It’s important to remember that the human body is one interconnected unit. External influences that might seem isolated, such as the sun on your skin or a blow to the head, can have far-reaching impacts throughout the body. Our teeth are no different, which is why I offer holistic dentistry at my San Diego practice.
An example of this principle in action is how the pH levels of the food you eat affect both your teeth and bones. You probably know the old adage: “Calcium builds strong teeth and bones.” For this reason, your mother likely made sure you drank plenty of milk growing up. But what is the science behind it? In this two-part blog series, we will explore:
- How your body maintains a balanced pH level to ensure strong teeth and bones
- How different foods and drinks impact your mouth’s pH level – and what you can do to help keep your teeth strong for a lifetime
What Is pH – And Why Does It Matter?
Your body needs a neutral pH level of 7.0 to remain healthy – a higher pH can be too alkaline, while a lower pH is too acidic. Because the average American diet is high in protein and low in fruits and vegetables, we are often at risk for high levels of acid – a dietary process called metabolic acidosis. The way your body maintains a neutral pH level is by using calcium as a buffer, which is stored in your bones and teeth. When too much calcium is moved from your bones into your bloodstream, your bones are at risk of growing weak. This is often a result of chronic acidosis, which is caused by kidney disease, dehydration, alcohol, high dietary protein, and other health problems.
The great thing about bones is that our bodies can repair them and grow new bone. Not so with teeth. When we lose the calcium from our teeth, it’s gone for good. This irreversible erosion of our enamel comes with several unwanted symptoms:
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- Discoloration/darker teeth (because the layer beneath our enamel is not as white)
You Are What You Eat (And Drink)
Take a look at this chart below that shows the pH levels of some common beverages. Did you know your kidneys are incapable of filtering anything with a pH level below 5.0? When you drink a Coke, which has a pH level below 3.0, your body must compensate by using calcium to buffer the acidity.
Food and drink that are high in acidity have a direct impact on your teeth as well as your bones. You can improve your dental health by paying close attention to what you eat and drink, when you eat and drink, and how you manage other important habits.
Be sure to bookmark my blog and check back soon for the second half of this discussion where I will introduce you to some of the worst acidic offenders (and their healthy counterparts) and share several helpful tips for keeping your calcium where it belongs – in your teeth!
About the Author:
This post was written by Dr. George Georgaklis. Dr. George is a cosmetic and orthodontic dentist in San Diego, Ca. He loves to help his clients achieve their perfect smile. Contact him today to learn more about holistic dental treatment and good ways to protect your dental health.