It seems like every day there’s a new trendy toothpaste that’s supposed to whiten or strengthen your teeth. From charcoal to clay to baking soda, alternative toothpastes are a hot topic (and, if you pick the wrong one, they can actually damage your teeth.)
If you’ve heard about salt toothpastes, you may be wondering if they can really strengthen your teeth, or if they’re just another addition to the long line of alternative toothpaste ingredients that don’t really do anything — or worse, that actually damage your teeth.
Why Do Some Toothpastes Use Salt?
Salt toothpastes contain sodium chloride, which is the same as the table salt that you put on your food. This is because salt has natural disinfectant properties. If you’ve ever had a tooth pulled, you may have been told to try a warm salt water rinse to keep the site clean and healthy, and even help with pain relief. Salt water rinses are also recommended to help reduce the discomfort of a toothache at home. In this same way, a salt toothpaste can help disinfect the mouth and reduce inflammation in the gums. Additionally, salt can stimulate the production of saliva, which promotes strong enamel and helps remineralize teeth.
Of course, crediting salt with strengthening teeth may be a bit of a reach! It doesn’t actually repair or strengthen teeth. And while salt and other sodium-based compounds can be a useful additive in toothpaste, it’s important to ensure that your toothpaste has other beneficial ingredients too, like fluoride, which has been proven to prevent cavities and strengthen tooth enamel. Without other ingredients, salt is too abrasive on teeth. Just dipping your toothbrush into your table salt would do your teeth more harm than good, and could actually damage your enamel.
Salt Isn’t Good For Teeth in All Forms
Just because salt is a good idea in toothpaste or in a mouth rinse doesn’t mean that a high-sodium diet is good for your teeth! Not only are high-sodium diets bad for your overall health in other ways, but high-sodium foods are often also high in sugar, or contain a lot of starches. When you eat starchy foods, your body’s enzymes break down those starches and turn them into sugars. Cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth then eat those sugars, and release acids that dissolve your enamel. That means that both sugar and starch contribute to tooth decay — and salt often goes hand-in-hand with those ingredients.
If you’re not sure what toothpaste is best, you can always ask your dentist at your next checkup and cleaning. They know the specific challenges that you face in your oral health battles, and can recommend a toothpaste that helps address those challenges without damaging your teeth.
Are you looking for an experienced family dentist right here in Blue Bell, PA? Call (610) 272-0828 or contact us online to make an appointment. We would love to help you get on top of your oral health care and have the healthiest, most beautiful smile that you can.