Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Does the mouth have any natural resistance to plaque? © Getty Images

Does the mouth have any natural resistance to plaque?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Yes! All you need for a healthy oral micro biome is a balance in pH.

Asked by: Neil Watkins, by email

Advertisement

Yes, alkaline saliva. The minerals in your teeth are continually dissolving and re-depositing in a dynamic equilibrium mediated by mouth pH. If your mouth pH is neutral, the two processes are exactly balanced and there is no net effect. The more acid your mouth is, the further the equilibrium point is pushed towards dissolving your teeth. If your mouth is sufficiently alkaline, minerals get re-deposited on your teeth. This can be a problem in extreme cases as it causes tartar build-up. Within about 10 minutes of eating and for about half an hour after that, the natural alkalinity of your saliva is overwhelmed before returning to an alkaline pH.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.

Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content