Oral & Vision Health Blog

Can Salt Harm Your Teeth?

A lower salt intake might be good for your overall health, but what about your dental health?

While the direct effect of salt on tooth decay is debatable, with salt rinses actually being helpful for cleansing the mouth and soothing certain types of pain, there is less debate that high-sodium foods could increase risk for cavities and other problems.

Here’s a look at “the skinny” on salt and the risks high intake can pose to our oral health:

High-salt snack foods encourage oral bacteria.

During the day, who doesn’t like to snack? However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, foods with high salt are often processed carbohydrates like pre-packaged snack foods. Such carbohydrate-rich foods promote oral bacteria and acid production in the mouth. Plaque build-up throughout the day allows bacteria to adhere to tooth surfaces, damaging enamel and gums over time.

Just because it isn’t sweet doesn’t mean it’s good for your teeth.

Choosing savory foods over sweet ones doesn’t necessarily protect your oral health. Bread, pizza and pasta can all pose a risk for teeth. They fall into the carbohydrate category and are also typically high in salt. They are converted into sugars by your mouth’s digestive enzymes. If not brushed away quickly from tooth surfaces, these starchy edibles become common culprits for tooth decay.

Too much sodium can potentially weaken teeth and bones.

Teeth, like bone, rely on calcium to stay strong. Diets high in salt increase the amount of calcium lost through urine throughout the day. This calcium loss can damage teeth and even raise risk of osteoporosis.

All in all, lower sodium intake is better for your general health, too! Decreased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke are all potential benefits. A diet lower in salt will help protect against dehydration and even decreases undesirable bodily effects as water retention and bloating.

Moderate your salt intake and supplement your favorite treats with fruits and vegetables that will improve your overall health and scrub the surface of your teeth clean with their crispy textures and healthy, acid-minimizing benefit. Regardless of your diet, toothpaste is a key part of a good oral health routine. Click the image below for our guide to finding the perfect toothpaste for you! 


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