When Salt Assaults Your Teeth: How Too Much Salt Is Bad for Your Teeth

Posted on: 11 February 2020

Salt is both beneficial and harmful to your oral health. For instance, gargling one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water every day can help kill harmful bacteria in your mouth. Reducing the number of detrimental microbes gives your good oral microbes a chance to flourish and keeps your gums and oral tissues healthy. However, like anything, too much salt can harm your oral health.

Although it is wise to include salt in your oral hygiene routine, be aware that too much salt throughout the day will have the following negative effects on your oral health.

Salt Dries Your Mouth Out

Although salt is an excellent antibacterial agent, too much of it can leave your mouth at the mercy of bacteria. The main cause of this problem is xerostomia or dry mouth syndrome. Through the process of osmosis, salt draws moisture out of whatever it encounters — including gum tissue. This means that eating salty foods or gargling with salt water will cause your mouth to become drier.

A dry mouth is not a very healthy place.

Bacteria Thrive in Dry Mouths

Salt won't damage your oral tissues by itself. However, once it dries out your mouth, it will lack much of its defensive capability to eradicate harmful bacteria. Your saliva contains powerful enzymes that latch onto harmful bacteria and kill them. So, it makes sense that the areas of your mouth with the most saliva are also the areas with fewer damaging microbes.

However, because salt dries your mouth out, you'll have less saliva available. This lack of saliva will allow the most damaging strains of oral bacteria to breed and spread throughout your mouth. Your gums, tongue and teeth will eventually begin to feel fuzzy and sticky. This is the microbes multiplying and creating an unhealthy film of plaque wherever they decide to propagate.

Unfortunately, plaque is the least of your worries. Bacteria produce a sulphuric compound that slowly destroys whatever it encounters, that includes enamel, gum tissue and periodontal ligaments. If your diet is high in salt, then your mouth could be at greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Water Combats Dry Mouth

If you enjoy salty foods, make sure that you combat dry mouth syndrome with plenty of water. This will ensure that you can enjoy your salty foods while protecting your teeth and gums from the harmful effects of salt.

Are you a salt lover? Then make sure you remember to keep your mouth well hydrated, otherwise, you are at greater risk from tooth decay and gum disease. Speak with a general dentist for more information.