Foods That Help Fight Plaque

A number of studies have shown that there are certain foods that help fight plaque. A couple even suggest that it’s not just what you eat that affects your teeth, but the order you eat it as well. Foods and drinks that raise the pH level in your mouth help to slow down the growth of bacteria that causes plaque.

What is pH?

Let’s quickly talk about pH levels because it can be a bit confusing. Th pH scale ranges from 0 to 14:

  • A pH level from 0 up to 7 is “acidic” [BAD]
  • Anything higher than 7 is “alkaline” [GOOD]
  • 7 is considered neutral

Remember when we said above that you want to have a high pH level in your mouth? What we mean is that eating foods that are “alkaline” are better for your teeth than “acidic” foods. That’s because eating more acidic foods helps to “feed” the bacteria that causes plaque.

pH levels of foods and drinks

One interesting food on the pH guide above is lemon juice. I bet you’re wondering how lemon juice can be alkaline when it tastes so acidic. The answer is that lemon juice is acidic on its own. However when you eat/drink it, your body metabolizes it into an alkaline liquid. So basically it’s good in your stomach, but not so good for your teeth.

This is important for people who use lemon juice as part of a “cleanse” routine. Try to avoid contact between lemon juice and your teeth!

It’s not just what you eat, but when

Eating alkaline foods AFTER acidic foods helps to counteract the effect of acidic foods. Consider this interesting study done by University of Illinois at Chicago – College of Dentistry that studied the mouth’s pH level after eating sugary cereals.

They discovered that drinking whole milk (and to a lesser extent, water) after eating sugary cereal would raise the pH level and make the mouth more alkaline. However, mixing cereal with milk did not have the save positive benefits.

In case all of this just blew right by you, just keep this in mind:

  1. The good: Foods and drinks that are “alkaline” (eg raise the pH level in your mouth) help you fight against plaque. Eat/drink more of these foods and liquids.
  2. The bad: Avoid foods and drinks that are “acidic” (ie sugary foods and drinks). These feed the bacteria that cause plaque.
  3. Eat alkaline foods after acidic foods. Mixing alkaline foods with acidic foods may not have the same positive effects (ie cereal and milk)

NOTE: Information for this blog was provided by the dentist/dental clinic or retrieved from the public domain. This is not an advertisement. Inclusion in this blog is not an endorsement by The Dental Card and is provided for informational purposes only.

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Great information. The PH chart is very useful as well. Also one tip is to wait 5-10 minutes after you eat before you brush your teeth or else you may damage the enamel.


I am surprised to see lentils and beans have the same acidity as sugar?! Can this really be correct? I’ve always known lentils and beans to be healthy foods and eat them regularly.


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