! Saliva acts as the bloodstream of the mouth, meaning that, like blood, it helps maintain and build the health of hard and soft tissues in your mouth. Saliva also helps moisten and break down food to ease swallowing. It enhances your ability to taste, and keeps the surface of your teeth strong by providing calcium, fluoride, and phosphate. Moreover, saliva provides disease-fighting substances that help prevent cavities and other oral infections. A reduction in salivary flow can therefore lead to oral health problems like tooth decay.
How Can the pH Level of My Saliva Affect My Oral Health?
As we explained above, saliva protects your mouth with invader-fighting antibodies. It also keeps your mouth pH neutral because a low or acidic pH could cause teeth demineralization, or the dissolving of the tooth’s enamel, and the growth of bacteria that can lead to gum inflammation. The natural pH of saliva is somewhere between 6.75 and 7.25, which is right at about neutral. If you have a pH that’s slightly acidic you can still have a healthy mouth, but a pH below 5.5 can cause demineralization and lead to an increase in cavity-causing bacteria.
How Can I Maintain a Neutral pH for My Saliva?
A great way to maintain a neutral pH is by increasing your salivary flow. Chewing is the most efficient way to stimulate saliva, and the best way to do this is by snacking on fibrous, crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery. Apples are also incredibly fibrous and great for stimulating salivary flow. Cheese, milk, and nuts are other mouth-healthy foods. Chewing sugar-free gum will also stimulate saliva and help wash away any debris left in your mouth after eating. You can maintain a neutral pH by replacing soda and other sugary and acidic drinks with water, and rinsing with water after drinking coffee, tea, and wine.
Good oral hygiene is also vital to maintaining a neutral pH for your saliva, including brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and getting professional cleanings and checkups every six months. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!