Any drink – even water, can dilute the saliva. This means that the mineral-rich liquid loses the nutrients that the teeth need to keep the mouth healthy and moisturized. Undiluted saliva has the power to reverse any damage done to the teeth while we eat and drink. Saliva plays a vital role in repairing the mechanisms that if otherwise damaged, can bring a wide array of dental problems.
Break and Repair
Many of the things we consume, including fruits and vegetables can cause tooth demineralization. However, we don’t see this happening often because of our saliva, as it helps bring back the minerals that have been lost. When we eat and drink, the bacteria in the mouth interacts with the acid in the food – which is known as demineralization. Saliva on the other hand, promotes remineralization. This break and repair process is natural, as it helps the healthy redevelopment of tooth enamel. The same process goes for our bones and muscles to keep our bodies strong and healthy.
Eating and Drinking
As mentioned, demineralization occurs every time we eat and drink. Sugars, tea leaves, grains, carbohydrates, coffee and even vegetables will cause the teeth to demineralize. However, this doesn’t mean that you should stop eating or drinking. The process of break and repair entails that the lost minerals will be brought back – but only if our saliva is potent with the minerals that our teeth need. Having alkaline saliva will counteract this acidity to help reverse the damage.
When there is insufficient saliva, or when it is acidic and mineral-deficient, dental problems arise. This is because the mouth is not in the optimal state for the break and repair process. Acidic saliva can be caused by the food we eat, poor dental habits, as well as hormonal imbalance, aging and stress. Without alkaline saliva to balance the mouth’s pH, the mouth remains acidic and becomes host to bacteria that will damage the teeth in no time. Things will keep on breaking without being repaired. So how can this be countered? Changing one’s diet alone won’t be a complete solution – you need to promote healthy, alkaline and undiluted saliva production to balance the acidity.
Sipping and Snacking
If your drink or snack contains acids, sugars and citrus flavors, then the teeth will be exposed to longer periods of acidity, which hinders the natural break and repair process. As a result, our teeth are eroded, weakened, and worse – tooth decay. The damage depends on the length of time the mouth is acidic. Hence, it is best to have the acidic drinks during a meal and finish it with a glass of water in order to stimulate saliva production.
If you are looking for a professional treatment to help bring your oral health back in shape, contact Greenspoint Dental to schedule an appointment with our excellent team of dentists led by Dr. Louis P. Bosse to get started. We offer a variety of services including cosmetic, restorative and general dentistry to help bring that wonderful smile back.