Your tooth enamel is one of the most important components of your mouth. Enamel is basically a semi-clear, shell-like outer layer that covers your teeth. As one of the strongest substances in your body, it works to protect your teeth from wear and tear of daily chewing and even protects them from extreme hot and cold temperatures. Your enamel also prevents acids and other chemicals you consume from damaging your teeth. Therefore, taking care of it is essential in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. A good way to take care of your tooth enamel is to keep the pH levels in your mouth well-balanced.
What happens if I don’t take care of my tooth enamel?
If your enamel begins to erode, then you put both your teeth and gums at risk for various health conditions. The first signs of erosion are cavities and tooth decay, and enamel erosion will typically cause the teeth to become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and certain foods and drinks. This happens because holes form in your teeth, which allow foreign substances to penetrate the nerves within. This can often be uncomfortable or even painful.
Once your teeth begin to decay and your cavities worsen (if gone untreated), you become more susceptible to infection. Infections can then lead to gum disease and tooth loss. These conditions can also cause other unwanted side effects, such as bad breath and plaque build-up.
What can cause my enamel to erode?
Basically, enamel erosion occurs because the mouth has been exposed to too much acid. Scientifically speaking, acid is notorious for breaking down substances because it releases hydrogen ions and deprives them of oxygen. Those substances include your tooth enamel. Surprisingly, many of the foods and drinks we consume every day are acidic, and that is usually how our mouths become too acidic.
We measure acidity according to a pH scale. A pH scale determines how acidic or alkaline a substance is, and it measures from 1 to 14. Substances with a pH lower than 7 are considered acidic, and substances with a pH higher than 7 are considered alkaline. A substance with a pH of 7 is classified as neutral.
Foods and drinks that are highly acidic include:
- Anything with a lot of sugar
- Sour candies, because of their citric and tartaric acid
- Citrus, like lemon juice and orange juice
- Most types of berries
It is also important to note that the mouth can become acidic when experiencing conditions that bring up acids from your stomach. This includes vomiting, heartburn, and acid reflux disease.
How do alkaline oral care products help?
Since alkaline substances are on the opposite end of the pH spectrum, they can balance out acidic substances. This happens because alkaline substances create an oxygen-rich environment, which stabilizes those active hydrogen ions found in acids.
Using products like alkaline mouthwash and toothpaste help create a balanced pH level in your mouth. This is important because your mouth’s pH should be close to neutral as possible to prevent tooth decay and cavities. As a rule of thumb, teeth begin to demineralize if the mouth’s pH falls below 5.5 and can re-mineralize if the pH level rises above 7.5. By using an alkaline oral care product like Alka-White, you can help your oral pH increase so your teeth can either remain mineralized or re-mineralize after experiencing acidic damage.