Person taking a swab test of woman’s mouth.

What is a healthy pH for your teeth and mouth?

The pH scale, which measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, plays a significant role in maintaining oral health. When it comes to your teeth and mouth, achieving and maintaining the right pH balance is essential. Learn about the pH of the mouth and teeth, the role of saliva pH, how to balance it, the causes of unbalanced saliva pH, and the symptoms that may indicate an imbalance.

Understanding the pH scale

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Substances with a pH below 7 are considered acidic, while those above 7 are alkaline. The lower the pH, the more acidic a substance is, and the higher the pH, the more alkaline it is.

The pH of the mouth and teeth

The mouth is a dynamic environment with its own levels of acidity. The pH of a healthy mouth is typically 7.0.1 Maintaining this pH range is vital for oral health, especially when it comes to your teeth.

Saliva pH is a key factor in maintaining the pH balance of the mouth. Saliva acts as a natural buffer, helping to neutralize acids produced by bacteria and the foods we consume.1 It also aids in demineralizing tooth enamel, which helps to prevent tooth decay. If the saliva pH drops below the ideal range, it can lead to dental problem. If saliva pH is below 7, the mouth is more susceptible to dental decay, halitosis, and periodontitis.1

Causes of unbalanced saliva pH

Several factors can disrupt the natural pH balance of your saliva and lead to an unhealthy acidic environment in your mouth:2

  1. Poor Diet: Excessive consumption of acidic foods and drinks can lower saliva pH.
  2. Bacterial Activity: Harmful bacteria in the mouth produce acids as they feed on sugars and starches, contributing to acidity.
  3. Alcoholic drinks: Liquor and other alcoholic drinks can contribute to acidity in the mouth.
  4. Stomach acid: Stomach acid entering your mouth can raise pH levels. People with bulimia, acid reflux, or morning sickness can experience this.
  5. Dry mouth: Dry mouth can contribute to reduced saliva. It can be caused by certain medications, dehydration, or certain diseases or conditions that affect the saliva glands. If you have constant dry mouth, talk to your dental professional to identify the cause.

Symptoms of unbalanced pH levels

Recognizing the symptoms of unbalanced saliva pH is crucial for addressing potential oral health issues promptly. Some common signs of an unhealthy pH level in the mouth include:2

  1. Tooth Sensitivity: Increased acidity can lead to tooth enamel erosion, resulting in sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
  2. Cavities: Low saliva pH can promote the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, increasing the risk of dental caries.
  3. Tooth Discoloration: Over time, acidic conditions can lead to tooth discoloration and a dull appearance.
  4. Loss of Tooth Surface: If untreated, dental erosion can lead to the loss of the surface of the tooth.

Balancing saliva pH levels

Balancing saliva pH is essential for the well-being of your teeth and mouth. Here are some tips on how to achieve and maintain a healthy saliva pH and lower acidity:3

  1. Dietary Choices: Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help maintain balanced saliva pH. These foods are often alkaline and can help neutralize acids in the mouth.
  2. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is crucial for maintaining saliva pH. Drinking plenty of water helps flush away acidic residues and keeps your mouth moist.
  3. Limiting Acidic Foods: Reducing the consumption of acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits, sodas, and sugary snacks, can help prevent saliva from becoming too acidic.
  4. Sugar-Free Gum: Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production, which can aid in maintaining balanced pH levels.
  5. Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing help remove plaque and bacteria that contribute to acidity in the mouth. Using a specialty toothpaste like Pronamel Active Shield Fresh Mint toothpaste can help build two times the acid resistance against from the first use!*

Maintaining a healthy pH for your teeth and mouth is essential for preserving your oral health. Understanding the pH scale and the role of saliva in regulating your mouth’s acidity is the first step in achieving this balance. By making mindful dietary choices, staying hydrated, and practicing good oral hygiene, you can help ensure that your saliva pH remains at an optimal level. Your oral health is a crucial part of your overall well-being, and maintaining a balanced pH in your mouth is a key component to keeping your smile bright and healthy.

*vs your mouth’s natural defenses

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Source Citations:

  1. Saliva and Dental Erosion. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Accessed 10/19/23.
  2. Dental erosion. Better Health. Accessed 10/23/23.
  3. Key to Maintaining Proper pH Balance in Your Mouth. Loma Linda University Health. Accessed 10/19/23.