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Natural Awakenings New York City

Lowering Body’s Acidity Reaps Health Benefits

teethBy Anamaria Pontes

Looks like an apple a day can also keep the dentist away. Apples are alkaline-forming foods—something most Americans need more of to achieve better health.

Dr. Lewis Gross, the director at Holistic Dentists at Tribeca and a pioneer in alternative and integrative dentistry, focuses on providing dental care that benefits overall health. He routinely tests his patients’ saliva to gauge the pH of their blood (the two pH levels are generally similar). He’s noticed that most of his patients have acidic saliva—consistent with the consumption of acid-forming foods such as refined sugar and white flour, alcohol and red meat; and with lifestyle factors like stress, negativity, tobacco use and overmedication.

Americans aiming for better dental and overall health need to eat more alkaline-forming foods, which also provide more tooth-forming minerals. If the blood is too alkaline, however, other illnesses can arise. The key is balance.

With that goal in mind, Dr. Gross invited me to join his integrated practice to provide counseling on how to heal and prevent cavities with nutrition. I also provide nutrition counseling related to periodontal disease, heavy-metal detox and an alkaline-forming diet.

So what are alkaline- and acid-forming foods? Alkaline-forming foods, like limes, can be acidic in nature but alkaline after digestion. On the other hand, acid-forming foods, like red meat, can be alkaline in nature but acidic after digestion.

Some symptoms of a slightly acidic body are constant fatigue or frequent sighing, becoming winded easily, and muscle pain or cramping after walking short distances.

You can also determine acidity by measuring the pH of your saliva using test strips. (Test two hours after eating, and don’t rinse your mouth.) A normal pH is 6.5-7.0. A pH consistently at or below 6.5 can indicate a slightly acidic body. A pH consistently above 7.0 can be slightly alkaline.

To correct slight acidity, aim for a diet of 75 percent alkaline-forming and 25 percent acid-forming foods. Remember that stress, negativity and tobacco use increase acidity, while physical activity, breathing exercises, meditation and positivity can bring pH back into balance.

Nutritional counseling is just one of Holistic Dentists’ less invasive, integrative approaches to dentistry, which also include mercury- and BPA-free procedures and modalities such as craniosacral therapy. To schedule a free saliva pH test, call 212.732.2200.

Anamaria Pontes is a registered dietician, nutritionist and Ayurveda therapist at Tribeca Center for Integrative Holistic Dentistry, 17 Park Place. For more information, visit