The Best Ways to Improve Your Dental Hygiene

the dentist's office

A man at the dentist | Source: iStock

Oral health is so important, yet often it is overlooked. If you’re someone who puts off dentist visits for years on end, the results could be detrimental — both to your wallet and your pearly whites — and you don’t want to find out you’ve been sitting on multiple root canals the next time you take a seat in the dentist’s chair.

Did you know that maintaining a healthy pH balance can drastically improve oral hygiene, and that there are certain things you can cut from your diet to help maintain the acidity level in your body? We spoke with orthopedic surgeon Jeff Zhao and R.N. Don Price, creators of pHAlo — a dietary supplement featuring an array of essential minerals and electrolytes, which is designed to support the body’s ability to maintain a healthy pH level — to learn more about the role your pH level plays in your oral health.

How your physical and oral health affect one another

For the most part, it stands to reason that someone who is grossly out of shape might have poor eating habits, and therefore, a diet of unhealthy food has only added fuel to the innutritious fire. According to Price:

Bad breath, cavities, and gingivitis are all indicators of an unhealthy body. In fact, dental plaque has been linked to heart disease. An acidic body is unhealthy. An acidic body will cause an acidic oral cavity (saliva), an acidic oral cavity encourages bacteria, and bacteria promote tooth decay and gum disease. So, cavities and gum disease are indicators of an unhealthy body, especially if cavities and gum disease exist even when proper dental hygiene is practiced.

“Oral bacteria is the culprit for bad breath and plaque formation on teeth,” Price says. So you might want to think twice before guzzling that bottle of soda or downing an entire bag of sweets. Furthermore, Price says that “This will encourage tooth decay and can lead to gum disease. The first and most important step in managing oral bacteria is to maintain a body pH of 7 or above by diet or supplements.” But how exactly is our pH measured? Price told us, “This can be measured by checking the pH of the saliva. Other steps to managing oral bacteria are to stay well hydrated (avoid acidic foods and drink) and to use alkaline oral care products, like the ones that use baking soda in their ingredients.”

Additionally, Price told us that “An acidic pH (<7) promotes bacteria growth, especially in the warm moist mouth. Raising the pH of the body will also raise the pH of the mouth.”

How you can improve dental hygiene

vegetables

Healthy foods | Source: iStock

We know that the goal here is to increase our body’s pH, which will in turn have a positive effect on our oral health as well. Price says, “To raise the pH of the body, eat more green vegetables, limit your intake of acidic foods, and eliminate sodas. The addition of an alkalizing product will probably be necessary for everyone except strict vegetarians.”

If you know your saliva pH is at a healthy number, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. Chances are, you’re doing something right. If you’re unsure about the process, ask your dentist what the best and easiest methods are for you. Price says, “Check your saliva pH once a week and maintain a saliva pH of 7.0-8.0. This will discourage bacteria growth. The two ways to check body pH are to measure saliva or urine. Checking the pH of the blood is not important in managing body pH.”  

Lastly, as a rule of thumb, Price urges us keep this is mind: “A pH of 7 or above not only promotes oral health, but is the key to a healthy body.”

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