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Natural Awakenings New York City

The Dental Diet According to a Holistic Dentist

By Dr. Lewis Gross

Our mouths and bodies should be at a neutral pH, but poor habits and dietary abuse lead to acidic conditions. All organisms have a preference for a certain environment, but the most virulent bugs, such as anaerobic bacteria, candida fungus and coronavirus, like low pH. The secret to a healthy mouth, therefore, is not just to kill these organisms with antiseptics, but also to balance the microbiome by altering the environment.

According to the Ecological Plaque Hypothesis, a high-sugar diet creates an acid oral environment that leads to tooth decay. In addition, acidic foods and beverages encourage a bacterial imbalance of the mouth microbiome and acidic erosion. This is the root cause of dental diseases such as decay and bad breath. A slightly alkaline mouth, on the other hand, discourages the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

If we are what we eat and drink, then every bite is either causing disease or preventing it.

Diet and Systemic Health

The same theory applies to systemic diseases such as cancer. When people say sugar and alcohol feed cancer, they are saying that cancer cells grow heartily in a low-pH environment. Cancer cells that are fed an alkaline diet become suppressed.

If you are eating a typical modern diet, you are in jeopardy of being acidic. Medical doctors that claim the diet doesn’t affect pH are referring to the blood, which maintains homeostasis by stealing minerals from other organs, like bone, causing osteoporosis. 

Hydration also changes systemic pH. A healthy diet should include a lot of alkaline water, which also encourages the production of saliva, the mouth’s natural lubricant. Salivary dysfunction from dehydration and disease causes dry mouth, increasing root decay and bad breath. This is a common problem as we age and saliva lessens.

Improving pH

The way to improve pH is to reduce consumption of alcohol, sugar and white flour while increasing vegetables. Green leafy ones, like beet greens and radish leaves, are best; cook them slightly for maximum nutritional value. 

To test your acidity, use a pH strip in your urine flow or your saliva. Oral pH may vary from recent eating or drinking, so test it first in the morning and then for five days to develop a baseline. Keep a record of your pH and your diet, for comparison.

To topically buffer acidity in the mouth and upper GI tract, rinse and gargle with an alkaline oral cleanse, especially after eating or drinking something acidic. Some foods and beverages, like lemons and vinegar, are acidic to the teeth but alkaline-forming to the diet. Don’t stop eating and drinking them, but protect your teeth. And whenever you have acid reflux, buffer it immediately with an alkaline mouthwash. 

You can alter your body's pH through diet and lifestyle. To maintain neutral pH in the mouth and prevent acidic erosion and tooth decay, drink plenty of alkaline water, eat alkaline-forming foods for systemic health, and rinse frequently with an alkaline oral cleanse. 

Dr. Lewis Gross is a director and general dentist at Holistic Dentists, located at 17 Park Place, Tribeca. He is also the founder of Alka-White, the Alkaline Oral Cleanse. For more information, visit or