Why Do I Get Cavities?
Monday, July 10th, 2017
You may have heard of the gut microbiome, which is the various microorganisms that live in the gut.
But did you know that you also have sub-microbiomes all throughout your body?
You have a sub-microbiome living in your armpits. You have a sub-microbiome living in your eyebrow with some weird little critters that live in there. You almost don’t want to go look up the magnified pictures of these little critters that live in your eyebrow. It kind of grossed me out.
You also have an entire ecosystem in your mouth. Keeping that balance and keeping the right organisms in check is very important to maintaining good oral health. This is how you keep from getting cavities. This is also the very, very, very beginning of your digestive tract. Having the right microorganisms in your mouth helps you digest your food better, which gives you more energy and keeps you healthy.
This is because when you digest your food, as your food passes through every single organ of your digestive system, it is exposed to different enzymes. Enzymes are active in certain, different enzymes are active in different pHs. The pH of your mouth should actually be slightly alkaline. This does a few things. One, it keeps the salivary amylase, which is a starch-digesting enzyme that keeps your mouth functioning at its optimal ability.
“When your mouth is more alkaline it protects your teeth from acids that wear away bones and minerals. Having a just slightly alkaline mouth will help the right organisms to grow.” -Summer Bock
This is big, right? This is really big. If you get the wrong organisms growing at a lower pH, they produce more acids as they are hanging out eating all of the slime that’s living on your teeth and then they digest it. They produce more acids, it wears down your teeth, breaks them down, makes them more susceptible to cavities and makes it more possible for cavity-forming bacteria to live there. This is a topic that I’m really passionate about because a lot of people with digestive issues actually struggle with mouth microbiome imbalance. It’s the very beginning of the digestive system and the first place to start whenever there are any problems.
One of the big questions I get from people is, first, how do you check your pH of your mouth? Secondly, how do you shift it? If you’re interested, I cover this in Gut Rebuilding. We go deep to shift the pH of not just your mouth, but your entire digestive system. First and foremost, you will do a salivary test for pH where you spit on a pH strip and test the pH of your saliva. However, you have to make sure that you do this two hours away from food. You also need to make sure you haven’t put on chapstick or drink any water or anything else for two hours. Then you can check it to see what it is. To be balanced, It really needs to be at least 7 to 7.2.
Let’s say you got a reading and it’s 6.5. You’re actually slightly acidic at that point and this is not good. It’s not good for digestion, and it’s not good for bacteria in your mouth. What you need to do to shift that is a few things on a deeper level. You have to work on getting more minerals in your system. You have to get your buffering system up and working better, which is fueled by minerals. This means eating more nutrient-dense food, but it also means strengthening the digestion so that you can pull out the minerals from the food. IMPORTANT: Without the right digestive capabilities, you’re not going to be able to even digest those minerals, no matter how many you bring into your body. Strengthening digestion is the most important thing you can do to increase your alkalinity.
Also, you have to work on reducing acid-forming habits and acid forming lifestyle components, as well as foods in your diet. That means pulling out things that are very acidic. When I say acidic, I don’t mean lemon juice or sauerkraut. I mean things that have an acidic effect on the body. Alcohol is a good example of an acidic food. Coffee is another good example of a food that is very acidic in the body. They make your body produce extra metabolic waste, and in order to process that, you have to use up a lot of minerals.
When I look at somebody’s saliva pH and see it is fairly low (more acidic), we know they haven’t quite been doing the work that they need to around food. They haven’t been eating an alkaline-enough diet. They haven’t been living a lifestyle that’s causing them to be more alkaline. This involves stress management, exercise, and being mentally positive. Being stressed out or negative is extremely acidifying on the body. It makes you produce certain neurotransmitters that put your body into a state of fight or flight. When you’re in that state you produce more metabolic waste and more acidic byproducts. Over time, that will deplete you of your minerals that you desperately need to keep your pH balance in places like your saliva.
When I talk about alkalinity, I sometimes hear objections about how your body maintains a constant pH. This is only true when talking about your blood. It is always going to maintain the proper pH. Your blood can never change its pH because certain enzymes that keep the heart beating function optimally between 7.38 to 7.42. It’s a very tiny range because enzymes, like bacteria, are sensitive to pH. These enzymes are crucial to you being alive. Your body will do whatever it can to maintain that pH. It’s going to pull minerals from your bones, it’s going to pull minerals out of your buffering system, it’s going to pull minerals out of your saliva, like out of everywhere from your body before it starts pulling them out of the blood because, without that, you would die immediately. Your body has prioritized this.
We can use the saliva pH as a general biofeedback to track and determine where you’re at in your overall health. It’s a little window for seeing how healthy you are and what kinds of work you need to do to help get your mouth functioning better so that you can digest your food and start working on rebuilding your gut. To check your saliva pH, you’ll need to get the right pH strips for that. You can find them at shopgutsandglory.com. That would be your very first step to see if pH is an issue for your teeth and for your gut.