February 25th, 2016
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!
November 12th, 2015
Want to chew gum? Do it! As long as there’s xylitol in it, your dentist will approve. Xylitol is the perfect sugar alternative. Not only does it not cause tooth decay. It’s also good for your teeth. Yes, you heard that right. Something that tastes as wonderful as sugar actually benefits your teeth. Let’s take a look at why.
What is Xylitol?
Though it tastes like magic, xylitol can actually be all natural. It’s a five-carbon sugar alcohol compound. What does that mean? It’s not actually sugar or alcohol. Instead, it’s a carbohydrate that looks and tastes like sugar. But instead of damaging your teeth, xylitol actually protects it.
Xylitol is found naturally in plants, berries, and vegetables. It can also be manufactured from starches and sugar. Unfortunately, since we eat so much sugar, we can’t get enough xylitol from the foods we eat to sufficiently help our teeth. That’s why we brush, floss and take xylitol supplements.
How does it benefit your teeth?
To understand how Xylitol helps protect your teeth, you have to first understand how you get cavities. According to Registered Dental Hygienist, the average American consumes about 31 teaspoons of sugar every single day. Our teeth aren’t made to eat that much sugar. Inevitably, all of this sugar leads to tooth decay, usually in the form of cavities. The sugar in food causes bacteria in your mouth to grow. These bacteria create hungry acids that eat away at your teeth, causing tooth decay.
Bad bacteria can’t digest xylitol to grow like it digests sugar. In fact, xylitol works to keep the pH level neutral in your mouth. The less acidic your pH levels are, the fewer bacteria will grow and the better off your teeth will be.
Xylitol also stops bacteria from sticking to your teeth. So even if there are bacteria in your mouth after taking xylitol, it’s much less likely that the bacteria will damage your teeth because it can’t stick on to them.
Thanks to increased pH levels, xylitol also promotes enamel repair. As pH levels get higher than 7, calcium and phosphate salts in your saliva help to rebuild weak enamel.
Where can you get Xylitol?
Now that you know great xylitol is for your mouth, you’re probably wondering where you can get some. Since you usually eat sugar during the day, you should try taking xylitol throughout the day as well. You should always look for xylitol in toothpaste and mouthwash. Most of the big names in toothpaste and mouthwash include xylitol because of its benefits.
Since it can be inconvenient to carry your toothbrush and mouthwash around all day, it’s beneficial to have another source of xylitol on hand. Gum, candy and mints frequently have xylitol in them. These products can help you battle bacteria throughout the day. A 1998 article from The British Dental Journal writes that chewing gum containing xylitol prevents cavities and promotes enamel remineralization. You can also find the sweetener in corncobs and stalks.
Consuming xylitol is one of the tastiest ways to keep your teeth healthy! Find out more about the benefits of xylitol and the best places to get it from by contacting the number one Chicago dental practice, Water Tower Dental Care. We would be happy to put you on the right track to a healthy and happy smile.