Sad but true: A few of our most delicious and favorite beverages can cause sneaky damage to the teeth. Beginning your day with a cup of coffee, and ending it with a glass of red wine, or “healthy” tea during the daytime, creates numerous opportunities for tooth enamel erosion because of the acidity of these beverages.
Unfortunately, it goes beyond just tooth erosion. An acidic environment actively encourages bacteria to thrive. In turn, a range of dental health issues can arise, including gingivitis, bad breath and cavities.
Mouth Rinses and Acidity
Probably the sneakiest attacks on teeth are certain mouth rinses that are more acidic than they need to be, largely countering whatever benefits they may have.
The good news is that you don’t have to completely give up enjoying acidic drinks. But you should be counteracting the acids that they contain.
The ideal blood pH is 7.4, while saliva should be about 7.1. This light acidity kick-starts your digestive processes before food reaches your stomach. The over-consumption of acidic foods and beverages can increase saliva acidity to the point that it can start contributing to the problems mentioned above.
One very simple way to neutralize the acidity from popular drinks and foods is to just rinse your mouth out with water after every snack. If you are away from home, and missing your toothbrush, just rinsing your mouth out with water will go a long way in both neutralizing acidity and removing some of the food debris from your mouth.
You could even prepare a homemade mouth rinse by adding a couple of pinches of salt and baking soda to a glass of water. The salt will have an antibiotic effect, while the baking soda will help to neutralize the acidity in your mouth.
Saltwater kills various types of bacteria through a process called osmosis. This involves the removal of water from bacteria. You may have even been advised to rinse your mouth out with salt water after some type of dental procedure.
This type of mouth rinse can be prepared at home and placed in a sealed jar or container in your fridge. It should keep for up to two weeks before replacement is needed.
Purchasing Non-Acidic Mouth Rinses
There are also a number of mouth rinses that can rebalance oral pH. One such product is Therabreath. In addition to its ability to neutralize acidity, Therabreath contains an oxidizer that helps in breaking up biofilm and killing bacteria. It’s also alcohol-free; so if you don’t like mouth rinses that leave a
lingering burning sensation, this one might be worth a try.
The Bottom Line
To maintain your confident smile and prevent tooth decay, it is important to maintain a healthy oral pH balance. You can accomplish that in a few ways, such as:
- Balancing acidic foods and beverages in your diet
- Using a saltwater rinse or commercial rinse that counteracts acidity
- Keeping up with your regular dental care at home, as well as routine dental exams
Whether you want to learn about the pH of mouth rinses or other oral health topics, we’re here to help! Thanks for your support!
– Dr. Houlik