Adjust you pH, it will adjust your life! Or at least your coffee.
January 15, 2019
This is a response to a question I was given about acid and morning coffee. I will begin with a little science and then show an example on our morning coffee. The same rules apply to our morning Diet Coke (pH3), RedBull (Ph3.5), or iced tea (pH3.5-6).
A healthy mouth is a non-acidic, neutral, or alkaline mouth, with a pH 7.0 or above. The pH scale goes from 1 to 14, with a pH of 1 being the most acidic, and 14 being the most alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral – the pH of pure water (NOT BOTTLED WATER) is very close to 7. At a pH of 5.5 the teeth begin to demineralize, putting them at risk for cavities. Tooth roots begin to dissolve as this pH gets a tiny bit below neutral (at pH 6.5) and, when acidity levels dip to pH 5.5 or lower teeth will erode, become discolored, and be at risk for cavities. All acidity weakens teeth, but it is the amount of time that acids are in contact with teeth that determines the severity of the damage. Erosion and decay are worse when people sip drinks or nibble acidic foods. For healthy teeth, exposure to acidity must be kept to a minimum. Teeth actually become stronger and re-mineralize when the mouth is alkaline at a pH 7.5 or above.
Acidic food is not the only issue we need to consider when looking at a low pH in the mouth. Conditions such as xerostomia or gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause acidity in the oral cavity. Xerostomia decreases the oral pH and significantly increases the development of plaque and dental caries.
Medical conditions (e.g., Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes) and medications (e.g., antihistamines, antidepressants) can also impair salivary flow. The buffering capability of saliva that counterbalances the acidity created by certain foods is diminished.
With that stated I will demonstrate a trick that can be done with coffee, tea and other acid beverages that we will typically nurse alone for an hour or two.
Here is a picture of my morning cup of coffee. I am a fan of drinking Texas Pecan and I made it with my tap water pH 7.28. Still really acidic! The pH is 4.88 using my trusty $7 digital pH reader from Amazon. Drinking this for a few hours will wreak havoc on the mouth and body. No wonder I have reflux. Using one of the alkaline drops, in my example “pH10MAX” found on Amazon, I find that adding 40 drops will move the pH to 7.13. I can drink this all day. While unflavored, it does remove what I would call the sharpness to the coffee. To me the taste is smoother, however I would assume that it would taste different to a black coffee purist. Worth it for the benefit to my mouth and body. Plus, no reflux.
Another trick is using a low acid coffee and alkaline water. Most of the low acid brands I tested have a pH of 5.6-6.0 when made with an alkaline water (Essencia brand) in the pH 10. While not 7, much better than the 4.88 of my traditional coffee.