The pH of Saliva — What It Is and Its Effects on Oral Health

The pH of Saliva — Its Effects and Importance for Proper Oral Hygiene

What is the pH of saliva? Is saliva acidic or alkaline? How important is it for good oral health? Many people ignore these questions and miss all the signs that point to unbalanced pH levels, but we are here to answer them for you. Of course, you can learn so much more during your next dental exam, but we can still point you in the right direction. Here is all you need to know about the pH level of saliva and its importance. 

What Is the pH of Saliva and What Does It Mean

Saliva is mainly made of water, but it also contains secretion from glands, epithelial cells, food remnants, and so on. But let’s take a step back and talk about pH. On average, the normal pH of saliva is 6.7, with a range between 6.2 and 7.6. What pH represents is potential hydrogen. That is, the term describes chemical levels between acidity and alkalinity.

The lowest pH is 0, meaning most acidic, while the maximum is 14, that is, most alkaline. On this spectrum, the middle ground is seven which is the pH level of water. 

Saliva is almost on neutral levels, and it can be both acidic and alkaline based on the pH levels. 

Since our bodies are mostly made of water (around 60%), we need pH levels close to neutral to sustain life. Going in either direction can be bad for our health and lead to a plethora of diseases. 

Symptoms That May Point Out Unbalanced Saliva pH

Eating or drinking will affect the pH of the mouth and body. That is why it is essential to pay attention to diet. If saliva pH levels fall out of the normal range, there are a couple of signs that you will notice: 

  • Sensitivity to temperature differences
  • Tooth cavities
  • Persistent bad breath

All of these may be a sign that you need to make a change in your diet. The foods and beverages you consume will affect the pH levels of your saliva, and you can easily tip the scale to improve your overall health. 

Of course, acidic saliva doesn’t need to be a problem as long as it is in the normal range. As we mentioned before, the normal pH is 6.7, which is technically acidic. But as long as it doesn’t go under 6.2, there is nothing to worry about. 

Can You Test It Yourself?

With all this talk about specific numbers, many people will want to know if it is possible to test the mouth pH on their own. The answer is yes. You can buy a pack of pH strips available in most drugstores. 

The process is quite simple. The first thing you need to do is avoid food and drink for at least two hours. Then, fill your mouth with saliva — you don’t need to hold it in for a long — and then either spit it out or swallow it. 

Now, prepare the test and fill your mouth with saliva once again. This time, you will need to put a small amount of it on the pH strip, and it will change color based on whether your saliva is acidic or alkaline. 

Fortunately, the box will usually offer a pH scale you can use to determine the pH level. All you need to do is match the color of the strip with the color on the box, and you will get accurate results. 

What to Can You Do to Balance Your pH

Based on the results, you might need to find a way to balance the pH in your mouth. The safest option is to only consume food (and drinks) that are in the mid-range of the pH scale. However, this isn’t something many people enjoy. It will get boring pretty quickly, and you will deprive yourself of necessary ingredients, vitamins, and minerals. 

The second option is to adjust your diet to avoid problematic foods and beverages. These include soft drinks with a lot of sugar, for example. If you have problems resisting such refreshments, you can always drink them quickly and follow them with a glass of water. This way, they won’t affect (as much) pH levels in your mouth. Another thing you should avoid is black coffee since it is below pH 7 unless you balance it by adding dairy. 

Another important thing to mention is that you should avoid brushing your teeth after consuming something with high acidic levels. The reason for this is that it will soften the tooth enamel, and brushing it can cause further damage. Moreover, you can always take sugarless gum, which will balance your pH too, and drinking plenty of water is more than helpful. 

Why Is This Important for Your Dental Health

We have already touched on this subject briefly, but let’s take a closer look at it. 

Consuming acidic food can damage your teeth, and it can lead to enamel erosion. As a result, the dentin in your teeth will be exposed, which will cause them to react to hot, cold, and sugar. 

To avoid tooth decay and other problems with your mouth, you will need to pay attention to your pH levels. Dental care is important; we all know that. But balancing your pH, taking care of your diet, and focusing on your oral health will prevent so many problems. 

If you are unsure about pH levels, you can easily look them up for any type of food or drinks you can imagine. This will give you a nice idea of what to avoid, or if that’s not possible, to balance it with one of the methods we mentioned before. 

Of course, you can always talk to your dentist about things you can do to improve your health. As you probably know already, dental exams and cleaning are the best way to keep your mouth healthy and avoid so many problems with your health.