Acidity isn’t usually known to be a good thing when it comes to your mouth and body, and for good reason! Highly acidic levels are incredibly detrimental to your health! If you recall from chemistry class, the PH scale. Anything below 7 (being neutral) on the pH scale is an acidic level that will start to erode your enamel over time causing decalcification. Another scary fact is that cancer thrives in acidic environments! Cancer cells make your body even more acidic as they produce lactic acid. Acidity due to lack of oxygen suppresses the immune system’s ability to resist cancer growth.
We test every one of our patients’ saliva pH. This gives us better information about your overall health which brings us to open discussion about why it may be that way. We test this because once enamel erodes, there’s no getting it back. We want to retain healthy enamel for as long as possible. We can keep our enamel and even remineralize it but only in a neutral environment. When the environment in your mouth is too acidic, remineralization cannot occur.
What we choose to eat, and drink has the biggest impact on our acidity levels. Especially if it is done daily. In the following, I will list the most acidic things people consume that contribute to a negative pH reading.
Some of the following are good for the body i.e. tea/kombucha/lemon water, but still harmful to the enamel. It’s not all doom and gloom if you can’t go on without your morning coffee, or you love the vinegary taste of kombucha along with its probiotic benefits.
There are things you can do to remediate the damaging effects.
At the very least, always drink plain water afterward. This rinses residue off the enamel and tongue. Try not to sip on these types of beverages for long amounts of time, and limit consistent consumption.
If you are home or just one of those special people who carries a toothbrush around with them. A good toothbrushing using baking soda or hydroxyapatite-based toothpaste 30 minutes afterward is always the best.
Highly acidic food and drink:
Besides food and drink, there are other factors that come to play in acidity.
The first one is gut health.
If you have any kind of gut dysbiosis going on, it will show in the mouth. The mouth and the stomach are one of the most interconnected pathways of the body. The mouth is the gateway, which leads a long “road” to the stomach. The stomach is then the regulator of the immune system. When we find high acidic levels in the mouth, one of the first questions we ask is, how would you describe your digestion?
Do you experience heartburn often? Did you know that heartburn and GERD are an indicator of NOT enough stomach acid. The common understanding is the opposite. So, acid has been demonized and anti-acids have been praised. But antiacids are only band-aiding the true injury. We ask about any food allergies or intolerances. Have you been diagnosed with any gut conditions like SIBO, parasites, or candida? All of these are factors.
Another amazing benefit of baking soda is that it neutralizes acidity on the spot! Rinsing your mouth with a rinse of baking soda mixed in water throughout the day can help keep things neutral while you are dealing with the root cause of your acidity levels.
It may sound counterintuitive but one of the best things you can do to improve your digestion is to drink warm lemon water before meals.
Lemon water is acidic yes, so it can be detrimental to your enamel. So always drink plain water afterward to rinse the residue from your teeth.
You could be eating the most amazingly clean diet but if you aren’t digesting and assimilating the nutrients/minerals from that food. Your effort is then moot. Mineral absorption is extremely important for the health of your teeth. Every one of your teeth has a blood supply to it specifically. Which is how nutrients are delivered. No nutrients from your food equals no nutrients for your teeth to stay hard, and healthy.
Stop the use of anti-acids and other acid-reducing medications.
Do you or someone you know rely on tums to get through every meal? If we find a patient regularly uses medications like antiacids to remedy their acid levels, we counsel them on better ways to do so. Regular use of antacids actually causes low HCL(hydrochloric acid), B12 deficiency, mineral deficiency, and compromises the immune system. Slowly weaning off the medication and then replacing it with natural options is best advised. Some good herbs to start incorporating are aloe leaf gel, dandelion root, marshmallow root, or licorice.
The second factor is negative stress.
Stress is detrimental to all aspects of the mind and body if it is not handled correctly. How you handle stress does control things like acid levels, digestion, your brain, and heart, just to name a few. Why does this happen? Stress puts our bodies into flight mode. Flight as in fleeing from a dangerous situation, being late for work, or an upcoming work deadline. This then puts our bodies into a mode that sends blood flow to other organs for survival. Organs that are much more important than the stomach during a dangerous or stressful situation. The dangers to our forefathers were very different than ours. Running from a predator or running late for work. Your body doesn’t know the difference and secretes the same hormones and reacts the same way regardless.
Decreasing stress through breathing techniques (somatic breathwork), meditation, yoga, practicing the word, “No” when we have too many commitments and eliminating allergenic foods are some ways to decrease inflammation to allow the gut to heal.
Common signs of acidity in the body include:
Common signs of acidity in the mouth include:
If you are dealing with high acidity levels, you may want to start testing yourself daily. Making small changes can make a big impact. Which will reflect in your testing. So, you can stay at a neutral pH and be on the road to wellness!
To your health,
Jennifer Corrigan RDA
Wholistic Dental Care
Why Stomach Acid Is Good for You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux and GERD Dr. Jonathan Wright.
Vasey, C. N.D. (2006). The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health (2nd ed.). Healing Arts Press.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss all medication issues with your physician.
Dr. Kayleigh A. Short DMD, formerly of Integrative Dentistry in Seattle, is your top choice for holistic dental care available to the greater Seattle area, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Monroe, Snohomish, Duvall, Whidbey Island, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Everett, and surrounding areas. Washington State, nationwide, and worldwide we are available for telemedicine holistic dentistry consults. For the best in holistic dentistry and natural holistic facial aesthetic needs. We diagnose complex dental health cases, that other dentists turn away. Contact us today or schedule an appointment to discover how we can help optimize your oral health and support your wellness journey. ~Dr. Kayleigh Short and the WDC Team
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