By Michael G. Rehme, DDS, NMD, CCN
During a patient’s first visit to our office and at their hygiene appointments, we always use pH test paper to test the saliva. This very simple test provides us with valuable information. It helps us evaluate both an individual’s oral health and their overall wellness.
The human body is largely made up of water. Water is biologically useful in transporting nutrients and chemicals throughout the body. This water-based transport medium can have either acid or alkaline properties.
The acid-alkaline properties are measured by a graduated scale called pH. The scale values of 1.0 to 6.9 are considered acidic, 7.0 is neutral, and 7.1 to 14.0 are alkaline. The lower the pH value, the greater the acidity. The higher the pH, the greater the alkalinity.
A salivary pH of 7.0 usually indicates that a healthy dental and periodontal situation prevails. There is a low incidence of dental decay combined with little or no tartar buildup. Stable conditions should be the norm in this environment.
A salivary pH below 7.0 usually indicates acidemia (abnormal acidity of the blood). If it’s a chronic condition, the mouth is more susceptible to dental decay, bad breath, and gum disease. Chronic academia can be a causative factor for a multitude of whole body health problems.
A salivary pH above 7.0 usually indicates the opposite of acidemia, alkalinity. Excessive alkalinity can bring about the same anaerobic conditions as acidemia, but it’s much rarer.
The best time to test your own pH level is in the morning upon rising and before you eat or drink anything. Hydrion pH test paper can be easily ordered online.
What causes an acidemic body condition? The answer can be found by simply observing a person’s nutritional, dietary, lifestyle, and environmental patterns. Contributing factors causing an academic condition are consuming lots of processed foods and excessive amounts of red meats, white flour, refined sugars, coffee and colas; chronic stress; little or no exercise; and daily exposures to environmental toxins.
From a biological dental perspective, excess acid contributes to multiple problems found in the oral cavity: halitosis (bad breath), dry mouth, canker soars, sensitive teeth, tooth decay, recurrent decay under existing dental work, and periodontal disease (i.e., gum inflammation, calculus build up, and bone loss). Compromises in general health usually include fatigue, weight gain, sinus problems, headaches, depression, irritability, cancer growth, muscle pains, osteoporosis, and allergies.
A comparison of the foods that the average American eats each year shows that we each consume over 2100 pounds of acidic or acid-forming foods but just 380 pounds of alkaline foods. Is it any surprise, then, that there should be so much chronic illness in our country?
The good news is that it’s never too late to balance your body chemistry. Therapeutic recommendations for treating acidemia include drinking lots of water (fresh lemon juice in your water can alkalize your body), eliminating or reducing the amount of acids consumed in your diet, and taking digestive enzymes that facilitate the complete oxidation of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
The consumption of alkaline producing foods, such as grapefruit, watermelon, strawberries, apples, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, raw spinach, and green peas, will balance your body chemistry to a more alkaline condition. It’s also important to consume alkalizing minerals in your diet or by appropriate supplementation, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium. Other factors that lead to an alkaline body condition include removing excess concentrations of carbon dioxide with deep breathing exercises and reducing stress.
For a balanced body chemistry that maintains good dental health and overall wellness, apply these guidelines to your current lifestyle and daily habits. You’ll find a quick, basic reference to acid and alkaline foods here.
Modified from the original