Is your diet SAD? It stands for the Standard American Diet, and it often produces an acidic environment in the body. On average, the SAD incorporates 80% to 90% acidic foods, leaving a small percentage left over for alkaline foods.
Your body’s acidity and alkalinity is measured through a pH reading. Neutral pH is 7.0, 7.5 is slightly alkaline, and 6.5 and lower is acidic. When the saliva (and therefore the body) is acidic, the mouth becomes an environment ripe for inflammation and decay.
As you may have heard Dr. Johnson say many times, the mouth is an extension of the entire body. So, things like tooth decay, abscesses, and tooth sensitivity can be caused by internal factors as much as external ones. This is because your teeth are not cut off from the rest of your body. Teeth are made up of dentin tubules and enamel rods, all of which contain fluid from the body. Ideally, fluids flow out from the tooth as a cleansing mechanism, deterring the destructive effects of acids formed by foods.
However, if you eat a diet high in acidic foods, your teeth can develop a reversal of this natural flow. This allows bacteria and acid to be “sucked” into the teeth and can lead to decay, infection, or tooth pain.
Finding a Balance
To find the ideal balance of 60% to 70% alkaline foods and 30% to 40% acidic foods, Dr. Johnson recommends incorporating more of these foods into your diet:
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli
- Citrus: Lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines
- Soy: Tofu, milk, and cheese
- Fruit: Mango, melon, plums, strawberries, blackberries, and peaches
And try reducing the amount of these foods in your diet:
- Animal-based protein: Beef, pork, turkey, chicken, and fish
- Refined carbohydrates (white bread and rice)
- Nuts: Walnuts, peanuts, and peanut butter
- Salt, sugar, and artificial sweeteners
- Most dairy products, including milk and cheese
If you have any questions about your diet and the health of your teeth, feel free to ask Dr. Johnson or a member of our team during your next visit to our Epping, NH dental office.