Salt, or sodium, has often said to be both good and bad for your teeth. While high sodium-intake has generally been associated with many detrimental effects, (which is why healthy eating has also been associated with staying away from food rich in sodium) many people practicing good oral hygiene will rinse their mouth with salt. Is salt actually good or bad for your teeth? Here are some of the pros and cons:
Why Salt Can Be Good for Your Teeth
The sodium chemical itself has proved itself to be good for your teeth in a few ways:
- Short term, saltwater mouthwash rinses are great treatments for your mouth and any wounds you may have. If you’ve had oral surgery recently, infections, or gum swelling, saltwater will help to remove swelling, as it is a natural disinfectant.
- Salt helps to increase the pH balance in your mouth, making it hard for abrasive bacteria to survive in this alkaline environment.
- According to the American Dental Association, salt is a common ingredient in foaming detergents in toothpaste, which helps toothpaste stay in your mouth, preventing dribbling.
Why Salt Can Be Bad for Your Teeth
While salt washes have been commonly used and are considered good for your teeth, the opposite is true of sodium-rich food. Sodium may not directly cause tooth decay, but sodium-rich diets have been found to be bad for your teeth. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Oral bacteria thrive on simple sugars, which are produced when you ingest food or beverages rich in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, crackers, tend to be rich in sodium. These foods are broken down into simple sugars and starches. The interaction between oral bacteria and simple sugars create harsh acids that have the same effect as sugary food, eroding tooth enamel and leading to tooth decay.
- Teeth often rely on calcium to produce structure and strength. A high-sodium diet causes your body to excrete excess calcium, leading to tooth loss and even osteoporosis!
In conclusion, while, salt has been found to have many positive effects on teeth, a sodium-rich diet can have various detrimental effects, similar to a sugary diet. To avoid cavities and tooth decay, strive to have a diet low in sodium. Tooth decay can also be prevented through brushing, flossing, and proper oral hygiene. If your teeth have been affected, let Water Tower Dental help you today!