Power of pH

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Sierra Oaks Dental Group | Sacramento California | Sacramento Dentist

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Background on pH Measurements

Did you know teeth are the hardest substance in the human body? It’s true! This is another reason we’re some of the HARDest workers around. Well, we may be some of the most passionate dentists in Sacramento, but we’ll admit we’re probably not the funniest.

Seriously, teeth are strong! But they have their Achilles heal like everything else; they are susceptible to enamel loss from acidic drinks and food.  Acidity of liquids is measured with the pH system. You may have learned about the pH system in high school.  The system rates liquids from 0.0 to 14.0. A rating of 0.0 to 6.9 is considered acidic, water has a pH of 7.0 being neutral, and 7.1 to 14.0 is known as alkaline.  The lower the number in the acidic range means the higher the acidity. The higher the number in the alkaline scale means the higher in alkalinity. A measurement of 5.5 pH is widely accepted as the level of acidity at which tooth enamel starts to break down.

Acids Everywhere

A lot of our commonly enjoyed beverages, energy drinks, juices, coffees, and teas are acidic.  These beverages vary in range of acidity, and if a drink is more sour then that typically means it’s acidic.  In addition to these acidic drinks, you’re also susceptible to more acids in your mouth from the bacteria in your mouth breaking down food left between your teeth.

Make Water Your Main Squeeze

A majority of our favorite drinks are acidic to the point of erosion.  According to a study performed by the American Dental Association in 2015, “93% (355/380) of beverages had a pH below 4.0”.  Unsurprisingly, the least acidic consumer beverages were bottled water. In fact, the test was performed in Birmingham, Alabama, and while they were testing consumer beverages they also tested the municipal water which was the only alkaline beverage in the whole study.  With this information in mind it’s best to mainly reach for water. Water is essential for proper function of our organs, and this study proves it’s the best choice for teeth longevity. In addition, water is crucial to cleaning our mouths after eating food, which would otherwise be broken down into acids by bacteria in the mouth.

Avoid These Drinks

Some of the chart toppers for most acidic were sports drinks including Gatorade, Powerade, and Active Water with acidity levels around 2.67 pH to 2.93 pH.  Fruit juices were very similar in acidity levels and were more acidic in many cases. Soda and energy drinks had some of the highest acidity levels with pH ratings as low as 2.32.  Surprisingly, Root Beer seemed to be the least acidic soda with a consistent pH rating of 4.05 to 4.57.

Good Grabs Besides Water

The advertisements from V8 juices aren’t misleading.  In terms of pH, V8 vegetable juices had ratings of 4.19 to 4.23 depending on the specific product. Milk in its various forms is very close to neutral in pH ratings ranging from 6.7 to 6.9.  Milk does contain lactic acid, which gives it some acidic properties. Other alkaline inducing drinks are derived mostly from alkaline forming foods. These foods range from almonds and bananas to soybeans and buckwheat that can be alkaline forming.

The Takeaway

When quenching your thirst periodically in the day it’s best to keep water as a staple.  If you’re looking to replenish your body after a workout then try coconut water which has very similar beneficial properties to “electrolyte beverages”.  If you’re going to drink soda then try to grab a root beer if you’re impartial. And, if you’re desiring some juice then try to make it plant based or tomato juice.  Also, because it’s all about the exposure time of acid to your teeth it’s best to not sip a super acidic drink over a long period of time. Instead, try to drink it a bit faster than your other drinks so your saliva can return your mouth’s pH level to its regular state oppose to sipping it over several hours. If you’re unsure of how acidic a beverage is then you can always test it yourself with pH tester strips.

Power of pH
pH Measurements