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Why Is My Saliva Acidic?

 
By Ameera Mills. Updated: June 13, 2018
Why Is My Saliva Acidic?

Saliva is incredibly important for our mouth’s health and digestive system. Saliva aids in important bodily functions which include; keeping the pH of the mouth in equilibrium, that is, the concentration of acidity or alkalinity in this area. When these pH levels are not kept at the right levels, some problems can occur in the mouth, for example; the appearance of dental plaque. Generally, the first symptom that you will experience when something is out of balance in your mouth is acidic or sour-like saliva.

Acidic saliva is incredibly common, however, the reasons for it can differ. that is why, here at oneHOWTO, we aim to answer your question of why your saliva is acidic. We also recommend some solutions to help you relieve or prevent this problem.

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What is gastroesophageal reflux?

Gastroesophageal reflux is a disease or reflex which occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, located in the diaphragm isolating the esophagus from the stomach, does not close properly. If this esophageal sphincter cannot properly lock itself, it allows for stomach juices to return back through the esophagus. Sometimes, these juices can remain in the esophagus but, other times they reach the mouth. These ‘‘juices’’ then produce an unpleasant acidic and bitter saliva. If you are experiencing the presence of acidic saliva, this may be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux. Here are some more identifiable and common symptoms of GORD:

  • Burning sensation in the throat when stomach juices reach the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Asthma and chronic cough
  • Pulsating pain in the chest
  • Frequent sore throat

Does Sjogren's syndrome cause acidic saliva?

Sjögren's Syndrome is a condition in which the glands responsible for producing tears and saliva are decreased and or completely ceased. This causes dryness in the eyes and mouth. This syndrome is common in people aged 40 to 50 years old. Women are more prone to this autoimmune disorder. This dryness of the mouth is said to sometimes cause an acidic sensation. Other symptoms that can help one to identify this syndrome are:

  • Difficulty swallowing, especially dry foods
  • Sour or acidic thick saliva
  • Occurrence of mouth ulcers
  • Inflammation in the gums
  • Swollen glands
  • Fever and fatigue
Why Is My Saliva Acidic? -  Does Sjogren's syndrome cause acidic saliva?

Xerostomia and acid reflux

Xerostomia is an alteration of the salivary gland functions. These glands begin to produce less saliva, which produces a sensation of dryness in the mouth. This disorder can occur due to various factors, including; stress, anxiety, diseases such as diabetes, smoking, poor diet and/or the lack of some teeth.

Xerostomia usually manifests in 20% of the adult population (18 to 30 years old) and 40% in people over 50. Studies show that women are more likely to suffer from xerostomia than men. This feeling of dryness in the mouth parallel to the body’s effort to produce more saliva, can result in an acidic sour-like sensation. Here are some of the main symptoms of xerostomia:

  • Burning sensation in the mouth
  • Cracked Lips and corners
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • Acid and thick saliva
  • A ‘‘rough tongue’’ sensation

Can chemotherapy cause acidic saliva?

Chemotherapy is a very aggressive treatment that can produce various changes in many tissues and organs of a body. Chemotherapy that targets areas such as the neck and head can produce some negative effects in the mouth, specifically in the salivary glands. Chemotherapy directed to this area is known to reduce the reproduction of saliva. When glands produce little saliva, there is an imbalance in the pH levels. Other side effects in the mouth, caused by chemotherapy, could appear as:

  • Acid thick or sticky saliva.
  • Dry sensation throughout the mouth.
  • Lack of saliva which can also cause cavities and other mouth infections.
  • Oral mucositis or inflammation of the buccal mucous membranes.
  • A diminished sense of taste.
Why Is My Saliva Acidic? - Can chemotherapy cause acidic saliva?

Causes of acidic saliva

Now that we have covered the most common causes of the presence of acidic saliva, it is important to know some other possible causes;

  • Very acidic foods and beverages such as; tomatoes, oranges and carbonated drinks can make your saliva more acidic.
  • Another cause of acid saliva are sodas rich in sugars. This is because, specifically in the case of having any infection or bacteria in the mouth, sugar can cause bacteria levels to rise. This increased bacteria level can create a sour taste in your mouth.
  • Smoking and Tobacco use can increase the appearance of acidic saliva. This is because smokers produce much less saliva than non-smokers.
  • Poor oral and dental hygiene can also be a cause of acid saliva. As mentioned before, a rise in bacteria levels in the mouth can cause a sour-tasting saliva.
Why Is My Saliva Acidic? - Causes of acidic saliva

How to reduce acidic saliva

If you are experiencing the presence of acidic saliva and want to relieve or prevent it, here are some tips.

  • Check the pH of your mouth with acidity level strips (bought at a pharmacy). Place a stick on your tongue, and if your oral pH is lower than 7.0 it means that you have acidic saliva.
  • Eat foods low in acidity such as almonds, berries and other fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase your calcium and magnesium levels as they are nutrients that keep pH levels in balance.
  • Avoid all sodas and foods with a high sugar content.
  • In addition, it is vital that you consult your doctor. A medical professional will be able to perform all of the necessary tests which are able to detect what the origin of your problem. Once an origin is clear, treatment can be prescribed accordingly.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Is My Saliva Acidic?, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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