What Your Patients Need To Know About Their Oral pH

As dental professionals, we regularly reinforce the importance of staying away from sugary, sticky, and acidic foods/beverages. It’s common knowledge that these cause tooth decay and our community has always done its best to educate our patients.  But with new research comes updated information and certain issues make their way to the forefront.

Oral pH is an all-encompassing topic that needs to be discussed during every dental visit. Not only does oral pH go hand-in-hand with tooth decay, it also greatly affects the whiteness of your teeth. We know what you are thinking, you can’t possibly cram one more serious topic into your dental visits and patients won’t really care. But if you explain oral pH in relation to keeping their smiles bright, they’ll care much more!

We all know that sugar, citrus, and highly acidic foods/beverages are the biggest offenders like candy, orange juice, and coffee. For years, dentists have explained to patients that all of these choices wear away at enamel and cause tooth decay.

But what else are we missing?

Acidic foods cause the demineralization, or thinning, of enamel, which over time can allow the dentin underneath to show through. And how will that make your smile look? YELLOW!

Now they’re listening!

There’s good reason why patients who choose professional whitening procedures are better dental patients all around. When they make smarter choices to keep their teeth white, it improves their overall dental heath, which makes your job as a dental professional much easier. So by putting a slightly different spin on this “age old” information, your patient’s retention will be much higher.

Having a balanced pH in your body has so many health benefits. Significant research done by the Cleveland Clinic cites that cancer cells cannot grow in an alkaline environment. An acidic environment aggravates health issues like GERD, emphysema, and asthma. It can also contribute to headaches, extreme fatigue, and confusion.

So what advice should you give patients to balance their oral pH?

  • The most basic step is to stay away from sticky, sugary candy. Sticky sugar stays on your teeth longer, causing more erosion and increasing the body’s level of acidity.
  • Limit the amounts of acidic beverages you consume like coffee and orange juice.
  • Use pH neutralizing products to balance the environment inside the mouth. We recommend ECO Balance which is a foaming gel that you simply layer on top of your regular toothpaste. To really drive this point home, test your patients’ salivary pH at the beginning of every dental visit, then have them brush their teeth with toothpaste and ECO Balance, and then retest. They’ll see the immediate benefit to their pH levels.
  • Baking soda is alkaline, so brushing regularly with baking soda toothpaste can help. Patients can also rinse with a mixture of 1-quart water, 1-teaspoon salt, and 1-teaspoon baking soda.
  • Eat alkaline foods like berries, legumes, and most vegetables.
  • After you’re finished with a meal, chew sugarless gum that contains xylitol. Chewing gum naturally increases saliva production, which will naturally rebalance the pH in your mouth after eating, and xylitol helps encourage the process.

Educating patients about oral pH, using the angles of teeth whitening and overall health is a very effective way making the topic more relatable. It’s safe to say that everyone wants whiter teeth and everyone wants to live in a healthy body. At each dental visit, encourage smarter choices and you’ll see even more GLOing patients!