Saliva protects teeth and gums and is a natural disinfectant. It helps to prevent tooth decay, tooth enamel erosion and gum recession. Whenever we eat or drink something, acidity in the mouth increases, beginning the initial process of digestion. Once we finish eating, saliva helps to normalise pH levels, reducing acidity and increasing alkalinity.
Problems can develop if saliva remains acidic, for example, because of problems with acid reflux, food intolerances, medications, or abnormal gut bacteria or parasites. Other factors include high stress and anxiety and coeliac disease. Frequently snacking, dehydration or consuming sugary or acidic soft drinks will reduce pH levels, increasing acidity. When your mouth has a lower pH level, saliva cannot protect your teeth, and its acidity increases the risk of tooth decay and enamel erosion. To make things worse, bacteria prefer an acidic environment.
Saliva testing can give some insight into the cause of increased dental problems or may detect an underlying health problem. A saliva test is performed first thing in the morning before eating or drinking, using a saliva pH litmus paper. You simply email us a photo of the results. If your saliva is too acidic, we can discuss ways to reduce acidity or may recommend you see your GP.