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Importance of pH in Everyday Life 

Aug 23, 2022
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Key Concepts

  • pH Scale
  • pH in everyday life
  • Animals and plants: pH Sensitivity
  • Acid rain
  • pH of soil
  • pH in Digestive system
  • Tooth Decay
  • Natural sources of acids

Introduction: Importance of pH

pH scale: 

pH is a measure of the nature of the substance. pH scale contains values from 0 to 14, which helps in identifying a substance if it is acidic, basic, or neutral.  

Explanation: 

pH in everyday life: 

Animals and plants are pH-sensitive. Soil also can be categorized by pH. pH is observed in the digestive system and saliva. pH causes tooth decay. pH can be used as self-defense by animals and plants.  

Animals and plants: pH sensitivity: 

Our blood pH is slightly alkaline in the range of 7.35 to 7.45. Living organisms like plants and animals have a narrow pH range. 

Acid rain: 

When the pH of the rainwater is less than 5.6, it is called acid rain. When acid rain flows into the river water, it causes a decrease in the pH. 

Causes of acid rain:  

Acid rain, when mixed with water bodies, causes damage to aquatic life in water. Acid rain damages the texture of monuments. 

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pH of soil:  

Different soils have different pH values, and their growth depends on the pH. Some plants can be grown at low pH, and some can be grown at high pH. 

Activity to find soil pH:  

Collect a sample of soil from your backyard. Place it in a test tube or a container and pour some water. Collect the clear water above the soil and test with pH paper. This helps in knowing the pH of the soil and planting the crops accordingly. 

pH of our digestive system:  

Our stomach produces hydrochloric acid for helping in the digestion process without damaging stomach walls. 

Acidity: 

During indigestion of food, excess acid is produced, which causes a burning sensation in the stomach called acidity. 

Antacid:  

To reduce the pain or burning sensation caused by acidity, people consume bases like milk of magnesia. Antacids act as a counter to acid and reduce pain.  

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pH of saliva:  

Saliva in the mouth is slightly acidic from 6.2 to 7.0. pH still decreases in the mouth after eating a meal due to the remnants of food, which means it becomes more acidic. Acidic pH in the mouth helps in the partial digestion of food. 

pH causes tooth decay:  

If the pH of saliva becomes more acidic, it causes tooth decay. Teeth contain a layer of enamel which is the strongest material in the body. Slowly that gets damaged with acid in the mouth. 

Prevention of tooth decay:  

Tooth decay is the damage of tooth by acid in the mouth. It can be prevented by removing acid from the mouth with a paste containing a base. Brushing teeth twice a day can reduce the damage.  

Self-defense by animals:  

Honeybees have a sting that contains acid. For its self-defense, it produces acid onto the human body, which causes irritation and pain.  

Self-defense by plants:  

Nettle plants have stinging hair on leaves which produce methanoic acid and injects. This causes a burning sensation. 

Natural sources of acid: 

  1. Vinegar – Acetic acid 
  2. Orange – Citric acid  
  3. Tamarind – Tartaric acid  
  4. Tomato – Oxalic acid 
  5. Sour milk (curd) – Lactic acid 
  6. Lemon – Citric acid  
  7. Ant sting – Methanoic acid 
  8. Nettle sting – Methanoic acid  

Remedy for acid burns:  

When we accidentally touch nettle leaves and experience a burning sensation, this is because nettle leaves contains methanoic acid.  

Acids in another planet: 

The atmosphere of Venus is made up of thick white and yellowish clouds of sulfuric acid.  

pH of the Human Body: 

Our body works within the pH range of 7.0 to 7.8. Living organisms can survive only in a narrow range of pH change. Although the pH of blood ranges from 7.35-7.45, the pH of other body fluids is different. If the pH levels drop below 6.9, it can lead to a coma. 

Summary

  • pH is observed in everyday life as plants and animals are pH sensitive.
  • Human beings and animals have narrow pH range of 7.0 to 7.8.
  • The pH of saliva decreases after eating, and if that drops highly, it causes tooth decay which can be prevented by brushing twice a day.
  • Soil pH can be known by a pH meter, which helps plant suitable crops.
  • Animals and plants also produce acids as self-defense.

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